Fermenting Yogurt With The Help Of Hardware

Fermentation is a natural process that has been exploited by humanity for millennia. Behind such favorites as cheese and beer, it takes just the right conditions to get the desired results. To aid in this process, and to explore the crafts of their ancestors, [Victoria] and [Petar] created an electronic fermentation quilt.

Bulgarian yogurt was the tasty end result from this work.

Anyone familiar with breadmaking will be familiar with throwing a cloth over dough when left to rest. This is all about temperature management, providing optimum conditions for the yeast to work their magic. This fermentation quilt takes things to the next level, integrating soft heater pads and temperature sensing hardware into the fabric itself. Rather than acting as a simple insulator, the quilt can actively supply heat where needed, switching off when reaching the set temperature. In this example, the quilt is set to maintain a temperature of 45 degrees for the optimum production of Bulgarian yogurt.

The fermentation quilt serves as an excellent example of what can be achieved when combining textiles with smart electronics. Tools like Adafruit’s Lilypad and conductive thread all come together to make this a functional and useful device, and shows that electronic textiles aren’t just limited to blinky wearables.

Fermentation is a popular topic among hackers, with [Trent Fehl]’s Supercon talk at the 2019 Supercon covering similar ground from a sourdough perspective. It goes to show that hardware skills can pay off in the kitchen, too!

15 thoughts on “Fermenting Yogurt With The Help Of Hardware

  1. I bought a electric yogurt maker ~20 years ago, it makes up to 6 Jelly/Jam (8oz) mason jars at a time and I only have had 2-3 bad batches in that time due to me being an idiot and not taking the time to wash the jars again right before making, thus… contamination :/ the controls are much like a rice maker in that you press down a lever and it does the initial heating and the lever pops up and the machine remains heating at a lower temp for however long you leave your yogurt goodness in. and while I payed ~$50-60 for it I’ve seen more modern ones on amazon, and in stores for as little as $20 for one with digital timers/controls even (might be fun to hack at only $20)

  2. Back when I used to make yogurt: two-quart jar for the yogurt, gallon jug full of hot water. Put both in styrofoam “cooler” overnight to insulate. Eat fresh yogurt in the morning.

    I also used to toss in some dehydrated milk to thicken it up — just changes the consistency a little bit, and probably adds a little more protein.

    Alternative is to strain it a bit in cheese cloth. Mmmm. I like yogurt cheese with honey or maple syrup. Be right back…

    Oh yeah. This hack is cool. :)

    1. Yes I use a Styrofoam fish delivery box liberated from a restaurant to insulate while making yoghurt. Thermos flasks work well to. Never thought to try an electric blanket . Chopped kiwi fruit and honey highly recommend.

  3. i started in feb with indian yogurt and am still propagating…heat milk to 180F, cool to 120F, add a half cup of yogurt and leave out for a day. Only hardware is a saucepan and a thermometer. You can probably cheat the temp–180 it starts steaming, 120 you can put your finger in for 10s.

    1. Um after you boil the milk you let it cool to the right temp you add an amount of the previous batch… Why not pour that into you vacuum thermos and voila! Yogurt by the morning. No sensors, timers, 555’s, processors nor heaters. No power at all. you could do this totally off grid in your cabin, boat or while bikepacking. No styrofoam either.

      Less is more. Enjoy

      #plasticfree #fermentation #yogurt #offgrid #probiotic

  4. You can get a “W1209 Digital 12V Thermostat Temperature Control Switch Sensor Module” from ebay for less than $3.00 hook that up to a regular rice cooker with a warm function. Put your yogurt container in the rice cooker and then fill the cooker with warm water so that the yogurt container is mostly surrounded by water. Put the temperature sensor in the water. The module will turn on and off a relay which you can carefully hook up to line voltage to the rice cooker to maintain the set temperature. This will keep the yogurt at the ideal temperature until it’s done.

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