Cheese - Fine temperature control - double boiler

In my efforts to gain 120 new skills over the next 20 years, I have been so incredibly impressed, and utterly amazed at the generosity of everyone out there in internet land. It's as if all the world wants to do, is to help me on my quest to learn stuff.

Thanks internet.

Thanks all the world.

With some topics, I feel I've been able to contribute in some way to the body of knowledge. But in some, it's as if everything has been tried and tested, and then tried and tested again. It's as if the topic is sorted. Windmills spring to mind. No doubt there is still a lot to be done with windmills, but I suspect NASA might have more to do with it than someone like me.

I guess the age of the topic at hand has something to do with this. Aquaponics is probably always going to be easier to contribute to, than say, something like cheese making....

Cue dramatic music ........

I have something for cheese making.

There is this thing in the cooking world called a double boiler, and it's usefulness stems from the fact that water doesn't get hotter than 100c (boiling water) no matter what you do to it.

If you try to heat water hotter than it's boiling point, it cools itself by turning to steam and laughs right in your face.

"Ha ha!" It laughs.

What this means is you can stick a bowl over a pot of boiling or simmering water, and be sure you wont get temperatures any more extreme than 100c. In reality you are more likely to see temperatures in your bowl in the high 60c's.

But there are a few things you can do to get even more control.

And as usual if this isn't an original idea, I apologise, but as far as I know blah blah blah disclaimer etc etc etc ...

But it turns out, if you are trying to invent something completely unrelated, and take out everything from your kitchen cupboards, and spread it all out over the floor (again), sometimes you get some ideas. Some of them can even be good.

These ideas may not solve the problem you were hoping to solve, but may still be useful.

Cue dramatic music again........

Use a rice cooker. 

If you dont have one and you like to cook rice and are lucky enough to live the developed world, a rice cooker is a really good thing to have. 

It cooks rice.

Really well.

You should get one.

One of the cool things about a rice cooker is that it will cook your rice to perfection, then switch over to a "keep" mode, where it keeps it at a temperature hot enough to serve, but not so hot that it dries out. It can keep it at this nice temperature for 5 hours or something. Very convenient, as far as not needing to have good timing when feeding people.


Even more handy if you want to control temperatures for making cheese or something.

The first thing you can do is put some water in a rice cooker, and set it on "keep", instead of cook. This will get you a device that holds a temperature of around 46c. Perhaps suitable for melting chocolate or something. I don't know. But it could be handy. After all I have another 110 or so things to learn, so I'm sure 46c will be something I need one day down the track. Yoghurt? mmm yogurt. What temperature do you need for yoghurt...   Stop distracting me yoghurt.

The next thing you can try is placing a bowl of something on top of the rice cooker on "keep". This will get you 43c or there abouts.

High temperature rice cooker double boiler
But then, and this is the bit I'm most proud of, you can add three tapered chopsticks in such a way as to make it so the bowl rests on them rather than the rim of the rice cooker. Just jam them in between the bowl and the rice cooker rim, one at a time, but spread out evenly around the bowl.

Low temperature rice cooker double boiler
You can then slide the chopstick in or out to adjust the gap between the rice cooker, and the bowl you are trying to gently heat. This allows for pretty much any temperature you desire. All you need is a thick enough chopstick for the gap/temperature you require and you get total control.

The bigger the gap, the cooler the bowl of stuff. Just force whatever you can find in there that gives you the correct gap, and thus the correct temperature.

You can also play around with the water depth.

If you don't have chopsticks, you can use the ones you buy tomorrow!


  1. Isn't 43C the ideal temperature for growing bacteria (5-60, from memory)?

    Remind me not to eat rice at your place!!


  2. Cheese without bacteria is hard milk :)

    I know.

    I've made some.

    30c is probably better than 43 but that's where the chopsticks come into play.

  3. Awesome idea thanks!


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