Heat and hold

The most difficult part of making the L. Reuteri yoghurt is keeping the milk at 82C for 15 minutes. To make matters worse, some stoves (particularly old-style electric ones) are not easy to control quickly.

Double boiler/steamer set

For many years I have had a couple of double-boiler and steamer sets which I use for virtually all my cooking.

Base,  steamer and double boiler 

The water goes in the base, I steam my vegetables in the steamer – and I slow-cook meals in the in the double boiler.

Easier to control

When I came to make the yoghurt, I found that heating and holding the milk was much easier to control in the double boiler. I heat the water in the base on a high heat until the milk reaches 82C – and then I turn the heat down low to hold the milk at that temperature.

A friend who had decided to try making the yoghurt found she simply couldn’t control the heat of the milk in a normal pan on her old-style electric stove. What could she do, she asked? Rather than invest in a double boiler/steamer set immediately – a Pyrex mixing bowl sat on a pan of hot water works just as well.

The saucepan needs to be about 22cm to 24cm wide.  The bowl is a 3ltr Pyrex mixing bowl

You can buy the bowl here

Bring the water in the pan to the boil on a fairly high heat – then turn the heat down a little so that the water is simmering. Place the bowl on top of the pan and pour in the milk. When the temperature reaches 82C (takes about 15 mins) turn the heat down low to hold the milk at that temperature.

Get on with other things

You’ll need to keep an eye on the thermometer – but eventually you’ll get to know the correct setting on your stove to keep the milk at 82C. I am now able to put the milk in my double boiler, set the heat on high-ish and get on with other things for 15 mins. And I now know which heat setting on my hob will hold the temperature.


Again I can get on with other things for 15 mins – glancing occasionally at the thermometer and adjusting the heat if necessary. It’s a bit like steering a boat – you have to anticipate ahead of time. If the temperature looks like it’s heading in the wrong direction – adjust the heat before it gets there!!!

Heat diffuser

If your stove is really difficult to control the heat – an inexpensive, old-style heat diffuser may solve the problem:-

You can buy it here