Giveaway: Yogotherm from Hobby Hill Farm Fresh

November 23, 2015

yogotherm box - Food in Jars

I’ve been making yogurt at home off and on for years. I started doing it because I was trying to reduce the amount of plastic that was coming into my kitchen and all those quart tubs seemed like a good place to start. I kept doing it because I found that it was easy, immensely satisfying, budget friendly, and produced delicious yogurt. I often suggest homemade yogurt to friends and blog readers who are looking for an easy and satisfying homemade dairy project.

yogotherm canister - Food in Jars

For years now, my favorite method for keeping the yogurt warm during the culturing stage was to use a cooler. However, it was also the cooler that often deterred me from making yogurt. In my apartment, the only space large enough for a cooler is up at the top of my hall closet. To pull it out or put it away again involves a step stool and the momentary relocation of the things living in front of it. Sad to say, but dread of playing tetris with my storage area was often

heating milk - Food in Jars

Thankfully, Sharon from Hobby Hill Farm Fresh came to my rescue, with the suggestion of the Yogotherm. It’s a product she uses in many of her classes, and has been the solution to my previous yogurt making resistance. The design is simple. It’s a food-safe plastic tub, nestled into an insulated canister.

You can either pour your heated and inoculated milk into a jar and set it into the Yogotherm, or you can pour it directly into the tub. The canister keeps the milk at the ideal temperature for the culture to take hold and transform the milk into yogurt.

cooling milk - Food in Jars

I’ve been making one quart at a time in my Yogotherm. I slowly warm four cups of organic whole milk to 180 degrees F. Once the milk reaches that temperature, I either set the pot into a sink full of cold water or (if I’ve used a pot that doesn’t handle radical temperature changes well), I pour the warm milk into a stainless steel bowl and let it cool for a moment or two. I’ve found that brisk whisking while the milk is cooling brings the temperature down quickly. Just make sure to watch the temperature so that it doesn’t cool too much.

inoculated milk - Food in Jars

Once the milk is around 120 degrees F, pull it out of the cold water and whisk in the culture. For my first batch, I used the yogurt culture that Sharon sent along with the Yogotherm. For subsequent batches, I’ve saved a few tablespoons of the yogurt from the previous batch to act as the starter for the next.

culturing yogurt - Food in Jars

Then I give the Yogotherm a quick rinse with boiling water to warm and clean it, nestle my jar into the canister (the container is made of food-safe plastic, I just like the ease of being able to pull the jar right out and pop it in the fridge when the yogurt is done), and pop the lid on. Because I like a tangy yogurt, I let it culture for five to eight hours, but for a less tart version, you can stop the culturing as soon as the milk thickens.

This week, Hobby Hill Farm Fresh is offering a special deal on the Yogotherm. It’s on sale for $46.95 (down from $57.95) and will ship with packets of two different yogurt cultures and a jar of their house brand preserves. Additionally, I have one Yogotherm pack (same as what you’d get if you bought it) to give away this week.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me about your gateway DIY project. Yogurt making? Bread baking? Canning? Or something else?
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, November 28, 2015. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, November 29, 2015.
  3. Giveaway open to United States residents only. Void where prohibited.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.

Disclosure: Sent me the Yogotherm you see here, as well as a few yogurt cultures, for review and photography purposes at no cost to me. No additional compensation was provided. All opinions remain my own. 

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225 thoughts on "Giveaway: Yogotherm from Hobby Hill Farm Fresh"

  • I’ve experimented with making yogurt, kombucha, beer, sauerkraut, etc., but I think that baking bread was really the thing that started to get me thinking about what else I could make at home!

  • I was making dough products (bread, pizza dough, etc) first I think. I currently do yogurt in my crock pot, but this is interesting! Love that we are reclaiming more and more things from the industrialized food sources.

  • I guess my gateway food-related DIY was freezing. Once I figured out prepping and freezing fruits and veggies, I moved on to freezing meals, and then on to canning.

  • Definitely bread baking for me. But now I can a fair bit too and I like freezing pesto and oven roasted tomatoes too. This year I tried sauerkraut for the first time. I’ve made yogurt once or twice, but haven’t found a way to keep the culture warm that I like.

  • Yogurt was my first but now I make my own kefir, kombucha and fermented vegetables, along with kefir soda for my grandson. No canning yet, but I dry a lot of stuff.

  • Definitely canning jam. Learned it in college and never looked back! Related to this post, I have been trying for years to find an insulating yogurt maker! My dad had one very similar to the Yogotherm and we ate homemade yogurt all the time growing up! I hope I win so I can show my boyfriend what “real” yogurt should taste like! πŸ™‚

  • I grew up with my mom making and freezing applesauce. As an adult, I learned canning to add to that bag of tricks. At the same time, dehydrating fruit was introduced to me. I went through a lot of apples, bananas, peaches, and cherries that year.

  • My gateway was making mead. My brother and I found a book that made it sound easy, but it didn’t go so well. More than 20 years later I make mead, cider, beer, wine, jam, pickles and just started kombucha. I have tried yogurt before, but never could keep it warm enough. This looks perfect for my small apartment.

  • My gateway was making jam and canning it using the old inversion method on the box of Sure-jel pectin. I later really learned canning when I had buckets and buckets of cucumbers from my garden and didn’t want to waste them.

  • My first diy was canning homemade blueberry preserves with organic berries we picked at a local farm. I didn’t have room for them all in my freezer, so I tried something new & have been canning ever since! Thanks for the giveaway!

  • I can remember back to around 1st grade that my class took a field trip to pick our own apples (a Western New York tradition) and then made applesauce in a few crockpots brought in a few moms. If I remember correctly, trusting 1st graders to chop apples didn’t go over so well. We regularly visited a local farmers market as a kid. As a young teenager, my older brother would practically force me to make banana bread anytime there were more than a few ripe bananas. Once I got to college, I took a course on food and culture and we read an Omnivore’s Dilemna by Michael Pollan. I had connected food to be an expression of love and comfort, but also accepted the sense of responsibility that comes along with the way food is produced. That led me down the winding road of canning and preserving the goodness that Nature can provide. I’ve made yogurt at home only once, but now with a boyfriend who eats yogurt daily, I think that could be a very good reason to make the switch.

  • I started making applesauce to freeze when I had little children. They’re teens and they still love it. Then I bought a Williams Sonoma bread maker for $5 at my favorite thrift store and that led to 100’s of loaves of bread. I am becoming more and more adept at canning and freezing and am loving the results.

  • Definitely sourdough for me. Lived in Alaska many years ago and my neighbor gave me a special starter that was said to have been kept going for 90 years. Had it for quite a few years but it didn’t survive our move back to the east coast.

  • This looks wonderful! My to-do list is still a lot longer than the DIY projects that I have fully embraced but I think bread/pizza dough also started it for me. I am ashamed to say that I mostly still buy my yogurt (and we eat a lot of it). This is something I really want to change!

  • This year I have started canning… just a wee bit. Enough to build some confidence. Next year I plan on being a jelly/jam and pickle canning fool! We have an Amish produce auction near by and I will be there regularly.

  • My gateway preserving was makin strawberry jam. I canned like 30 pints with a friend on our first get-go. It was quite the introduction.

  • I’ve been canning for a couple of years. This fall I am trying pickling my brussel sprouts which is how I found this website. I also started fermentation and have been making my own sauerkraut and kimchee as well as fermented kohlrabi. I’ve wanted to try yogurt and kombucha but have been too timid. This machine would be great!

  • My husband bought me a smoker and I have been learning to smoke the salmon he catches and turn his venison into jerky.

  • I used to make a lot of bread when my son was growing up. My husband doesn’t eat bread but he does eat a lot of yogurt. I’ve never considered making it before but this sounds so easy. I’d love to try it.

  • Making our own ice cream was a favorite family past-time in the summer. We had such fun buying fruit at farm stands and flavoring the ice cream with whatever was in season.

  • My gateway canning project was making a huge batch of freezer jam in a studio apartment with the smallest fridge ever without thinking through what I was going to do with all of it πŸ™‚

  • My gateway diy project was bread. I’ve gotten away from it somehow….time to work it (and yogurt making) back into my schedule!

  • Bread baking was definitely my gateway DIY project, but I’ve been making yogurt weekly now for months and love it! I, too, use a cooler that is stashed up high and would love to try something else!

  • like many of the others, bread was my gateway diy. the first loaf I made did not rise at all, but I was determined to eat it, so I sliced it up for crackers and kept trying! it was at least 2 more attempts before I baked a loaf anyone else would eat, but now I always remind myself of that experience when attempting something new. if it’s a total failure, just keep trying, and eventually I’ll figure it out!

  • I grew up with Mom and Grandma canning and baking so those were “normal”. It wasn’t until my twins were born prematurely that I started “branching out”. Every calorie had to count so yogurt was my “gateway” into a new level of self-sufficiency.

  • I did bake a bit with my dad when I was younger, but I think what got me into DIY foodstuffs was probably making jam. If we’re talking DIY in general, though, I’ve kind of always done that as a kid, from wanting to make my own Halloween costumes to making my own toys, so I guess it was bound to happen one way or another that I’d start working on DIY food πŸ™‚

  • Canned and froze a lot with my mom for our family of eight. Baked a lot of bread and made jam and pickles when got out on my own. Don’t make bread so much anymore. But I do try to keep up with making yogurt with frugalgirl’s method of using cooler. I don’t have any trouble storing the cooler but it limits my use for its original purpose. I prefer to make it one quart at a time, making it in half pint (straight-sided) jars. I sub the yogurt for sour cream in baking, and prefer it in smoothies.

  • When I was a kid, my parents’ church would have a harvest party instead of a Halloween party. At these harvest parties, they always had a father/daughter baking competition. So, I always entered with my dad. We always wanted to win the award for best looking, but never did. We always won best tasting. Now they I’m older, I appreciate that more than the best looking! πŸ™‚ My parents always made things, so I’m not sure what my gateway DIY was, so this is as good of a guess as any!

  • This looks so easy! I’ve seen how they make yoghurt in India and now I can do it at home. Takes me back to my schooldays πŸ™‚

  • Gateway?

    Well, the first real DIY cooking would have been bread. I use a bread machine now but I’ll be getting back into the artisan soon. I’ve got some new toys to try out.

    Next would be jams and jellies. Went so far as to get myself a copper jam pot and love it. But this summer, with the drought and weird weather, my parents’ yard didn’t produce enough fruit to do anything with.

    I’ve also ventured into cheese. I’ve gone to two workshops at my local organic nursery. I bought a really nice thermometer for my birthday and have sourced some milk.

  • I have made yogurt a couple times. I love to eat it and am fairly certain that I will get into a good healthy habit of homemade yogurt once I have an appliance like the Yogotherm. Thanks!

  • Canning jam was probably my “gateway” DIY project… now I can every season, make bread, granola, mascarpone and ricotta cheese. Yogurt is clearly the next frontier for me to tackle!

  • My gateway recently was Cook’s Illustrated “easy sandwich bread”, which you make in the mixer with the paddle beater, not even the dough hook! Then I tried the NYT easy no-knead rustic bread recipe, and I was hooked! After the madness of Thanksgiving is over, I hope to try another new bread recipe. I’d love to make sourdough but I don’t have a starter πŸ™

  • Cooking was my first DIY, but I’m not sure I recognized it as such at the time. Canning was definitely my first eyes-wide-open DIY project.

  • I am trying to cut down on processed food and trying to make it myself instead. I have made yogurt before but the cooler is always an annoyance. This would be fun to try.

  • My pantry is filled with items that I canned this summer. Many of the recipes came from your book and I enjoy them all. I did try to make yogurt once but it was a total disaster and have purchased at the store since. But I keep telling myself to try it again and I love the joy of making our foods from scratch so I know exactly what ingredients are contained. Thank you

  • I started out cooking because it was my responsibility to feed my dad and brother,and I tolerated it but didn’t enjoy it. On my own, I branched out to more gourmet cooking and baking. Now, I just model those things for my kids –emphasizing eating “in season” and with minimal processing. I have my mom’s yogert maker from the 70s but really fear it’s on its last legs!!

  • I started cooking when I was 12 but I don’t see that as a gateway project. It was more of a “I want cookies and my Mom said I could make them myself” kind of thing.

    My gateway project was gardening. I love growing things which meant I usually grew more than we could eat and so it started. Between my own produce and the gifts from friends who had too much of their own, I started down the preserving road.

  • It all started years ago with an innocent batch of applesauce and the canner I originally bought just to brine a turkey!

  • I started with canning peaches, since they’re my favorite but only available locally for a short time every summer and I’m too addicted to go without for the rest of the year!

  • my gateway diy is actually knitting. Once I learned that, I started looking at other longhand ways to do things and ended up canning. I’ve tried yogurt making once and would love a yogurt maker to try again.

  • Cooking rice was my gateway DIY, way back when I was 11 before rice cookers. Wow – did I burn a lot of pots! too busy playing or not paying attention. I continued to cook, my mom didn’t like to cook and we had miserable dinners, (PM me and I’ll tell you about them, they will make you laugh) and I learned to cook and bake for survival. πŸ™‚
    I am lactose intolerant and have tried many types of yogurts and always end up with a tummy ache. I’ve discovered coconut yogurt and LOVE it and am looking forward to making my own.

  • I’ve been baking bread since I was old enough to use the oven. I even did a science project on the function of kneading the bread, titled (wait for it) “I Need to be Kneaded.” Groan. I was such a dork. However, my adult gateway DIY project was canning jam. I was terrified of canning, and was convinced that I would kill everybody with botulism if I did. My mother-in-law has been canning all her life and helped me calm down my fears. I’ve been canning since πŸ™‚

  • Bread making. The inexpensive loaves from the grocery store turned moldy too quickly. And the more expensive loaves were good, but kept going up in price.
    One day, I read about the Pullman loaf and decided that I wanted to try that kind of bread. No place sold it. Soon, I found a Pullman pan on clearance and bread making quickly became a weekly event.
    Yogurt making soon followed and I’ve been experimenting in the kitchen ever since.

  • From-scratch cake. When we got married, a whole cake from a boxed mix went moldy before we finished eating it–too much cake for 2 people. So I started making half-recipes from scratch & never looked back πŸ™‚

  • My gateway to DIY was my love of vegetables and farm-girl-turned-city-slicker need to dig around in the dirt. I revived an overgrown garden plot in my yard, planted a garden, which naturally led to canning the overabundance. Next year I’m even going to cease my CSA share – I’m happiest when I’m producing it myself!

  • Hmmmm, canning jams and dillybeans with my mom the summer after my dad died is what touched off my diy-ness. It was a good way to bond and Mom talked a lot about her childhood. Now I can with my own daughter (6 yrs old), bake bread, and knit.

  • Actually it was quilting! Then gardening and then I had to do SOMETHING with all that produce and now i’m exploring more home production and yogurt is actually next on my list! This looks like an awesome giveaway – thank you for the chance. Happy Thanksgiving = )

  • I always looked forward to summers making pickles with my Grandmother, Mother, & Sister and that started my interest in canning. My true gateway diy though was cold process soap making. My guest room was filled with hundreds of bars of soap. Since finding your blog my obsession is now canning and I have always wanted to try my hand at yogurt & cheese making.

  • I pretty much always had an interest in cooking but I think real intro my intro into home cooking was when I learned how to can. I started because I was looking for all natural low sodium and low sugar canned products but they were either too expensive or I couldn’t find them in a regular grocery store. I started looking at canning videos and it just took off from there.

  • I recent got into making sourdough bread. So tasty and amazing. It makes a lot of bread and I recently gave away starters.

  • Hmmm…I’ve always not liked very tangy yogurt. So I could make yogurt with this and end up with yogurt with less tang? Yum!

  • I’d been a baker for a long time before I started baking bread. I’ve never been a particularly regular bread baker, just when I’m bored. But just being generally handy in the kitchen is what eventually lead to canning and the occasional cheese making.

  • I used to make a sourdough (in the sense that it was local, wild yeast) potato bread from a starter when I was in high school. It’s still the best bread I’ve ever had, though the one time I tried to recreate my starter, it did not go well. But that, and growing up with a garden and wild game in the freezer, was the start of DIY for me. Food that came exclusively from the grocery store is just never a life I have known!

  • My gateway was raising pigs in 4-H and FFA. We always raised an extra and that really lit the fire to raise and preserve and make my own food as an adult.

  • I was canning and preserving foods from a young age. Have always been interested in making as much of my own food as possible.

  • My gateway to DIY in the kitchen was Little House on the Prairie. I wanted to make “snow ice cream with maple syrup”. I wanted to make biscuits. I wanted to make butter. Not all the time, but at least once to see what it was like. I made butter for myself in a mason jar, just because I was bored one night, and didn’t buy butter for two years. I decided to try making jam. Haven’t bought more than three jars in almost 10 years now. It’s like a sickness! I made ketchup last year just for fun – now I can’t bring myself to buy it anymore. Which sucks when you run out on a sunday afternoon and the buses don’t really get you to the grocery store and back in time to get everything else done, even if you could bring yourself to buy the stuff anyway. Argh! Please enable me further!

  • My gateway may have been sewing. I was quite young when I tried to make clothes for my brothers Weebles. I don’t know if I’m spelling it right. They were these little character toys. Their jingle was “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down”.

  • It has been so enjoyable canning fruits and vegetables this year from my garden, farmers market, and any that was given to me. After all these years Of putting-up food hearing the jar-lid “POP” is still a lot of fun.

  • I love baking bread. Something about the feel of the dough and the smell of the bread baking makes me have so many memories of baking with my grandma! Would love to try yogurt making!! I buy so much of it.

  • I don’t know as there was a gateway project for me as a person. My grandmother was an RN and into vitamins and reading Adelle Davis and Prevention magazine. She was my most favorite person to be around and in college, I started reading what she had. She taught me how to can tomatoes, sauce, make and can pickles etc. the summer I graduated from college. I’m a grandmother now myself and hope to instill healthy habits in my grands.

  • I grew up on a farm so I don’t think there was a “gateway” project, it was called eating. Going out to the garden and getting what we needed was normal. My mama canned or froze everything so we ate well all year. I did start making my bread to add to other things we already did. I love knowing what is in our food and serving my family good food.

  • I have mastered bread baking -I can smell the crusty bread come out of the oven- but yogurt is a bit of a hit and miss. Haven’t tried it in a while, but are ready to take on the challenge to perfect my yogurt making skills. Never a dull moment in my kitchen.

  • I’ve been making bread for years, but recently started fermenting vegetables. As I eat yogurt daily, I’ve been thinking about making yogurt, but was unsure where to start. Think I just might have found what I need. Thanks!

  • I think I born into the gateway – My mom, who is 85 today (!) had the first organic garden in town – she canned her own tomatoes and tomato juice, pickled in crocks, attempted wine from the grapes on the arbor. She learned to sew in elementary school and made most of our clothes – coats and dresses, She grew up in the depression so when she rehabbed the kitchen she took old barn boards from under the stucco on the house, stripped them and made cabinet fronts that still work today – 45 years later. I never knew anything other than doing everything yourself – so that’s how I am and I have always envied my sister’s yogurt maker.

  • My best DIY is anything my granddoll Koo helps me with and eats. She’s 3 and is just discovering how to help. She loves strawberry yogurt btw

  • Memory Keeping & Scrapbooking started me into a world of preserving things. Canning was just a natural progression!! πŸ™‚

  • Back in the 70s, yogurt was just starting to come into the mainstream. My mother, who I never thought of being a risk-taker, purchased a Salton yogurt maker and started to make yogurt. I don’t know if she ever ate it, given she was sensitive to milk products. However, she tried to encourage her children to eat it. At the time, the only way we would eat it was sprinkled with uncooked Jello powder. It made it sweet and colorful! I still have the yogurt maker.