As an undergrad in mechanical engineering from ’05 to ’09 I started experiencing some digestive issues. After experimenting with my diet, I noticed that I seemed to feel better going off lactose. This was kind of depressing because dairy is delicious. Doing some poking around on the internet I came across the SCD diet created by Elaine Gottschall. This diet has a recipe for lactose-free yogurt in which the yogurt is fermented long enough to break down essentially all the lactose. Discovering that I handled the yogurt quite well, it’s been a part of my diet ever since.
After making a lot of yogurt and getting the tartness, texture, and thickness to my liking, I decided to sell the stuff. Because commercial yogurt makers are ridiculously expensive, I used my engineering background to make one.
Based on electric beer brewing equipment, the tank heater plugs into the back of the box. This box switches power on/off to maintain the desired temperature. (If you want to be nerdy and ask more specifics about how it works then hit me up!).
After some tinkering to get the machine working properly and acquiring several food handling licenses, we started selling at local farmer markets. Although a nice following was created after a few years, we decided to no longer sell yogurt because of time constraints. However, a lot was learned about the yogurt-making process during this time. This knowledge is used to create Yogurt Starter Cultures, a site aimed at empowering folks to created their own yogurt.