Archive | February, 2011

Product Review: Tribest YoLife Yogurt Maker

11 Feb

I received a little package of love from CSN today in the mail – my Tribest YoLife Yogurt Maker. Just in time because I have a bunch of fresh pineapples, fresh bananas, frozen strawberries, and frozen blueberries just dying to adorn a smoothie. And tonight I make yogurt.

But first, let’s take a look at the yogurt maker itself. People always have the belief that no actual appliance is ever needed to make yogurt. I have always used my glass jar and down coat to make great yogurt. However, the YoLife Yogurt Maker promises a more consistent temperature and thick delicious yogurt in 8-12 hours’ time. So what will this gadget actually contribute to my yogurt process? This is my review of the Tribest YoLife Yogurt Maker.

The YoLife looks just as it does on the website. It came with seven small glass jars that were 6 oz each, giving potentially a week’s worth of yogurt ready to serve. However, the lids were lightly screwed on, and I would not trust putting a jar into my bag to bring to work because I’m fairly sure it will spill.

The base is nothing but a large round plastic bin that holds some sort of heating element. Hopefully the heating element is well designed and will not overheat and melt the container. There were two plastic lids – one small sized to hold the 6 oz jars, and one taller sized that allows you to basically put a huge jug inside. They’re lightweight plastic but seem to fit the base to make an air tight enclosure for the heating yogurt.

There is a small plastic dial that looks like a timer at the top but upon closer inspection, the timer is purely for displaying a set hour and does not move by itself.

So now, for the yogurt making process. I made two batches – one with the 7 small containers, and one with my old jar in the traditional way. I used what was left of my low fat milk and about the same amount in skim milk, and heated the milk together in a pot until it reached 180 degrees. The instructions that came with YoLife said that lukewarm milk could be used, and I’ve always boiled the milk then let it cool, so this time I just stopped at a nice round number. I let the milk cool to about 130 degrees (conventional methods say that if you can put your finger in the milk it is ready).

After the milk was at 130 degrees F, I mixed in a whole carton of the Stonyfield yogurt that I had. Unfortunately it was berry flavored instead of plain or vanilla, but the fruit mix was on the bottom. I mixed the yogurt around in the milk but when I distributed the mixture into the containers, I found that the yogurt was still chunky and not quite mixed in, so I had to make sure that each small container had some chunks of yogurt. Maybe this will cause the results to come out different in each container. A smooth vanilla yogurt would have been a better source of culture.

So now I have the 7 containers of milk in the YoLife Yogurt Maker, which plugs directly into the wall and just constantly runs a heating pad to incubate the yogurt. I put the rest of the milk into my jar, and wrapped that up in two coats. I also added a pot of heated water because by the time the large jar was poured, the temperature had dropped to 110. I finished at midnight so tomorrow morning will be around 7.5 hours of yogurt making.

Total time procrastinated: 1.5 hours including boiling and cooling of milk
Ways to procrastinate more: Nothing you can really do but wait now.


YoLife Traditional
Morning temperature 120 degrees F 90 degrees F

More liquid layer over yogurt, a bit chunky at bottom Smooth and even, not as much liquid, a bit chunky at bottom
Taste Slightly more tart Mild

Convenience 9/10 – plug and forget 7/10 – saves electricity

Overall: the YoLife Yogurt Maker actually saves space and time because I do not have to cool the milk to exactly the right temperature, and my table is not covered by a large bundle of coats or sheets to keep the yogurt warm. It is more consistent because it does keep the mixture at the same temperature for however long I want. Although not necessary, it does make making yogurt a more convenient and more suitable experience, so I will probably be doing it more regularly. The small jars are convenient for grabbing the right amount of yogurt straight from the fridge, but also being able to make a large container of yogurt is great because it produces more consistently smooth yogurt and produces fewer dishes to wash.

Making Yogurt: a Preview

3 Feb

As you know, we’ve been fortunate enough to partner with CSN Stores several times recently to bring a little depth to this food blog, and to bring a little of this food blog to you. Even though our focus is on cooking, and in doing so, procrastinating from your homework, CSN can provide you with both the cookware to make your food, and the laptop messenger bag to carry your work around in case you do decide to finish that pset.

This time, I’m going to work a bit in depth with the CSN Stores products and do a review. After long consideration I’ve decided that I’d try to improve on my homemade yogurt, which had worked fairly well before (see Homemade yogurt and granola). Things have gotten a bit more lazy recently and I haven’t even eaten the last batch of yogurt that I made, which regrettably might have become cottage cheese by now. So I’m going to get the Tribest YL-210 Yogurt Maker which has a large amount of decent reviews. So I think this is the perfect way to do a review of CSN’s wide range of products, and to keep procrastinating from that work!

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