Is there anything that screams “it’s summer” more than frozen yogurt? It’s one of those treats that you can enjoy guilt free – even if you’re indulging at breakfast time, which you should be. But in reality, who is going to stop in for a frozen yogurt on their way to work? Unless, of course, you have invested in a frozen yogurt maker, then you can start every day off with a little indulgence -with no extra effort.
Frozen yogurt has been available commercially in America since the 1980s (see here), generally considered a low fat, healthy alternative to ice cream. So, when the trend for low fat went out the window, frozen yogurt’s popularity decreased. Then probiotics were discovered and yogurt became cool again.
What’s In Frozen Yogurt?
Generally, froyo is a combination of milk, sweetener, culture and flavorings. However, as yogurt products are again increasing in popularity the range of options are increasing dramatically, including dairy free, vegan and gluten free options. If you are really wanting to have frozen yogurt the way you like it, whenever you want it, most people are starting to look towards making their frozen treat at home rather than adding it to the grocery list.
How Can I Make My Own?
Although you can buy frozen yogurt mix, it is surprisingly easy to make frozen yogurt from scratch at home. If you look on the internet enough you will find recipes that use store bought yogurt to create a frozen treat, often just using a tray, a freezer and a timer (so that you can get the mix out of the freezer every hour to stir it a bit).
Making life even easier is the incredible range of frozen yogurt makers, some manually operated and some that are completely automated.
One of the best things about making your own frozen yogurt is that you can completely control the ingredient that are used. Not only does this make investing in a frozen yogurt maker a worthwhile expenditure from a budget view but from a health view – no more preservatives, additives or ingredients that you don’t want in your body.
Which Maker Do I Need?
As soon as you decide that you need to make frozen desserts, you will quickly become rather overwhelmed about the incredible range of makers on the market. If you are able to look at sites like Yogurt Nerd's reviews you can get a great overview of different makers and which one will best suit your needs. However, there are a few things that you can start thinking about first.
You want to make frozen treats, that’s a given but what sort? Will you only ever be making frozen yogurt or do you want to be able to make gelato and ice cream as well? Different makers may offer slightly different options on what you can make, so as long as you know what you are wanting a maker to be able to create you won’t be disappointed.
Every day or occasional treat?
How often do you think you will be wanting to enjoy your treat? This is important not only in terms of capacity but also build quality. If frozen yogurt is going to be something your family of four will enjoy once a month then you can probably get away with a smaller machine of a less solid construction that someone who wants to have frozen product for breakfast and dessert every day.
Ease of Use
Many of the various makers work by having a special bowl that freeze for several hours before you make your frozen yogurt. When you are ready you pop the bowl into the frozen dessert maker, add the ingredients and the machine churns everything together. The timeframe can range anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes. So, this will be another factor to think about – how quickly will you want your treat ready.
However, there are other machines on the market that are completely self-refrigerating. This means that you don’t have to store a special bowl (which is actually surprisingly large) in your freezer in preparation for use in the yogurt maker. Generally, these take a little longer to deliver your ice-cream or yogurt to your plate as there is no pre-frozen bowl, so the machine is doing all of the work. Even so, you should be looking at eating happily from between 30mins to an hour.
But I’m Vegan (or lactose intolerant or keto)
If you’re vegan, lactose intolerant or have any special dietary requirements then a frozen maker is going to be perfect for you because you have absolute control over what ingredients you use. There are no sneaky hidden ingredients, the only things that go into your froyo are the things that you put in the maker. Rather than using a dairy based product you can use a soy yogurt starter, agave nectar, cashews, xanthan gum, coconut milk and you have a vegan or dairy free option. Increase the fat content of your base and use xylitol and low carb berries and you have a more keto based option. All in less time that it would take you to read all the labels at the grocery store and make a purchase of something that was only almost right (and 5 times the price).
Frozen dessert makers do vary quite a lot in price, as well as what they can do, how much they can make and how quickly they can make it; so, it is a good idea to read all the reviews you can before committing.