- Only use the EZYogurtMaker™ in Ground Fault protected outlet (GFI or GFCI)
- Never immerse it.
- Do not rinse it or get it wet or hold under running water.
- Unplug first then wipe with a damp cloth to clean.
- Do not use where it could fall into water or where there could be standing water.
- Never hold it by the cord or use the cord to hold or lift up the unit, especially if connected to a bottle.
- Do not use where it could be knocked or dropped or pull the cord out of the unit.
- DO NOT FOLD or roll up the unit. The padded area should never be folded or rolled or damage or injury may result.
- If a batch smells really bad(like rotten milk and not like plain yogurt/kefir) or the bottle is bloated then discard the entire batch as the milk was bad or there was contamination (see more information below).
How do you use the EZYogurtMaker™ ProBiotic Shake Maker?
The process is quite simple and doesn't require any dishes, thermometer, special containers, hours of prep time...:
- Start with a fresh, unopened gallon or half-gallon bottle of milk.
- Add the ProBiotic starter to the bottle.
- Replace the cap and shake to mix in the ProBiotic starter "seeds".
- Slide on the EZYogurtMaker™ with the padded heating side in contact with as much of the jug as possible (e.g. put thin stretchy fabric side over the handle area where there are air pockets)
- Plug the EZYogurtMaker™ into a GFI protected electrical outlet.
- Let the EZYogurtMaker™ work its magic while you are sleeping or at work or school (~8 hours depending on conditions and preferences - see detail below)
- Unplug and remove the EZYogurtMaker™ from the bottle.
- Place the bottle into the refrigerator to cool and thicken.
- If desired flavor the entire bottle or flavor by the bowl or glass or add to smoothies, recipes...
- Enjoy a glass of finished ProBiotic shake for a quick breakfast, snack, meal replacement...
How long will the Yogurt/Kefir last?
Not very long as everyone loves the taste! On a more serious note, as long as you start with a fresh, unopened bottle of milk, the finished yogurt/kefir should be good at least as long as the original expiration date. Many experts have said that it should last for weeks beyond that but as the manufacturer of the maker we think fresh is best so please enjoy your finished product while it is fresh.
The yogurt/kefir will separate (yellow whey protein liquid) more over time and you can shake it back in if desired. Also, the ProBiotics will continue to grow so it will get more tart over time. Always remember to trust your nose so if it doesn't smell right or if the bottle starts swelling then throw it out. You will probably never have that happen but your safety and health is our priority.
Can I use milk alternatives? Can I use Almond milk, Cashew milk, Rice milk, Soy milk...?
The EZYogurtMaker™ can be used with milk alternatives. Milks with higher protein content like regular milk and soy milk will thicken more like yogurt. The other milks with low protein will result in more of a kefir (but with none of the alcohol as starter only contains ProBiotic bacteria and no yeasts). Those types of milk alternatives will not thicken as they don't have much protein to congeal/coagulate. Of course the finished product will be tart like unsweetened kefir/kefir water and will not have any kefir grains to worry about.
How do you know when to remove the EZYogurtMaker™ and place jug into the fridge?
Normally it takes about 8 hours for the ProBiotics to grow and cause the proteins to congeal/thicken into yogurt/kefir. The actual time may vary depending on the room temperature, starting temperature of the milk... Generally speaking you culture for about 8 hours for more mild flavor or 9+ hours for thicker, more tangy flavor.
For a more mild flavor you can pull as soon as the milk starts to thicken (e.g. gently rock back and forth a little to see that it has thickened). In some cases we have pulled right at 8 hours even though it didn't seem the milk had thickened but it thickened quite a bit when it cooled.
If there is any whey separation (whey protein often separate as the yellow liquid) the batch should be removed right away and placed into the refrigerator. It will not get any thicker but will actually start becoming more separated the longer it goes longer. The whey separation happens much more on the skim milk as it doesn't have any fat and will be more chunky with thinner liquid in between. This is not a problem as you can shake the whey back in before each use or you could drain off (what makes greek yogurt thicker is they strain off the whey).
After cooling the shake will thicken up quite a bit. So you may want to pull it earlier rather than later for a milder flavor that won't require as much sweetening/flavor to counteract the more tangy/sour flavor. With a little practice you can begin to pull just after it starts to thicken and it will thicken in the refrigerator for a perfect texture and finish without being too sour.
The batch smells bad or the bottle is bloated or has pressure!
Remember to never take a chance with your health. Always start with a fresh bottle of sealed, pasteurized milk that has been refrigerated the entire time and has not passed the expiration date. If the bottle is swelling or bloated or has pressure then carefully dispose of the entire bottle. There are no yeasts or molds or bad bacteria in the starter packs so if there is any pressure then that means that there is some sort of contamination or the milk has gone bad.
The only time during hundreds of test batches that a batch swelled was tests on milk well past the expiration date and use of the maker just accelerated the milk going bad. Please use only sealed, fresh purified milk. This is why we also recommend you do not use raw milk. You will want milk that has been purified and heat treated (treats the proteins so they can make thicker yogurt/kefir). You want a clean slate to grow the fresh ProBiotics and to be sure to not accelerate the growth of any pathogens.
The batch should smell like plain yogurt(cheesy, tart/sour). If the batch has a horrible smell like rotten milk or dairy then you should trust your body to know it is a bad batch and not just the natural smell of raw yogurt/kefir. Normally this will be associated with bloating bottle/increased pressure.
The Shakes Taste Sour - Is it a bad batch?
The ProBiotics consume the lactose (milk sugars) in order to grow and as a result produce lactic acid. The more growth the more acid or sour taste. This is normal (have you ever tasted plain yogurt it is very sour/tart). The longer the ProBiotics culture the more acid is produced and the more sour the flavor. If heated too high or left too long it becomes too acidic and the ProBiotics start to perish and you get more and more whey (yellow liquid) separation. For a more mild, less sour, taste try culturing for a shorter period of time.
Regardless you will want to flavor and sweeten to taste for your preferences and to offset the natural sour taste of the yogurt (unless you like lemon flavor which is already acidic:-).
If you have pre-sweetened and flavored the entire gallon you may need to turn upside down and shake as the sweeteners and flavoring have a tendency to sink down. So each time you want to pour some shake you can shake up the jug to mix around the flavoring. Also, when flavoring a fresh jug you may want to pour some out into a previous jug. That way there is room to add flavoring to the new jug and the raw shake will tone down the sweetness of the previous jug as the sweetness tends to settle to the bottom.
What is the yellow liquid?
The yellow liquid is called Whey and is comprised of Whey protein (expensive protein added to many products). Whey separation a natural result of yogurt or cheese production. Whey is a good source of protein and can be shaken back into the shake or drained off for a thicker yogurt shake. Whey separates over time naturally as the ProBiotics continue to grow and increase the level of acid. Whey also separates if the temperature gets too hot or it is left to culture too long.
The EZYogurtMaker™ is specially designed to minimize whey separation (e.g. one batch of whole milk was left for over 27 hours and it still didn't have any whey separation). Separation will naturally occur over time even while in the refrigerator, especially if the shake was cultured for a longer period of time or was made with skim milk. If you are getting excessive or premature whey separation you may want to culture for a shorter period on the next batch.
How do you clean the EZYogurtMaker™?
Unplug the unit and gently wipe with a damp cloth to clean. Do not immerse, hold under running water, saturate, or wet the unit.
Too thick to pour?
If your shake is too thick to poor congratulations on culturing a great thick batch. You could squeeze out of the jug into a bowl and flavor like traditional yogurt and eat with a spoon. For a shake you can actually shake up the jug to break up the coagulated proteins which makes it more consistent and thinner and easier to pour. If you shake in flavorings that will also break it up so it will no longer be too thick to pour.
Doesn't have much flavor?
If you have flavored a shake and it tastes a little flavorless then you will probably want to shake up more to break apart the proteins that have coagulated. You have cultured it to perfection but you may want to shake it up to get the flavoring throughout (like stirring up a fruit on the bottom yogurt).
How hot will the EZYogurtMaker™ get? Do I need to worry about my cat or kids or walls or counters?
Most factories and home yogurt makers target at up to 45°C or about 113°F. Which is higher than a deadly fever. The EZYogurtMaker™ is designed to target your natural body temperature 37°C or 98.6°F so that the ProBiotics you culture will thrive at in your body temperature. So under normal use it will generally stay around warm skin temperature.
The temperature of your EZYogurtMaker™ is controlled by a thermostat so even if left plugged in for days and days without a bottle it should never get hot enough to burn the skin or any type of counter or wall (your cat is safe too). There is also a secondary thermal fuse that would shut off the power if it every started to overheat.
Why is the EZYogurtMaker™ not heating up?
The EZYogurtMaker™ has a sensor (hard rectangular piece on the inside of the heating pad). The unit will cycle on and off as necessary to keep the jug at body temperature. If the unit is not on a milk jug or has an air gap right around it then the unit will heat up really fast and the sensor will shut off and not come back on until the temperature of the sensor cools down. So it will feel like the unit is not heating even though the unit is working.
So it is important to have the sensor in contact with the milk jug for best results. So on a gallon the sensor will set right on the edge on the opposite side of the handle.
There has only been one case of a unit that stopped working as a result of a imperceptible material flaw in a wire. Most often it turns out that the unit was not on a bottle correctly or was just cycled off after heating up to temperature (just warm body temperature). If the unit doesn't heat up at all even when first properly placed on a cool jug and then plugged in, then there may be an issue. You may contact us directly about returning yours and getting a replacement unit (of course 60 day warranty does not cover damage from folding or breaking heating element from abuse, slamming in drawer, chopping...).
How many strains of ProBiotics?
Most yogurt only has two strains of ProBiotic bacteria but the EZYogurtMaker™ starter packs have 11 different types of ProBiotic cultures. The EZYogurtMaker™ is designed to work with ProBiotics that thrive at your body temperature so they are specially formulated to make amazing ProBiotic shakes that maximize the health benefits for you and your family. So you get the benefit of both Kefir and Yogurt at culturing at body temperature.
Can I use some of a previous batch as a starter?
Theoretically you could use some of a previous batch as a starter. However there are several issues with this. First is there is a risk of contamination. So if there are any contaminants or germs or bad bacteria, mold spores, viruses from the air or bottle or refrigerator or hands... then those could be grown.
Second, as the ProBiotics grow some of the strains will become stronger and may kill off the other strains depending on the conditions. So you may end up with just one or two strains that killed off the other 9 or 10 strains and you may lose the benefit of the variety and diversity of the different ProBiotics. Also, the texture, flavor, body, consistency... of the finished product could start to deteriorate.
Third, the time to make a batch will vary greatly depending on how much starter you use and you will not know when to pull the batch.
Can I use other yogurt starters?
You could theoretically use other starter packs but they normally cost more, only contain a couple of types of ProBiotics. Also, you will not know the right amount of time to use (e.g. could finish in the middle of the night).
It took months and months of time by experts to get the custom starter blend perfect (and for it to work even with skim milk). Also, why do most yogurt starters cost more than the quart of yogurt they make!? It was very important to us to get the cost down so as many people as possibly could benefit from the product. Now the price with the perfect custom blend of ProBiotic starters is the least expensive source for ProBiotics anywhere. So you are getting the freshest ProBiotics, best tasting, easiest to make... all at the lowest price!
Can I use Kefir Grains as starters?
Our custom blend of ProBiotics contains 11 types of strains that you would find in commercial kefirs. We recommend that you DO NOT USE KEFIR GRAINS. Kefir grains contain yeasts that produce alcohol (up to 1.5% or 3 proof alcohol). Also, the kefir grains produce off gases so the bottle could explode! In addition the kefir grains may be growing some contaminants that could be very dangerous. Use our starter packs and you get the benefits of 11 different kefir strains without all the risks associated with kefir grains. Plus you don't have to worry about maintaining the grains or them dying. Simply add a pure sealed starter pack whenever you want and forget about all the sterilizing, maintaining, contamination, dirty dishes/bottles... Plus you only need to culture overnight and not leave on your counter for 48 hours or more.
How do you sweeten and flavor?
The beauty of the EZYogurtMaker™ is that you can flavor and sweeten how you like. You may want to take a bunch of strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries and blend up with about a cup to cup and a half of sweetener and then add to flavor an entire gallon.
For a simple easy solution that doesn't require any special work you may want to just flavor with some vanilla (~2 tablespoons) and just about 1.25 c of sugar for entire gallon (adjust to taste, remember to shake up well as flavors settle on the bottom and you want to break up the coagulated proteins to get the flavor throughout).
1.25 cups of sugar may sound like a lot but if you do the math 1 cup (200 g) of sugar per gallon is less than a third of the sugar in yogurt tubes. 1.5 cups of sugar per gallon is less than half of the sugar in yogurt tubes.
We have reduced the amount of sugar to just over 1 c and the kids love it. In fact once we and the kids consumed half a gallon of completely unflavored skim yogurt/kefir because we hadn't had time to flavor it yet! Some people prefer it plain or added to green smoothies or in their cereal...
Get creative and note your favorite recipes to share with others. There are future plans for forum and recipe competitions.