Saturday, May 31, 2008


I'm a big fan of fermentation. Yeast eat sugar and produce alcohol and carbon dioxide.

Here is a photo of some whole wheat seven grain bread that I made a few weeks ago:

Here is a photo of the 23 or so litres of beer that I made in my kitchen. This photo is of the beer in the glass carboy for secondary fermentation. I bottled the beer a few weeks ago. It's not bad; I'm having some right now.

I've also made yogurt, which is much easier to do than either bread or beer. No photo, though. The way I make yogurt is:


  • Glass mason jar
  • Candy thermometer
  • Small cooler
  • Two sauce pans
  • Small container of commercial yogurt which has Active Bacterial Cultures
  • Milk


  • Slowly bring one mason jar's worth of milk to a boil
  • At the same time, bring a quantity of water up to around 125 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • When the milk just reaches a boil, take it off the heat and let it cool down to around 122 degrees Fahrenheit. For a 950mL mason jar this should take around 25 minutes
  • Put 3 or 4 tablespoons of yogurt into the mason jar
  • When the milk reaches 122 (or so) degrees, pour some of it into the mason jar. Put the lid on the mason jar and shake it. Now put the rest of the milk in and shake the jar again. Be careful not to drop the jar.
  • Put the lid on the mason jar and put the jar into the cooler
  • Pour the heated water into the cooler; enough water to cover the jar.
  • Close the cooler and let it sit for around twelve hours. A few hours longer won't hurt it, though.
  • Take the jar out of the cooler and dump the water out.
  • Open the jar and give the yogurt a stir. Yes, all of the milk has turned into yogurt. It amazes me every time.
  • Put the jar in the fridge. This will set the yogurt and make it a less runny. If you like warm runny yogurt you can skip this step.
I've never gone to any great effort to sanitize the mason jars that I use to make yogurt. I think that 12 hours of fermentation is not long enough for anything bad to develop. Also, the resulting yogurt is generally eaten within a week.

Contrast that with beer brewing. The beer is in primary fermentation for around a week, followed by two weeks of secondary fermentation, followed by three weeks of carbonation/conditioning in bottles. Only then is the beer even marginally ready to be consumed. And those bottles can stay in storage for months. You have to be pretty careful about sanitation when making beer. I use diversol, and I still worry.

My bread recipe is both easy and foolproof. If you follow it, it's totally impossible to avoid making incredible bread. But this rambling post is already too long so I'll leave the bread recipe for another day.

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