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I would like to do at home frozen yogurt. Do I have to use an ice cream machine, or is there a technique to prepare it without a machine?

PS: I don't really like ice cream without the machine as the ice crystals are too big. I wonder if the highest density of yogurt helps.

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3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

You can do it sans machine, but you are limited to small batches, and it tends to form crystals. You have two choices, bags or freezer container. Bags tends to make less crystallized product, and is a bit faster.

Bags

Get a large 1 gallon ziploc bag, lots of ice, a ~2 cups salt, a small, 1 quart bag and the mix to be turned into ice cream (or frozen yogurt). Chill the mix in the fridge beforehand. This helps the mix cool more quickly and evenly, meaning smaller crystals, meaning creamier product.

Place the cream mix in the small bag, and leave a bit of air. Make sure it is sealed well, you may want to double bag it. Put the small bag in the big bag.

Fill the big bag about half way with ice and add a few tablespoons of salt. Seal the big bag and start mushing the small bag from outside the big bag, moving it around and getting it in contact with the ice. You probably want gloves or to wrap it in a towel: it gets really cold. After the ice melts down, add more ice and salt, keep squishing until the stuff in the bag gets hard. You can toss it on the floor and squish it with your feet while watching TV or reading. Put it in the freezer for a few hours to condition.

This isn't quite as nice as a machine. To compensate for the extra crystallization, you can add more fat and sugar, since those stop large crystals from forming. With frozen yogurt, I don't think there is much you can do.

Freezer Container

This is easier, but makes lower quality product. Simply put your mix in a large container (leave at least half empty), and place in the freezer. Take it out every 10 minutes and shake vigorously for a few seconds. Repeat until it won't move anymore. Use a fork to fluff the mix.

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+1, love the bags idea. –  Sam Holder Jul 19 '10 at 13:25
    
Now the only problem is to find ziploc bag in Italy! I'll try with a simple fridge bag closing it with a wire. –  Lorenzo Jul 19 '10 at 13:26
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If you want the ice to remain soft you have to stir it while freezing. It is possible to do it by hand, but you will wish you had bought an ice cream machine.

If you want to make frozen yoghurt popsicles you can do so without stirring. You can use improvised small containers for this, but there are also special containers on the market. My kids love them :)

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You are right, but I don't want to buy a machine that I will use just a couple of times in a year... –  Lorenzo Jul 19 '10 at 12:59
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With most icecreams you can make it without a machine by putting in the freezer and getting out every once in a while and beat it to break up the crystals as they form. You can use a whisk/fork/wooden spoon whatever for this.

The amount of time between beatings depends on how cold the mixture already is, so at the beginning when you first put it in you can leave it 20-30 mins before you need to beat it, but as it freezes more and more you need to beat it more regularly, up to every 5-10 mins.

The more often you beat it the more likely you are to get it 'creamy'

I assume the same would apply to yogurt, although I've never tried it without a machine personally. You may need to adjust the time between beatings for yogurt though.

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