About a week ago, I was browsing through the local Salvation Army thrift store, when I stumbled upon this little gem – an old Salton Yogurt Maker, model GM-5. I thought, “Wow! How cool is that?” because I had wanted to get a yogurt maker for some time (I registered for one on my bridal registry – a Salton yogurt maker, but not one of these antiques!). I wanted to call my handsome hubby and have him Google it real quick, to find out if these yogurt makers were reliable, but as is often the case with my cell phone, the battery was dead. So I threw caution to the wind and plopped down $4, and took it home.
Of course, only after I got home did I consider how unnecessary this purchase was – Aaron already makes perfectly good yogurt, which gets incubated (fermented) in a small cooler with warm water – sans electricity. Well, the deed was done – so we might as well try out the yogurt maker.
Also after I got home, I googled “Salton yogurt maker GM-5″ to find out exactly what I had. I knew I did not have a user manual, but it turns out I also did not have a handy little thermometer/spoon combo, which fortunately I did not need anyway. A little more Googling turned up a PDF of a user manual from 1976. The picture of the yogurt maker on the manual appeared to only differ cosmetically (it had printed on it “Thermostat controlled” whereas mine does not) so I figured it was close enough.
Aaron cooked up a quart of yogurt last night, and got it all poured neatly into the 5 little glass containers. I tucked the containers into their slots, put the lid on the maker, and plugged it in. I checked it awhile later to make sure there was some heat being generated somewhere, and there was. The instructions said the yogurt would be done in 10 hours, which would have been 5:30 AM this morning … I checked it at 8:00 AM. The yogurt turned out great – just the same as cooler-incubated batches. We have already discovered that when we use the yogurt culture that we are currently using (from Kalona Organics, an organic yogurt with several strains of bacteria available at our local Hy-Vee at 12th and Harrison) that we have considerable leeway in the incubation time without the yogurt getting too tart.
And here’s a picture of the finished product. The yellow stuff is delicious cream! No skim milk low-fat yogurt for me! We use whole raw milk from pastured Jersey cows (I have awesome in-laws).
And I figured out that there were some advantages to using this maker after all.
- Glass containers – while we are not Luddites, we do prefer to avoid plastic, and use glass instead, for food storage. We had been incubating yogurt in small plastic containers in the cooler. These Salton glass containers are really nice little containers. And I would guess from the condition of the containers that they were rarely, if ever, used (although the yogurt maker lid is a bit scratched up). So even if we no longer wanted to use the maker, we could still use the glass containers, which were worth the purchase price alone. NOTE: if any of the glass containers are broken or missing, don’t despair! Half-pint canning jars fit nicely in those small compartments.
- More convenient – no messing around with putting warm water of just the right temperature and depth in the cooler. Just gotta pour the milk with starter culture into the containers, put them in the yogurt maker, and plug it in. No fancy-shmancy on/off switch either. Plugged in = on, unplugged = off. The power cord isn’t even polarized!
- Less mess - when incubating yogurt in the cooler, we end up with wet containers that need to be dried off before being put in the fridge. Plus, the cooler has to be emptied out and allowed to air dry before being put away.
- Just the right amount - a quart of yogurt is just about right – that’s about how much I eat in a week or so.
So I’m pretty happy with my discovery, and I think we’ll be using it pretty regularly.
I just wish I knew how old it was. I can’t find a picture of a GM-5 Salton yogurt maker that looks exactly like mine (without “thermostat-controlled” printed on it) and of course no year is printed on the bottom. The Salton website was not helpful. To anyone who stumbles upon my little blog here and has any information, I’d appreciate any help.