Euro Cuisine YM80 Yogurt Maker review:
Will This Yogurt Maker Make You a DIY Convert?
- Price:$27.40 - $31.23
Super-simple to operate, takes up minimal kitchen real estate, and comes with actual glass yogurt jars.
There’s no timer, and the Hour Reminder it does have is a joke.
This is a good starter machine if you’re curious about the process of yogurt making, but the lack of features means you’ll have to endure some trial and error.
Euro Cuisine sells a modest line of European cookware and small kitchen appliances to the American market: waffle irons, a hot and cold chocolate beverage maker, and especially yogurt incubators. These products tend to be more compact than appliances designed for the American market, and the YM80 Yogurt Maker is a good example. But while it has a pretty small profile on the kitchen counter, is the YM80 a decent alternative to loading up on the megavariety of yogurts that take up shelf space in the supermarket dairy case these days? Does it make a yogurt good enough to justify the effort?
It’s a simple design: a plastic plug-in base with a warming unit and a well for holding the yogurt jars, a vaguely clamshell-shaped clear plastic cover, an On switch, and that’s pretty much it. The whole unit is easy to find space for, even in a small kitchen: It measures 9 1/2 inches in diameter and is just 5 3/4 inches high with the lid on. The seven yogurt jars are glass—a nice feature of this maker—each with a 6-ounce capacity (you can make 42 ounces, or 5 1/4 cups, of yogurt at a time). The jars have screw-on plastic lids for when it’s time to stow the finished yogurt in the fridge. And there’s a very low-tech timer on the YM80; actually, it’s called an Hour Reminder, a plastic nub on the lid that you can position over a number on the base (if your yogurt is due to finish at 4 p.m., for instance, you set the nub over the number 4). It’s just a reminder—Euro Cuisine is quite explicit in the instructions that the machine will not switch off by itself! There’s a limited three-year warranty, and an instruction booklet that also contains five recipes for flavored yogurts.
We made two batches of yogurt in the YM80, following suggestions in the booklet: a whole-milk yogurt flavored with coffee, and a fat-free blueberry. In both cases we used pasteurized milk, and introduced yogurt cultures via store-bought yogurt. We followed the manufacturer’s guidelines for an incubation time between 8 and 12 hours.
Whole milk: According to Euro Cuisine, scalding the milk first yields a firmer result more in keeping with American tastes. That’s what we did here: scalded a quart of whole milk, then brought the temperature down to 95 degrees Fahrenheit as instructed, the optimum temp for culture growth. We whisked in 5 tablespoons of plain yogurt, along with some sugar and instant espresso. Then we poured the results into the jars, set them in the base, put the lid in place, and turned the machine on. After 8 hours (we wrote the stop time on a stickie note rather than fiddle with the machine’s Hour Reminder), the yogurt in the jars was 98 degrees. We loosely covered the jars and stuck them in the fridge overnight to chill and firm. The results: good, semifirm, creamy, and quite tangy.
Fat free: For this, we started with a quart of unscalded skim milk at a cool room temperature (60 degrees Fahrenheit), to which we added 5 tablespoons of nonfat yogurt and a little syrup of sugar, water, and fresh blueberries, cooked and cooled. We incubated this batch longer than our first—just under 10 hours this time—and refrigerated it overnight. This batch was softer and runnier than the first, just like the manufacturer said it’d be—just a tad too liquidy for our taste, actually.
General stuff: Overall, we found the YM80 a cool little appliance to play around with. It’s small and simple enough to have a pretty low impact on your kitchen, and the variety of potential milk and flavoring combinations makes this a dream for somebody who likes to putter around in the kitchen. Making your own yogurt isn’t for everybody. There are so many commercial yogurts these days, it seems unlikely anybody wouldn’t find one they're into in the dairy case. True, there’s a cost savings from making your own: Without the expense of the machine itself, our experiments cost us about 32 cents per yogurt, versus the $1 to $1.20 that markets charge for premium pots of commercial yogurt. But yogurt making isn’t really for the casual cook. The long incubation times can be a pain to deal with, and since the YM80 doesn’t switch off by itself or chill your freshly made yogurt for you, you have to be around to baby-sit it. We think this machine is probably a good starter maker for someone who’s curious about the process, but it's only going to appeal to a pretty niche DIYer.
Photos by Chris Rochelle