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FlyingChopstik

Making homemade yogurt with clay pots--has anyone done this?

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hello everyone,

 

I usually make homemade yogurt quite often by bringing milk to about 180-200 degrees and then allowing it to cool until its about 110-112 degrees before adding a few tablespoons of yogurt. I then stir gently and transfer everything to glass jars or pyrex, cover it with towels and leave it in the oven with the pilot light turned on for 8 hours. The yogurt always comes out delicious and sometimes I strain it for the Greek/Turkish yogurt consistency.

 

My question is have any of you used clay pots to ferment your yogurt in? I have a chamba casserole pot that would make a good candidate but I just want to be sure it's ok to leave liquid in it for such a long period of time.

 

 

 

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I think that the porous nature of clay would make it not really the best material for making yogurt--I'd stick to glass or pyrex--although I just looked at chamba casseroles online and the exterior did look hard and shiny--is the interior the same? I'm still leaning towards glass and pyrex, though, even if it is smooth and shiny.

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Yes the interior is the same as the outside for la chamba. I was curious because i've heard of people using clay in older cultures. Hmmmmm....

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Online it says the pots are made of unglazed micaceous clay and 'It is still made in the traditional manner, by families in the village of La Chamba, on the banks of the Magdalena River in Central Colombia. Each piece is hand-crafted using local clays, burnished by hand and fired on-site.'

 

Micaceous clay is good for resisting thermal shock but this is unglazed.  Burnishing makes the clay look quite shiny because it lines up the flat clay particles along the surface.  This provides a little water resistance but is by no means like a glaze. The traditional firing technique means the clay will be porous.  Bottom line - these pots have the potential to harbour bacteria and food residue in the clay.  How big a potential is hard to say.  But yogurt is made at temperatures in a risky temperature zone in my opinion.  I'm sure similar pots have been used for this for hundreds of years but we can do better.  I just don't see any advantage in pursuing this.


It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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Online it says the pots are made of unglazed micaceous clay and 'It is still made in the traditional manner, by families in the village of La Chamba, on the banks of the Magdalena River in Central Colombia. Each piece is hand-crafted using local clays, burnished by hand and fired on-site.'

 

Micaceous clay is good for resisting thermal shock but this is unglazed.  Burnishing makes the clay look quite shiny because it lines up the flat clay particles along the surface.  This provides a little water resistance but is by no means like a glaze. The traditional firing technique means the clay will be porous.  Bottom line - these pots have the potential to harbour bacteria and food residue in the clay.  How big a potential is hard to say.  But yogurt is made at temperatures in a risky temperature zone in my opinion.  I'm sure similar pots have been used for this for hundreds of years but we can do better.  I just don't see any advantage in pursuing this.

I was asking because ive been following a thread on clay pot cooking and a couple of cookbooks where many people mentioned that food tastes better when prepared in clay whether cooked or otherwise. Ive also read of other peoples experience making yogurt in clay but they never specified whether the clay was glazed or not. If porous clay would harbor bad bacteria, than i dont wish to risk it.

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The Chamba pots are porous.  If you fill one with water and allow it to set on an absorbent mat for several hours or overnight, you will find the mat is damp.

This was an advantage for people who wanted cool water because the evaporation cooled the liquid inside.

 

I have a couple of Chamba pots (and a comal) but I would not trust them with my yogurt because it is always possible to pick up a pathogen and once it is in the clay, it is very difficult to eradicate.

I didn't observe this with yogurt but with one of my sourdough cultures that was just fine in a glass jar but when I divided it and put some into one of the Chamba pots it developed the "pink slime of death..." disaster for sourdoughs. 


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Micaceous clay is good for resisting thermal shock but this is unglazed. Burnishing makes the clay look quite shiny because it lines up the flat clay particles along the surface. This provides a little water resistance but is by no means like a glaze. The traditional firing technique means the clay will be porous. Bottom line - these pots have the potential to harbour bacteria and food residue in the clay. How big a potential is hard to say. But yogurt is made at temperatures in a risky temperature zone in my opinion. I'm sure similar pots have been used for this for hundreds of years but we can do better. I just don't see any advantage in pursuing this.

I know little about making yogurt, but this thread reminds me a lot of the chapter on cheese in Michael Pollan's book "Cooked." IIRC, the nun making the cheese did it the old way in an unwashed, slimy cheese making device (CMD for short, I don't know much about making cheese either). The bacteria and slime in the unwashed CMD actually helped the cheese develop good bacteria instead of bad. An inspector wanted her to change to stainless steel and wash it between uses. The nun proved her point by purposely infecting her unwashed CMD with bad bacteria (e coli? I don't remember) as well as a batch in stainless steel. There was no trace of the bad bacteria in the old world CMD, but there was in the stainless steel. I recommend this book highly, particularly for this chapter.

Obviously, we have lost a lot of knowledge of how to do things safely in old world ways. It might be worth revisiting them. Maybe the old way of making yogurt was similar, with the leftover residue protecting the next batch from contamination.


Edited by Ttogull (log)
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The Chamba pots are porous.  If you fill one with water and allow it to set on an absorbent mat for several hours or overnight, you will find the mat is damp.

This was an advantage for people who wanted cool water because the evaporation cooled the liquid inside.

 

I have a couple of Chamba pots (and a comal) but I would not trust them with my yogurt because it is always possible to pick up a pathogen and once it is in the clay, it is very difficult to eradicate.

I didn't observe this with yogurt but with one of my sourdough cultures that was just fine in a glass jar but when I divided it and put some into one of the Chamba pots it developed the "pink slime of death..." disaster for sourdoughs.

Yikes! This is good to know even for regular dishes. So perhaps liquid foods shouldnt sit in la chamba for longer than 4 hrs?

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I know little about making yogurt, but this thread reminds me a lot of the chapter on cheese in Michael Pollan's book "Cooked." IIRC, the nun making the cheese did it the old way in an unwashed, slimy cheese making device (CMD for short, I don't know much about making cheese either). The bacteria and slime in the unwashed CMD actually helped the cheese develop good bacteria instead of bad. An inspector wanted her to change to stainless steel and wash it between uses. The nun proved her point by purposely infecting her unwashed CMD with bad bacteria (e coli? I don't remember) as well as a batch in stainless steel. There was no trace of the bad bacteria in the old world CMD, but there was in the stainless steel. I recommend this book highly, particularly for this chapter.

Obviously, we have lost a lot of knowledge of how to do things safely in old world ways. It might be worth revisiting them. Maybe the old way of making yogurt was similar, with the leftover residue protecting the next batch from contamination.

This is interesting! Ill have to check it out!

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