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Q: what do you call a thermometer with no numbers?


A: a stick.

This is our jam thermometer. I can read the 100° mark and the 400°, so math and a Sharpie gave me close enough approximations to make yogurt. I hope.

I ordered a few sachets of starter on Saturday, and they came this morning. Sometimes eBay comes through!

First time out, I’m sticking as close as I can to the instructions on the packet, though I don’t really have a good low heat source for the ferment. One recipe suggested putting the hot mixture into a thermos, so I put it in a steel thermos and put that in a saucepan full of hot water. I’ve changed the hot water on the hour, but I have a bad feeling it’s losing temp too fast. I’m at about the three hour mark, so I’ll go check again in a minute.

One site I read said, “don’t worry, the milk can’t spoil – you’ve already spoiled it!

Ha! Little does she know my skill for spoiling the unspoilable!

Update: IT WORKED! IT WORKED! And it’s honestly the best yogurt I’ve ever tasted (though the starter sachet I used has rosa damascena in it; subsequent batches sill taste different). I thought it would never set, as I could not keep the temperature near 110°, but I did manage to keep it just over 100°. It was a sad and thin business after six hours, but I put it in the fridge. It was lovely, thick and creamy by morning. Lots of whey, though. We have a bread maker, a slow cooker and a dehydrator. I’m’a have to experiment.


Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: February 19, 2018, 10:11 pm

Ma’am, there is a bacteria that turns milk into yogurt at room temperature. I did not know this until after buying a ‘yogurt cooker’ myself. I don’t remember the Latin name of this bacteria.

With the introduction of an all-in-one ‘smart pot’ that does everything, a dedicated yogurt cooker is obsolete.

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: February 19, 2018, 11:23 pm

You can use a crock pot or a rice cooker to make yougurt, too.

Comment from Drew458
Time: February 19, 2018, 11:31 pm

We have two devices that have settings for making yogurt One is an Instant Pot pressure cooker, the other is a Brod&Taylor bread proofing box. I love to make bread, but it is impossible to maintain 80°F in my home. The proofer was kind of expensive but it’s big enough to do 4 loaves at a go, or about 16 quart jars of yogurt. It’s adjustable in 1 degree increments. I haven’t made yogurt yet, but I can now make sourdough bread in only a day.

Comment from Drew458
Time: February 19, 2018, 11:32 pm

Completely off topic: KFC UK has no chickens!!

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: February 19, 2018, 11:38 pm

I left a glass of milk sitting in the garage once…it turned into cheese :+)

Comment from Niña
Time: February 19, 2018, 11:55 pm

I have used my dehydrator to make yogurt, too. Worked just fine. It has a setting for yogurt, but since not all strains need the same temperature, you do have to check.

I’d go eat some now, but I’m about to start my daily three hour chemo fast. I’ll have some at 7. 😜

Comment from Bob
Time: February 20, 2018, 1:49 am

In junior high school, we learned how to calibrate a new thermometer using ice water, body temperature, boiling water, and a couple other things. Room temperature was kind of subjective.

Comment from Steve Skubinna
Time: February 20, 2018, 3:46 am

Do you have an electric heating pad? If so, wrap it around the container.

I use a nifty non-electric yogurt maker:


It works exactly like a beer cooler does. Heat the milk, culture it, put it in and leave it overnight.

Comment from bds
Time: February 20, 2018, 4:39 am

Regarding bread proofing (& maybe yogurt too? no idea), I saw a suggestion online when I first starting baking my own to use the oven for proofing — have it off, of course, but with the light turned on. The little incandescent bulb warms it pretty consistently to around 80. Of course that assumes you have an incandescent light in your oven, and can switch it on when the door is closed, but given that it works like a charm.

Comment from Sakhara
Time: February 20, 2018, 10:16 am

“One site I read said, “don’t worry, the milk can’t spoil – you’ve already spoiled it!

Ha! Little does she know my skill for spoiling the unspoilable!”

Just like me. Here, hold my beer.

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: February 20, 2018, 10:58 am

Ye gods.
What have we done.
She went right to yogurt.

Comment from Fritzworth
Time: February 20, 2018, 2:40 pm

My former wife and I had one of those popular yogurt makers — the kind with six little ceramic cups that sat in a plug-in heating tray. Worked quite well, but…it was yogurt. We subscribed to “Mother Earth News”, which should tell you what our household cuisine was like. We also had no TV set.

Found out later that our kids (elementary school ages at the time) would go to their friends’ houses to watch TV and gorge on junk food. 🙂

Comment from DurnedYankee
Time: February 20, 2018, 4:13 pm

What I find terribly amusing is here we are in 1st world countries sort of patting ourselves on the back, and probably paying extra, for doing what a brokeass 5th century peasant villager from the Kingdom of Backwoodsia (just to the left of Mercia and slightly right of Gwynedd) could have done.

Brewing beer, making cottage cheese/mozzarella , making pickled (sauer) vegetables, sourdough, vinegar, booze.

If the power goes out, by and large we are well and truly screwed, no? 🙂

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: February 20, 2018, 6:50 pm

I saw recipes that added powdered milk to the mixture to make it thicker. Never tried it.

Comment from AliceH
Time: February 20, 2018, 7:27 pm

I like yoplait whipped yogurt (it’s like a mousse), but every other yogurt I’ve tried sets off my “eek! spoiled!! poison!!! eek!!!!” gag reflex. This annoys me.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: February 20, 2018, 8:00 pm

When I was a young cub, many, many years ago, British school children were given small bottles of milk – and expected to drink it.

The milk was delivered in the mornings, in crates of small bottles, which were stacked … in the playground somewhere, I suppose. In the winter the milk was nearly frozen and in the summer it could have passed for particularly ripe and unpleasant cream cheese. We were still expected to drink it.

When yoghurt first appeared here outside of cranky health food shops (it must have been in the 1970s) it filled me with a revulsion I have yet to overcome.

That is all.

Comment from Anonymous
Time: February 20, 2018, 8:58 pm

DurnedYankee said

If the power goes out, by and large we are well and truly screwed, no? 🙂

Well yeah, we couldn’t read about Stoatie’s doings.

[edit…sorry I accidentally pasted a FB post still in memory]

Comment from BJM
Time: February 20, 2018, 9:09 pm

Stoatie, I’ve made yogurt in all three of those appliances, works fine.

Although since I got an IP I seldom use the slow cooker, mainly cuz the IP has a saute mode for browning, so no extra pan to clean.

Comment from drew458
Time: February 20, 2018, 10:03 pm

skubi reminded me of something, which you may already own. K&H makes a waterproof heating pad for small animals, about the size of a piece of printer paper. It’s made to keep baby chickens warm, and has the wonderful name of Thermo-Peep. $30. It heats up to a stable 106F, which may be good temp for yogurt. Invert a cardboard box over it to trap the warm. My outdoor cats love them in the winter.

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: February 21, 2018, 1:13 pm

Uncle B – my version is baloney and mayo sandwiches.
In wax paper wrappers
In a paper lunch sack
Used to whack other people
In the rain

and since I went to a school controlled by weird women in black outfits who levitated to get around because they appeared to have no feet, with names like Sister MaryJack the Ripper of the order of Our Lady of the Night, I too had to eat the sandwich.

Really put me off mayo and baloney.

Comment from Can’t Hark My Cry
Time: February 21, 2018, 2:11 pm

I have been making a half-gallon of yogurt every week for at least 25 years, pretty much trouble free. Until our local greenmarket opened and I could get relatively fresh local milk I used dried (3 cups powder to 2 quarts water). In a two-quart pyrex measuring pitcher, uncovered, I heat it for 20 minutes in the microwave on high; let it cool until the temperature is between 100 & 110°F. Stir in the culture–originally a cup of plain yogurt from the supermarket, now the contents of a small jar (quarter-cup, I’d guess, but I’ve never actually measured its capacity) of the previous week’s batch. Pour into 7 glass jars that originally held Hormel dried beef, one half-cup jar that originally held pimentos, and the small jar for next week’s starter. Put the lids on the jars, and set them in along enameled steel pan; I position an old bath towel in the pan first, so that the jars sit on the towel, and it can then be folded to completely encase them. Set it aside–winter or summer, on top of my kitchen (steam) radiator. The indoor temperature in my apartment varies between 60 and 72°F in the winter, probably about the same in the summer. I did have one bad patch (new 2-quart measuring pitcher because I broke the old one; I have no idea why that put me off my stride, but it did, for a bit) when I had to replace the culture (and I bought commercial, used one packet, and have the remaining packets in the freezer, where they’ve been for a couple of years now). Otherwise, it works like a charm. Not thick and creamy, but also no separate whey; if I strain it (which on occasion I have done with that and the two other soured milk products I make every week) it does get thick. . .I use one cup every morning, and the half cup gets used like buttermilk in cornbread, or for cooking, or, when I have several accumulated, strained and treated like cream cheese.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 21, 2018, 9:15 pm

Thanks for that, Can’t Hark. I’ve read several places that culturing a new batch from the old batch, your yogurt will eventually run out of steam, or taste different. Or something.

Comment from CantHarkMyCry
Time: February 22, 2018, 12:51 am

Well, yes, to some degree–like sourdough: the culture will be affected by various things (including wild bacteria in the air. If a highly consistent product is important to youb using the commercial culture and careful timing and measurement is probably a good idea. But it doesn’t hurt to keep in mind that the process is really pretty forgiving.

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