UPDATE May 25, 2016: Eventually the copper wire on this device broke. I think a more durable version of this gadget might be this one. And the gasket on the Scandinavian fridge, sadly, proved un-repairable due to the design of the door.
A friend of mine gave me a chest freezer recently and I augmented it with a handy gizmo, a Johnson temperature controller. The temperature controller allows me to run the freezer at any temperature between 30 and 80ºF. It works by cycling on and off the power to the freezer as needed. You just stick the copper probe in the freezer and adjust the dial to the desired temperature. So far I’ve thought of the following uses:
- Proof bread overnight at 54ºF. I used to proof my dough in my refrigerator, but the chest freezer, running at this higher temperature thanks to the temperature controller, results in a more active proofing.
- Make lagers (which ferment at low temperatures).
- Make ales in hot weather. The house gets too hot to make beer in the summertime. Now I can make a batch or two without having to worry about the weather.
- Use the chest freezer as a backup when I need to repair the gasket on our Scandinavian refrigerator YET AGAIN!
Not wanting to be a profligate energy user I only use the chest freezer periodically.
Now if only I could lower the temperature of the whole house which, thanks to the first heatwave of the summer, is now warm enough to make yogurt!