Fermentation warmer?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by oregonyeti, Jan 4, 2015.

  1. oregonyeti

    oregonyeti

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    I'd like to get something that will make a warm little environment that I can put containers in to keep them at a temp range of say 70-100 degrees F. I'd like to use it for making yogurt and for bread dough and yeast pancake batter to rise in. It has to be adjustable within the range of temp I need, and fit different-sized containers that I would use for different things.

    I can make something like this myself, with some experimentation, such as a 20-gallon cooler with a water pump and heater and thermostat, but I would like to know if there's already a good product I can buy that will do this ... for 150 dollars or less.

    Any wise persons out there who can tell me where to get one?
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2015
  2. french fries

    french fries

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    At home cook
    This?

     
  3. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    I have made yoghurt in my... oven and it works perfectly. As long as the lowest position on your oven is around 50°C, you're in business.
     
  4. oregonyeti

    oregonyeti

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    Thanks:) My oven's lowest setting is 170 F or 77 C. Since that won't work, FF's suggestion looks good!
     
  5. mickey1123

    mickey1123

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    Try King Arthur Flour.  They had something in their catalog that may be useful.
     
  6. oregonyeti

    oregonyeti

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    Last edited: Jan 4, 2015
  7. maryb

    maryb

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    Cooler, PID temp controller, heater, stirrer to keep the water mixed, rack to hold stuff above the water bath if it is not in a sealed bowl...
     
  8. luc_h

    luc_h

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    @OregonYeti I have used a six pack cooler to make 2 liters of yoghurt easily in the past:

    make sure you have a 2L glass or stainless steel container with lid that fits in the cooler when closed. Bring your milk to temp (using microwave for example) add culture, mix then place the container in the cooler.  Using a thermometer, adjust your tap water (cold + hot) to the desired temp and fill the cooler and close.  I rarely lost more than 5C over 5 hours.  Change water every 5 hours. Yoghurt take less than 10 hours to make.

    Cost: price of the cooler and container but very manual....

    Luc H.
     
  9. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    Any chance your oven is a gas one with a pilot light?
     
  10. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    To keep things warm I simply turn on the light that's inside of my oven!      /img/vbsmilies/smilies/mullet.gif
     
  11. oregonyeti

    oregonyeti

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    Thanks, Mary. That's similar to what my plan B was /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif

    Luc, I've done almost the same thing as you have, making yogurt. Since the milk and culture (yogurt as starter) mix is mostly water, with a high specific heat, it is not as hard to keep it a good temp. range with some insulation--that, and yogurt can cool a little as it ferments, and it's fine. Yeast bread dough and pancake batter are the ones that I think will be trickier since I keep my place around 60-65 F (about 100 km/h in metric) in winter. The ease of making yogurt would be the secondary benefit.

    Cheflayne, it's an electric oven. No luck there. I'd prefer gas but I'm renting and I don't have a choice.

    Kokopuffs, that might work. I don't know that it would be enough since I don't keep my place very warm because the heating bill can be high. But I'm trying it out. I've turned on the oven light and I've put a thermometer in there.

    Thanks all!
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2015
  12. oregonyeti

    oregonyeti

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    After all that excessive thinking, turns out the oven light will do it for bread, for my use anyway. Thanks, KokoPuffs! The oven light by itself is keeping my oven about 13 degrees warmer than the conditioned space outside of it. That makes it warm enough for bread dough to rise. A gas pilot keeps the oven warm too, but I'm not lucky enough to have a gas oven.

    For yogurt, as Luc says, an insulated container will work fine. Also, ChrisBelgium's suggestion of an oven at the lowest setting will work for yogurt if the oven temp setting goes low enough.

    I think the suggestion by French Fries and Mickey, http://www.amazon.com/Folding-Bread-Proofer-Yogurt-Maker/dp/B005FCZMU6/ is the easiest so far, if you don't want to experiment.

    I'm going to use the oven with the light on, for bread, and a big sauce pan or stock pan, well insulated, for yogurt.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2015
  13. luc_h

    luc_h

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    A combo of both ideas could be a good (and cheap) weekend project.

    remember the EZ bake oven of the 70's (maybe not...) it was a 100 to 150 watt incandescent light bulb oven to bake premixed cake blend for kids.

    I can imagine a incandescent lightbulb connected to a cheap home heating baseboard thermostat inside a cooler or insulated box.  Just set the temp, the light will turn on and off to maintain the temp.

    This set-up is cheap and can serve for many applications.

    Luc H.
     
  14. oregonyeti

    oregonyeti

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    Luc, I think I will do something like that /img/vbsmilies/smilies/thumb.gif
     
  15. oregonyeti

    oregonyeti

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    After some grrrr over a thermostat that didn't work as I wanted it to ... 110 F is a very uncommon demand ... I 1think I will have a good setup soon. An electric warming pad to spread over the bottom of the heated space, plus a thermostat that can handle it. I bought the thermostat that MaryB suggested and right out of the box it was defective. Dangit! From ratings on Amazon it is hit-and-miss and mine was a miss.

    A Dayton thermostat with a little electric blanket for heat, I think will do it nicely. A heating pad that spreads over the bottom is good for even heating.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004ZRMJMQ/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=

     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2015
  16. luc_h

    luc_h

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    Too bad your purchase did not work.

    Maybe I didn't give you enough details but this bi-metal thermostat would do the trick... and real cheap.  The specs says it goes from 40 to 120F.  If it doesn't reach the temp you want, you can bend the metal to increase the temp range.

    As for the wiring, the thermostat basically breaks the 120v circuit that connects a 100w lightbuld (or IR lamp)

    http://www.homedepot.com/p/Fahrenhe...Electric-Baseboard-Thermostat-FTA2A/202267264

    Luc H.
     
  17. oregonyeti

    oregonyeti

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    Thanks, Luc! I will see if this one works when I get it next week. I expect it will. There is hardly ever a problem with a thermostat and I got unlucky. If it doesn't work, your recommendation will be my next try.

    I chose an electric heating pad because it will cover a large area on the bottom of the container. That will help with even heating for better control.
     
  18. oregonyeti

    oregonyeti

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    This works great for yogurt. I made a quart of yummy Indian yogurt, but I also could have made a lot more in one batch :) It's a big box that my new desktop PC came in.Thermostat goes from 30-110 F. It's a prototype but the results were great, so it might be a while before I make the final version. I put in the stuff to keep warm, on top of the inner box, set the thermostat which controls the hair dryer, close the flaps on top of the box, and let it sit. My final version will be a nice rounded, sanded and polished wooden container of alternating bonded layers of dark and light wood. We'll see if that happens.

    The electric blanket didn't put out enough heat and that's why I used the small, low powered hair dryer, on the low setting. Don't want too much heat. I taped shut the "handles" on the sides of the outer big box. When I close it I put another towel on top of the big box to help insulate it, which is probably not necessary.

    Yogurt culture was this great one: https://www.homesteadersupply.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=234_170&products_id=1535

    There's a lot of room in that box, and with thermostat ranging from 30-110 F, I can do a lot with this.

    (Looking down into the box)

     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2015
  19. luc_h

    luc_h

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    Niiiice setup!

    So what thermostat did you end up using?

    Luc H.
     
  20. maryb

    maryb

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    That just screams fire hazard to me if something fails...