I have a home brew kit, a pie maker, and am awaiting a bread maker that someone has said they will give me. The funny thing is that I know I can produce the end products without the use of these devices but I will admit they do make the process easier in most cases.
What did I get the other day? Well if you paid any attention to the blog title you'll have "guessed" - A yogurt maker. I figured they were cheap (on sale for $20) and if it produced yogurt to the quality (or better) than the stuff I buy occasionally it'll be worth the purchase.
The maker is a EasiYo design, which is used along with the companies line of make your own yogurt starter cultures. What you do is mix the contents of the starter culture with water in a 1L container provided as part of the yogurt maker kit. Once mixed well the 1L container with the mix goes into what I'll call the incubator, which is an insulated (??) container that encloses the 1L container inside along with hot water to encourage the growth of the starter cultures. The 1L container sits in the humid, warm environment for between 8-12 hours (up to 24 hours) until the yogurt 'sets'.
For my first batch so far I used a Strawberry flavored starter packet. These are sold separately to the yogurt maker (you don't get a packet with the kit to start you off with) and costed depending on the variety - There is a premium range which obviously costs more. My packet cost ~$3.70, which produced 1L of fresh yogurt.
The kit comes with a booklet on how to use the yogurt maker, as well as some recipes, information on the other products available (extra containers, start cultures) as well as information on yogurt. As I said when I bought this it was because it was on sale, it is a novelty idea, and a bit of fun. One thing about it is how healthy the yogurt it makes is, with claims of billions of good bacteria in every spoonful (they state some yogurts only have millions of the same bacteria).
Like my home brew kit, this yogurt maker is a great practical unit for bringing science to life! I mean you can learn a lot about microbiology with one of these babies!
Below is a picture of the unit, minus the 1L container...which is in the fridge about 1/3 full which I forgot to take out for the picture (and I am too lazy redo :P)
The box the kit came in, the booklet that came with it, a packet of 'real base and culture' (sold separately) and what I described as the 'incubator'
The 1L container that houses the culture + water mix and goes inside the 'incubator' to make it's journey into becoming yogurt (can be seen in the illustration on the kit box)