Maintaining Temperatures for Culturing Yogurt

Mesophilic Cultures

One of the most important things to consider when making yogurt is the temperature at which it cultures. In different seasons, it can be difficult to maintain the proper temperature for countertop cultures (70º-77ºF). 

Be sure to test the temperature of the culturing area prior to making yogurt. Place a jar of room temperature water in the area. Take readings at intervals during the culturing timeframe to ensure the range is correct.

(Click here for Maintaining Temperatures when Culturing Thermophilic Yogurt)

 

Keeping it Warm in Winter

  • Warm Oven. Setting the culture in a closed oven with the light bulb or pilot light on will maintain a constant culturing temperature.

  • YogoTherm. An insulated container such as the YogoTherm works to maintain temperature without electricity. Ambient temperature can have an effect on the culturing process; in cold weather, wrap with a warmed towel for added insulation.

  • Hot Water Bath. Set the covered yogurt jar in a large bowl, filling the bowl with hot water. The water level should be no more than one to two inches from the top of the jar. As the water cools, remove the jar gently, pour the water out, replace jar, and add hot water.

  • Appliance Boost. Wrap the jar of yogurt in a towel, placing near or on an appliance like a DVR machine, woodstove, or atop the refrigerator.

  • Folding Proofer. The Folding Proofer can be set to 70º-120ºF for culturing yogurt.

  • Insulated Cooler. Put a jar of hot water along with jar of yogurt inside cooler. Replace jars of water as needed to maintain temperature.

  • Thermos. Culture yogurt in a beverage thermos. Wrap in a towel for added insulation, if necessary.

  • Seedling or Reptile Mat. Place yogurt on top of a seedling or reptile mat, which can raise the temperature 5-20ºF above ambient temperature. 

  • Elevation. Set yogurt in a high place, where air is warmer than counter height.

 

Keeping it Cool in Summer

  • Insulated Cooler. Use a closed cooler with icepack(s) inside

  • Cool Surface. Placing a jar of yogurt on a surface such as marble will enable it to stay cooler than its surroundings.

  • Cooling by Evaporation. Place jar of yogurt in a shallow container of cool water. A cooling effect occurs as evaporation takes place. Replace water if it evaporates completely.

 

Ready to Learn More about Countertop Yogurts?

                                                
   
Maintaining Temperatures for Culturing Yogurt


Related Articles & Recipes:

 

Related Products:

Filmjölk Yogurt Starter
Filmjölk Yogurt Starter
Cooking With Yogurt Book
Cooking With Yogurt
Cotton Bag for Making Yogurt Cheese Lebneh
Cotton Bag for Draining Whey

 

<table style="width: 506px;" border="0" align="left">
<tbody>
<tr>
<td><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span> <br />
<p><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Originally a simple fermented dairy product, yogurt now has many variations and personalities. It can be thin and runny, or thick and firm. It can be made from cow milk, goat milk, sheep milk, nut milk, soy milk, rice milk, and from numerous other creamy substances. In some countries the milk of buffalo, horses, yaks, or camels is used.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">For most of this discussion, we&rsquo;ll refer to yogurt in its original form: a fermented dairy milk. This was how yogurt was first developed, and most of the yogurt in the world is made this way.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Essentially yogurt is the product of beneficial bacteria fermenting milk and turning it into a thickened, acidic food that will stay fresh longer than milk itself, and that contains millions of bacteria that are welcomed by the human gut.</span></p>
<h1><br /><strong><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">The History of Yogurt</span></strong></h1>
<p><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">The word yogurt comes from a Turkish word meaning to curdle or to thicken. Today it is spelled yogurt, yoghurt, or yogourt, with yogurt being the most common American spelling.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">It&rsquo;s probable that the earliest yogurt was made by accident in Mesopotamia around 5,000 BC, when milk-producing animals were first domesticated. The milk was likely stored and transported in bags made from the stomachs of these animals, and the digestive juices and bacteria in the stomach linings made the milk coagulate and become acidic. Not only was it a new and interesting food, but the acidity and helped to keep it edible for longer</span> <span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">than if it had just sat out in a bowl or jar.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">There is also some evidence of yogurt being used as a cleaning product and a beauty lotion as early as 2000 BC. The acidity of the yogurt helps clean away dirt and rust, and also helps clear away dead skin and nourish healthy skin cells.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Yogurt was a popular food in the Middle East for thousands of years, and has been a staple of the Eastern European diet. It&rsquo;s now eaten throughout the world, as a main course, a snack, an ingredient in many recipes, and a condiment. It has gained considerable popularity in America in the last forty or fifty years, in keeping with general trends toward organic, cultured, and nutrient-dense foods.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Yogurt can be mildly tart or quite sour, and can be thick enough to stand up on a plate, or thin enough to pour, or anywhere in between. It contains protein and calcium as well as a variety of vitamins. Additionally, the process of yogurt fermentation is very similar to the process of digestion, so it can be easily consumed.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Many people eat yogurt plain, while others prefer to mix it with fruits or vegetables, or to add flavors or sweeteners. It is used in a variety of recipes as a flavor enhancer or leavening, and frequently enjoyed as a refreshing drink.</span></p>
<h1><br /><strong><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Nutritional Content</span></strong></h1>
<p><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Not only does yogurt contain the same amount of protein and fat as the milk from which it is made, it also contains calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12. While numerous claims have been made regarding the health benefits and digestibility of yogurt, we don&rsquo;t comment on medical, health, or nutritional qualities of our products. However, a great deal of research on the subject is readily available on the Internet and in dozens of books.</span></p>
<h1><br /><strong><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">How is Yogurt Made?</span></strong></h1>
<p><strong><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></strong><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">True yogurt is made from animal milk. Theoretically, the milk of any mammal could be used to make yogurt.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">With care, yogurt cultures can also be used to ferment and coagulate non-dairy &ldquo;milks&rdquo; such as the creamy liquid obtained from nuts, rice, soy, or coconut. While these products are technically not really yogurt, they can be used and enjoyed just like dairy yogurt, alone or in recipes.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Put very simply, the process of turning milk into yogurt involves fermentation. Certain types of bacteria act on the lactose (milk sugar) that is in milk, and produce lactic acid. The lactic acid lowers the pH of the milk, and causes the milk protein to coagulate and make a firm mass. The acidified milk is an inhospitable environment for destructive bacteria, so the yogurt stays fresh longer than untreated milk.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">The bacteria that does this is called beneficial bacteria, because it supports digestion and is nourishing, as opposed to pathogenic (harmful) bacteria that causes disease. The beneficial bacteria is called probiotic. It&nbsp; is similar or identical to the type of bacteria that lives in the human gut and which is responsible for the process of food absorption. When you use live cultures, the probiotics stay in the yogurt, and the yogurt can then be used as a starter to make more yogurt.</span></p>
<h1><br /><strong><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Yogurt and Other Fermented Dairy Products</span></strong></h1>
<p><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">There are many different ways that beneficial bacteria can be introduced to milk and make an entirely new food. The main difference between the different fermented dairy products is the bacteria used to make them, resulting in different flavors and consistencies.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;"><em>Yogurt</em> can be cultured with a variety of different bacteria combinations, each of which gives the yogurt a characteristic taste and consistency. There are typically somewhere between the range of two to six different bacteria strains in yogurt, and they are similar to the bacteria found in the intestines.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;"><em>Kefir</em> is a thickened milk made from little clumps of yeast, bacteria, and milk proteins that ferment the milk. There are about thirty different bacteria strains present in kefir grains. It has a slightly sour flavor and sometimes a faint effervescence. Koumiss is a similar product, made from mare&rsquo;s milk.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;"><em>Buttermilk</em> is the name given to the whey that&rsquo;s left over when butter is made, but it more commonly refers to a milk drink made by adding bacteria to low-fat milk, producing a thickened product with a tangy flavor.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;"><em>Sour cream</em> is cream or high-fat milk that&rsquo;s been cultured and thickened. It&rsquo;s very slightly sour, and usually quite thick. It was originally made by letting fresh cream thicken naturally as a result of fermentation from the bacteria present in the cream. When cream is pasteurized and has no natural bacteria present, it must be fermented with added bacteria.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;"><em>Cr&egrave;me fraiche</em> is a European-style sour cream, slightly sweeter than what we are used to in America. It&rsquo;s also made by letting raw cream thicken naturally, or by adding buttermilk cultures to cream. Cr&egrave;me fraiche can be heated without curdling, unlike sour cream.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">In recipes, you can often substitute one cultured milk product for another and get similar results. In fact, sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between a thin, tart yogurt and a thick, sour kefir or a creamy buttermilk!</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;"><em>Soft and hard cheeses</em> are also made by culturing milk over a longer period of time. Some cheeses can be easily made by straining the moisture out of yogurt or sour cream, while others require additional fermentation and culturing steps.</span></p>
<ul>
</ul>
<ul>
</ul>
<ul>
</ul>
<ol> </ol>
<p><br /><br /></p>
</td>
<td>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp; <br /></td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>&nbsp;</td>
<td>&nbsp;</td>
</tr>
</tbody>
</table>
<table style="width: 200px;" border="0" align="left">
<tbody>
<tr>
<td colspan="2"><img src="http://cdn.culturesforhealth.com/media//Greek_Yogurt_200px_1.jpg" alt="Yogurt" /><br /></td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td colspan="2">
<p><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva;"><br /><strong>Related Articles &amp; Recipes:</strong></span></p>
<ul>
<li><a title="Yogurt Making How-to Videos" href="http://www.culturesforhealth.com/how-to-videos#yogurt_video" target="_blank"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Yogurt Making How-to Videos</span></a></li>
<li><a title="How to Make Lebneh" href="http://www.culturesforhealth.com/how-to-make-lebneh-yogurt-cheese" target="_blank"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">How to Make Lebneh (aka Yogurt Cheese)</span></a><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva;">&nbsp;</span></li>
<li><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva;"><a title="Yogurt FAQ" href="http://www.culturesforhealth.com/expert-advice/Yogurt-Starter-FAQ.html" target="_blank">Yogurt FAQ</a><br /></span></li>
</ul>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td colspan="2">
<p><strong><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva;">Related Products:</span></strong></p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td><a title="Yogurt Starter" href="http://www.culturesforhealth.com/starter-cultures/yogurt-starter.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://cdn.culturesforhealth.com/media//Bulgarian_75px.jpg" alt="Bulgarian Yogurt Starter" /></a></td>
<td><a title="Yogurt Starter" href="http://www.culturesforhealth.com/starter-cultures/yogurt-starter.html" target="_blank"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva;">Yogurt Starter</span></a></td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td><a title="Yogurt Makers" href="http://www.culturesforhealth.com/kitchen-appliances-1/yogurt-makers.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://cdn.culturesforhealth.com/media//Euro_Cuisine_Yogurt_Maker_YM80_75px.jpg" alt="Yogurt Maker" /></a></td>
<td><a title="Yogurt Starter" href="http://www.culturesforhealth.com/starter-cultures/yogurt-starter.html" target="_blank"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva;"></span></a><a title="Yogurt Makers" href="http://www.culturesforhealth.com/kitchen-appliances-1/yogurt-makers.html" target="_blank"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Yogurt Makers</span></a></td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td><a title="Cotton Bag for Making Soft Cheese" href="http://www.culturesforhealth.com/cotton-bag-for-making-soft-cheese.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://cdn.culturesforhealth.com/media//Soft_Cheese_Bag_75px.jpg" alt="Cotton Bag for Making Yogurt Cheese Lebneh" /></a><br /></td>
<td><a title="Cotton Bag for Making Soft Cheese" href="http://www.culturesforhealth.com/cotton-bag-for-making-soft-cheese.html" target="_blank"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva;">Cotton Bag for Making Soft Cheese</span></a></td>
</tr>
</tbody>
</table>

Free eBook Library Access & Weekly Newsletter


Sign up today for free access to our entire library of easy to follow eBooks on creating cultured foods at home, including Lacto-Fermentation, Kombucha, Kefir, Yogurt, Sourdough, and Cheesemaking.
  • Library of eBooks for making your own cultured foods
  • Weekly newsletter filled with tips & tricks
  • Expert advice articles, recipes, and how-to videos
  • Join 150,000+ other health-conscious readers
  • We never share your information!
first name last name email address