I bought my Gourmia sous vide device a couple of years ago as an easy way to make our “yogurts.” (They’re not really yogurts, as we are not using the standard yogurt fermenting microbes, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Streptococcus thermophilus, that FDA regulations specify must be used to call something “yogurt.” We also do not subscribe to the commercial idea of allowing a single microbial doubling, i.e., one microbe becomes two, two becomes four, etc., but we allow 12 doublings that requires around 36 hours. This is why we get bacterial counts of around 260 billion per 1/2 cup serving—far higher than the trivial numbers obtained through commercial yogurt or even homemade yogurt made the traditional way. We nonetheless call it yogurt because it looks and tastes like yogurt but packs a wallop of benefits, depending on which species and strains you choose to ferment.)
I paid $79 for the device at Bed, Bath, and Beyond using one of those coupons that gave me $10 off the regular price of $89. I’d read online reviews that the internal lining tended to show rust over time, but I went ahead and bought anyway. This was the device I used to make numerous batches of L. reuteri yogurt, L. casei Shirota yogurt, and many others that yield specific health benefits and it got the job done. After about 100 batches, I did indeed see rust in the interior lining, but it had no effect on my yogurt making. I posted my ideas on this Wheat Belly Blog, given many of the exciting effects I was seeing (and experiencing) such as smoother skin, restoration of youthful muscle, deeper sleep, and diminished appetite. This prompted a run on the Gourmia devices and the price was promptly increased to $449. My staff called the company and was essentially told to bug off—they were rude and unhelpful.
I tell you all this because I tried making a batch this past week, a new strain of L. reuteri I obtained from a commercial probiotic manufacturer. I set my usual settings: 100 degrees F for 36 hours. (I’m certain I set the right temp and time, as I always double- or triple-check my settings.) I then proceeded to go outside, as it was a beautiful late spring day and I had some grass planting to do. I returned a couple of hours later and smelled smoke in the house. I checked the Gourmia device and the temperature read 208 degrees F—the yogurt was baked brown and the device too hot to touch. There was no yogurt, of course, but essentially baked half-and-half. No microbes would survive this. I tried a couple of more times, again setting the temperature to 100 degrees F and both times watched the device change the temperature on its own to 150 degrees, then 170 degrees.
I’m grateful I saw this happen without starting a fire and burning my house down. But anyone with a Gourmia sous vide device should be extra vigilant. If the device is working well, consider purchasing a digital thermometer with an audible alarm when a certain temperature is reached or exceeded. I would report this to the company but, given my awful experience with them, I don’t think it’s worth the aggravation.
I’m going to get a MV Power yogurt maker to replace the sous vide device. You can find it among the devices I advocate in the Wheat Belly Marketplace. (And, yes, I’ve asked my tech support to remove the Gourmia device.)