Making Icelandic yogurt, aka skyr at home for the first time
March 23, 2020 4:19 PM   Subscribe

My question is about incubating my skyr.

I used this recipe. Everything went fine up until the end, when I put the skyr in the recommended "warm, draft-free place" which happens to be on the floor next to a heating vent, but isn't really all that warm. That was about an hour ago. I then discovered that other people were making yogurt by keeping it in their oven at 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Mine only goes to 170. The recipe recommends putting it in the oven with the light on but I didn't want to burn out my light. It's supposed to be in for 12 hours. Should I go ahead and put it in with the light on anyway? Will the light burn out? Has being in front of a heating vent for an hour damaged it? I don't want to give myself and my family food poisoning!
posted by Beethoven's Sith to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I can't speak to skyr but when my mom makes yogurt she just puts it in the oven without the heat on. It's draft free and does a good job of keeping the warmth in place.

Also, depending on your oven you may have a proofing setting which goes to lower temperatures.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 4:26 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]

You can keep it in a cooler, wrapped in a towel to provide more insulation. If you want it to be warmer than its own heat, you can add a microwaved rice sock or oven warmed brick or tile to the bottom of the cooler.
posted by carrioncomfort at 4:39 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]

I use a jar with hot water in the cooler alongside the (regular) yogurt.
posted by Botanizer at 5:04 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]

Keeping it warm in the oven may not work if your oven does not have a pilot light.

Not sure if this will be an option for you, but when I used to make (regular) yogurt, I just used to pour into a pre glass thermos (rinse with warm water first to avoid immediate temperature drop) and let is sit in there till it was done. Works beautifully. I don't think a steel thermos would work as well, but it would still hold the temperature for quite a while in a warmish place.
posted by Dorothea Ladislaw at 5:44 PM on March 23

For regular yogurt, I pour hot water into a small cooler and submerge the yogurt in the hot-water bath overnight. I always cover the cooler with towels for extra insulation, but that's probably overkill.
posted by toastedcheese at 6:18 PM on March 23

Similar to Botanizer's suggestion, I used to just put my proto-yogurt in one jar, fill another jar or two with hot water, and then wrap them all up together in a towel.
posted by egregious theorem at 6:33 PM on March 23

Will the light burn out?

Cycling a light bulb on and off produces way more stress on the filament than leaving it in either state. If you are comfortable flipping it on generally to check on stuff for a sec, leaving it on for longer is not much of a decrease in the bulb's lifespan.
posted by solotoro at 7:52 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]

I don’t suppose you’ve got an Instant Pot with the yogurt setting? The thing is a secret weapon just for the ability to incubate yogurt at the right temperature.

Otherwise, maybe use a cooler with some hot water bottles/containers?
posted by snowmentality at 9:36 PM on March 23

When I was making SCD yogurt and it needed to sit for 24 plus hours, I put it in my oven with a pan of steamy/boiling water. Oven thermometer said the temp was about 100-110ish? If it looked like it was dipping toward the lower end of temp, I’d change the water in the pan.i didn’t check too often, maybe every six hours during the day and not at all at night. It always turned out, but I can’t guarantee this is the safe way or anything—I was following some combination of recipes from an online SCD discussion board. When I make regular yogurt now, I usually do it in the crock pot, wrap the whole thing in two thick towels, and leave it overnight on the counter. Your question makes me want to change what I’m doing, though!
posted by pepper bird at 9:55 AM on March 24

Note: forgot to specify my oven was OFF, the ambient 100-110 temp was created by the steam only. In case that wasn’t obvious!
posted by pepper bird at 9:57 AM on March 24

Some fancy new ovens have a "proof" setting which is perfect for yogurt. Otherwise (in my experience, YMMV) you can heat the oven up to about 200, turn it off, put the yogurt in and leave it overnight. Otherwise what everyone else said.
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 11:42 AM on March 24

I went through a patch about 6 years ago where I was making skyr a few times a month, working off a continuous culture.

I used to keep the pot on top of the stove, swaddled in cloth like pepper bird recommends. Keeping it warm just reduces the amount of time that the enzymes need to work. Any temp above about 30 degC will work well, just add an hour or two to the incubation time if you're on the low end of the temperature range.
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 2:10 PM on March 24

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