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Make Volume 25 Arduino-Controlled Yogurt

MAKE Volume 25 contributing writer Chris Reilly loves yogurt but is impatient. He writes, “My impatience often leads me to botch important steps when I make yogurt. So to get better control over the fermentation process, I made a crockpot thermostat attachment to precisely control the temperature.” Enter the Arduino microcontroller. From the introduction:

You can buy electric yogurt makers, but most of them only incubate; the heating/sterilization step still has to be done on the stovetop. I wanted to experiment with Arduino microcontroller programming and electronic circuit design in Fritzing (an open source circuit layout tool that lets users document and share designs), so why not combine them into something I enjoy doing?

With my old-school yogurt recipe (adapted from wikihow.com/Make-Yogurt), I’d use a stovetop and a candy thermometer to heat the milk to 185°F and cool it to 110°F, then use a warm oven or radiator to ferment it at 100°F. That takes a lot of attention, and more containers than I care to wash later. Even with a commercial yogurt maker, I’d probably have to heat the milk myself, and that’s the step I’m most likely to botch.

Don’t get me wrong — it’s a great recipe as long as you’re diligent. But the combination of boring, time-consuming, temperature-sensitive steps puts my diligence to the test; that’s why the automation of an Arduino-controlled crockpot yogurt maker makes perfect sense to me.

Time to geek out on your fermentation process, and you can get started right away building your own Yobot by checking out the entire project on Make: Projects. If Arduino sparks your interest, MAKE Volume 25 features a ton more Arduino projects, from getting you started picking out the right microcontroller to making your own Arduino.

Make Volume 25 Arduino-Controlled Yogurt Maker Yogurt

Check out MAKE Volume 25:
MakeV25_cover_300x425.jpg
MAKE Volume 25: Arduino Revolution
Give your gadgets a brain! Previously out of reach for the do-it-yourselfer, the tiny computers called microcontrollers are now so cheap and easy to use that anyone can make their stuff smart. With a microcontroller, your gadget can sense the environment, talk to the internet or other hardware, and make things happen in the real world by controlling motors, lights, or any electronic device.

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Goli Mohammadi

I’m senior editor at MAKE and have worked on MAKE magazine since the first issue. I’m a word nerd who particularly loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon as a whole. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for the ideal alpine lake or hunting for snow to feed my inner snowboard addict.

The maker movement provides me with endless inspiration, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. The specific beat I cover is art, and I’m a huge proponent of STEAM (as opposed to STEM). After all, the first thing most of us ever made was art.

Contact me at goli (at) makermedia (dot) com.


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Comments

  1. Great project, homemade yogurt is the best. This could be a good arduino project for me. Now to get that Make magazine back off my kids.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Agreed. I used to live in a hippie commune in my youth and when the yogurt was good — made from our own cows’ milk, man was it amazing. When the cows got into the onion grass? Not so much.

  2. Mikey Sklar says:

    Yum…Great howto. After watching my friends complain for years about not being able to get delicious thick home made yogurt I gave it a try. The automated temperature control makes it fool proof. On my setup I just use a chest cooler + light bulb + temp controller. I simply set the temperature controller to 110F and hold it for 8-12 hours. I don’t do any pasteurization (call me crazy) and I use raw milk. Tzatziki and smoothies are my favorite dishes to make.

    I use the same crockpot + temperature controller you have for sous vide cooking.

    http://screwdecaf.cx/yatc.html

    1. Cesar Marron says:

      Raw milk rocks. I am glad to see people like you, not afraid of real foods.

    2. Marc says:

      That is awesome!
      I am in need of a temp controller for making SCD Yogurt, and came accross this post.
      Thanks so much! I just need the temp controller to keep my yogurt maker from getting too hot, so I think the standard one that you linked to will work just fine!
      I was excited about having an Arduino project, but the soldering and assembly of he regular temp controller will be enough for me.

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