Braun Yogurt Maker – circa 1980-something.

(Yogurt recipe at the end of this post!)

Did I tell you the yogurt maker saga? I can’t remember, so, if I did, pretend this is all new, ok?

Back in the 80s, when I was (mostly) a kid, my mother had a Braun yogurt maker. It was a square plastic thing with 8 little glass cups inside of it. She’d pour some milky liquid into those cups, plug the box in, and eventually the cups would contain yogurt.

And oh, god, that yogurt was nasty. It was sour and tangy and it seemed like no matter what was added into the mix it tasted horrible. (I wasn’t really a fan of yogurt, anyway, but this was really, really icky!)

After a while, I guess, the taste become less painful and I started to like it and then my mom stopped making yogurt. I have no idea why. I don’t know what happened to the yogurt maker after that.

I read a number of blogs these days that revolve around DIY concepts – making your own clothes, say, or building a cabin by hand or … making yogurt at home.

Then I started getting a little fixated on the idea of making my own yogurt. I contemplated the “oven light” method and the “cooler” method. But I kept remembering that Braun yogurt maker from my childhood. The one that they no longer manufacture.

One day, while randomly browsing at Value Village, I saw one sitting on the shelf. But I hesitated; would I even use it? what if it didn’t work? When I returned to buy it, after discussing it with Coffee (who, btw, seemed perplexed as to why I needed to discuss it instead of just buying it), it was gone.

(On a side note, it’s worth pointing out that I get a little weird at Value Village (and all thrift stores, actually). I can find something absolutely awesome and this strange inner monologue takes over and convinces me that it’s not really worth the $2.99. Never mind that buying it new would be $50. Never mind that it’s perfect and the right size and the ideal colour and.. nope. I have no IDEA what that’s about.)

Thus began the Yogurt Maker Quest.

I bolted over to the small appliance section any time I was near a Value Village. Realistically, how many yogurt makers from 1980 were likely to appear? But I was dedicated to the cause.

And then, last weekend, there it was. Sitting there on the shelf like it was waiting for me.

The price tag was $10.

This time, instead of walking away, I picked it up and carried it over to Coffee and expressed my hesitation. He expressed his own feeling that I was being an idiot and should just buy the thing so I could stop obsessively checking for one. I expressed that he was probably right but… and he expressed that he would just pay the $10 and get it over with.

I hugged the yogurt maker. We brought it home.

After a good scrubbing (ew, sour milk smell) and after running the cups through the dishwasher, I made my first batch. It turned out really well – with the right taste and texture.

Since Braun doesn’t sell yogurt makers anymore, and since there were no manuals or recipes included with the machine, I had to do some googling to get info. I found quite a few people talking about buying the yogurt maker at a garage sale (ha!) so I’m putting my recipe here for anyone who’s interested.

The recipe is:

Ingredients:
4 cups of milk
1/4 cup of plain, non-gelatin yogurt

Steps:
1. Heat the milk to between 100 and 110 degrees F.
2. Stir the yogurt into it.
3. Pour it all into the little cups.
4. Put the cups into the machine.
5. Turn the machine on and wait at least 6 hours.
6. Put lids on the cups and put them in the fridge for a few hours.
7. Eat the yogurt. Mix stuff into it if you like.

It’s seriously that easy.

Notes:
1. I used skim milk. You can use any milk you like – whole, 2%, goat, whatever. I used Astro Balkan-style plain yogurt that contains no gelatine. It’s important that you avoid gelatine.
2. I’ve read that a lot of people heat the milk up WAY higher and then let it cool down to 100-110F. This is to kill bacteria that might be in the milk.
3. You can also add jam and things to the cups before you pour the milky stuff in (pre-‘cooking’) if you know what you want.
4. I stir a bit of jam into the yogurt after I scoop it into a bowl to eat. This is beyond heavenly and it also means that each cup can be differently flavoured for my particular mood.
5. The longer you leave the yogurt in the machine, the more ‘tart’ the taste. I did 7 hours and it was perfect, I think.
6. If you reserve one of the glass cups full of yogurt you can use THAT to make your next batch instead of buying more at the store. You can apparently do this up to 8 times before it loses potency.
7. You can also buy commercial “yogurt starters” to use instead of buying the plain yogurt at the store. I have no idea what that’s all about, so I can’t comment.

23 comments

  1. Kelly says:

    Very cool. My first and only homemade yogourt experience was when I was a volunteer server and dishwasher at a non-profit vegetarian restaurant. The chef would make yogourt overnight in the oven (pilot light method) to serve daily in the restaurant. It was amazing stuff and the Swedish exchange students on tennis scholarships just raved over it. Now…I am on the lookout for a garage sale ice cream maker. I just LOVE home cranked ice cream.

  2. R. says:

    The yogurt starters contain the same micro-organisms that plain white yogurt contains only in a higher concentration. You can tailor the mix of different bacteria to achieve some effect (taste? texture? health? I don’t know.)

    If your yogurt achieves sentience you’ll have to give it it’s own blog so the world can disover the novel thoughts of a bacterial colony.

  3. Rebekah says:

    That is so neat! My mom had one of those too, I just experimented with the homemade version myself. But I made mine in a mason jar (whole milk) wrapped in towels. I love yogurt. I could eat it EVERY day. And often I do.

  4. Heidi says:

    Thanks for posting-I found your page while googling for a manual for my 80s Braun yogurt maker that I just dusted off! I will try your recipe-thanks again :)

  5. Jane says:

    Thank you so much for posting the recipe.

  6. Loret says:

    I dusted off my brother’s Braun machine 3 yrs ago, Googled then for the recipe. Found it and enjoyed for some time. Later of course found the instruction booklet and put it in a safe place. Well three years later- New Years Eve- thinking of things I want to do in the New Year ! Yes- make Yogurt again. Here I be – not worth hunting for instruction booklet. Easier Googling and found your recipe. Thanks.
    Here’s to a New Year & a healthy living.

    LB

  7. I have one of these I bought at a church-school rummage sale! $3 bucks baby! I just used it last night for the first time. Yogurt turned out great! So did the yogurt I made in a quart jar in a cooler full of hot water! LOL! So we’ll see if my yogurt-maker gets to stay or takes another journey through a rummage sale….

  8. Melanie says:

    So glad I found this! I borrowed my mom’s Braun yogurt maker in the Fall (no instruction manual to be found though) and am now finally getting around to giving it a go. I also remember my mom making the yogurt when I was a kid and thinking it tasted nasty. Now I can’t seem to get it off my mind!

  9. Anna Louise says:

    Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!!!!!

  10. sherry says:

    I’m so happy I found this site!!! I found a braun just the other day at a second hand store…$2.00
    It has no lids though…:(
    But I really am greatful for the recipe!

  11. TracyKM says:

    I knew my mom, living in a tiny town, was looking for a yoghurt maker. I was at Value Village (Savers, to the Americans), and this little machine was there. I plugged it in, the light went on, and I phoned her there in the store, LOL. It has no manual either, so how wonderful that your recipe came up first!! Thanks!!

  12. Elizabeth Fraser says:

    Thank you so much for blogging about yogurt!
    I’ve been eating & enjoying it for years…Decided to start making my own again…Found my old Braun thermostatically-controlled yogurt-maker (minus the instructions AND NO LIDS) I will just use plastic wrap & elastic bands! Yay Violet….Liz (Ottawa, Ontario CANADA)

  13. Anne Forrester says:

    I have resurrected my mother’s nice Braun yogurt maker recently – complete with jars and lids. I use 4 cups of 3.25% milk and I started with Astro Balkan yogurt – heat milk to 180F, let it cool to 120F, whisk in the yogurt, strain into the glass jars ready and warm in the machine, put the lids on and leave for 8 hrs (may try less time). I think commercial yogurt is cheaper but this is so good it disappears very quickly. Now I need more glasses so I can double up on batches. Any sitings of little Braun glasses, please let me know.
    Toronto and Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada

  14. Gail says:

    I just found the little Braun Yogurt thermostat 30 page booklett that I had put away many years ago. It’s written in Deutsch, English, Francais, Espanol, Italiano, Nederlands and possibly Arabic. Two pages are dedicated to each language. What I’ve seen on this site appears to be close to the same recipe in the booklet. At the back of the booklet is a set of numbers then a -82 which I assume means 1982. Happy I found this so thanks to all who provided recipes.

  15. Liz-Ann says:

    So wonderful to find this story and recipe after getting this exact yoghurt maker at a garage sale! My standard recipe is to pour a 4L jug of milk into a big pot, heat it until it moved but doesn’t break, keep it at moving temperature for ~ 20 minutes, then put the pot in a sink filled with cold water to let it cool a little, I put in a tablespoon of honey, some vanilla drops and one store-bought container of regular yoghurt (or one from my previous batch). I pour it all into plastic yoghurt containers I saved (and put through the dishwasher, lid them, and then they go in the haybox (or, in my case, a banana box with a sleeping bag and wool sweaters around them and on top), where they sit overnight. The next day they all go in the fridge. Yoghurt for 2 weeks, if you are very clean! But much more labour intensive.

  16. Patti says:

    Hi there, new to your blog, I do have one of these (have had it since the late 70s early 80s) but one of my husband’s kids lost one of the lids…. I went out and bought another brand of yogurt makers and it just doesn’t perform as well as my good old Braun! Guess I’ll start haunting the local VV Boutique in hopes that I’ll find one to use for parts… by the way,you can also use Yogomet culture to make your yogurt (1 5g pack to 1 litre of whole milk gives the best results)

  17. Kelly says:

    I just dug my yogurt maker out of the basement! The brand name is CONTEMPRA Natural Yogurt Maker made in the USA (Braun retailed them in Canada) it has six pots and comes with clear lids for processing and white lids for storage. I am missing a clear lid, so just started searching for one clear lid so I can make a full batch! If anyone in Winnipeg MB reads this and has one clear lid I’d be most grateful! The yogurt is really yummy and worth a try if you come across one of these babies!! Search CONTEMPRA for the recipes. Mine came with an 11 page booklet with instructions and recipes.

  18. Anne says:

    I also have the same Braun maker and it still works great. I am prging now so i must sell mine. When you are in retirement years you have to downsize.

    • PATRICIA PALADIN says:

      Hi Does the yoghurt maker have all the lids? I’m missing a couple of mine, so would be interested in buying yours…please let me know….

  19. Rosilyn sears says:

    Hi..I’m from Canada and I just decided to make my own yogurt so I asked around if anyone had a yogurt maker and alas! I found one someone didn’t want so I’m going to try your instructions..can’t wait

  20. Tanya says:

    While in France in June we had the most wonderful homemade yogurt in little glass jars at the B&B we stayed at. I have been looking in thrift stores for a yogurt maker since returning home. Alas two days ago in Value Village, I found a Braun Yogurt maker $6.99!!! Thank you for the instruction!

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