Make Your Own Yogurt Incubator
I originally stumbled across this great Instructable detailing how to make a straw slow-cooker, and was so thrilled by it that I soon made one myself. After the first attempt I discovered that it made a great incubator for home-made yogurt (I currently incubate my yogurt for around 24 hours for maximum probiotic action). As a result I modified the design slightly to easily accommodate a 2 litre jar. I find that 2 litres will probably last around a week for two people depending on what you are using the yogurt for. I like to drain it and make it into cream cheese and then make a tasty probiotic mustard with it for one thing.
The Hay Slow Cooker (hooikist) was invented in the Netherlands around 1900 and especially popular during the Second World War, when heating fuel was scarce. Nowadays it is forgotten, which is a pity as it can save up to 80% on cooking fuel costs. The Hay Slow Cooker is ideal in temperate climates for long cooking food in liquid such as beans, pulses, rice, grains, stews with meat like goulash, chicken pots like coq-au-vin, potatoes, porridge, soup, etc.. In warm climates a solar cooker is probably more practical. -kadewei
Please have a look at the instructable for full instructions (with photographs). I found that I didn’t like the way the top bonnet was made and I simply just made two bottom bags instead. You may want to adjust the measurements according to what container you use to make your yogurt in. I haven’t used it for slow-cooking yet, but since that was what this was originally for, perhaps I will try it someday. As a side note here, there is also the hay box cooker, which is also used in the same way as the hay slow cooker, and is much easier to make if you have a box and a supply of hay :).
I took my latest version of the Yogurt Incubator down to the screening of Milk War had last weekend and donated it to the silent auction we were having to raise money for The Real Milk Legal Defence Fund. I was very excited that Green Mama bought it for $50! I hope she is finding it useful. Unfortunately I forgot to put any instructions or details to go with the Yogurt Incubator, so I hope it is pretty self-explanatory. What I would have said if I could go back and add some details would be:
The straw can easily be removed and replaced. Simply find the spot on the straw-stuffed pillows where I hand stitched and remove the stitches. The whole thing can be washed if you spill milk or anything else on it very easily. I generally put one of the pillows on the bottom and then tuck the other one on top before tying up the bottom bag around it and then place the top bag over it. When replacing the straw, it is helpful to use some grass, which you can buy at a pet store (often used for rabbit bedding etc) as it is a bit finer than actual straw.
For folks who aren’t so crafty or don’t have the time to make one themselves, I plan to add these to my handmade craft store very soon. Let me know if you are interested.
I included this post in the Hearth and Soul Bloghop.