Bulgarian Yogurt Starter

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$12.99

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Bulgarian Yogurt Starter

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Our Bulgarian starter culture makes a rich and creamy homemade yogurt. The Bulgarian variety of yogurt is perhaps the most popular variety of yogurt in the world. It is easy to make and the culture perpetuates from one batch to the next making it an economical variety to use for homemade yogurt. It is best made with whole milk and will be even more decadent if made with one part cream to three parts whole milk. Low-fat milk can be used but will result in a thinner consistency. If you are looking to replicate the taste of commercial yogurt at home, this is an excellent yogurt starter. If you are looking for something a little tangier in flavor, try our Greek yogurt starter.

Click here to compare our different yogurt varieties

Our Bulgarian yogurt starter culture contains live active bacteria. One packet of yogurt culture can be used to make unlimited amounts of homemade yogurt as it can be serial cultured by reserving a small amount of yogurt from the current batch to inoculate the next batch of yogurt. No need to continually buy yogurt starter! With care, this yogurt culture can be used to make homemade yogurt indefinitely. Making yogurt at home is an economical option that generally saves about 50% over buying yogurt at the grocery store.


How to Make Bulgarian Yogurt: Our Bulgarian starter culture is a thermophilic yogurt culture and cultures with the aid of a yogurt maker or similar heat source. (Click here for alternatives to a yogurt-making appliance.) Our Bulgarian starter culture can be serial cultured by reserving a small amount of yogurt from the current batch to inoculate the next batch. With care, our Bulgarian culture can be used to make homemade yogurt indefinitely.

This yogurt starter can be used with goat milk although due to the lower fat content of goat milk, the resulting yogurt may be significantly less thick than yogurt made with whole cow milk.

Customers wishing to use raw milk to make homemade yogurt will need to take additional steps to ensure a pure starter is maintained. Additional instructions for making raw milk yogurt may be found here.

Full instructions for making yogurt using our Bulgarian starter culture can be found here and will be shipped with your order.  

Using alternative milks: Bulgarian Yogurt starter may be used with alternative milks (soy, coconut, etc.) but is unlikely to reculture beyond the first few generations. Therefore we strongly recommend keeping a backup dairy-based culture on hand for making yogurt with alternative milks. Bulgarian yogurt starter can be used with goat milk although due to the nature of goat milk, the resulting yogurt may be significantly less thick than yogurt made with whole cow milk. We do not recommend using UHT (ultra-pasteurized) milk when working with any starter culture.

Ingredients: Organic milk, live active bacteria (L. Bulgaricus, S. Thermophilus).

Produced or packaged in a facility that also manufactures products made with wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, nuts, and fish.

Due to recent changes in manufacturing processes, the weight of the item that appears in the photo may differ from the actual weight of the item received.

Shipping Information: Our Bulgarian starter culture is shipped in a barrier-sealed packet as a freeze-dried yogurt culture in a dairy carrier. Please keep it in a cool dry place until you are ready to make your first batch of homemade yogurt. We ship enough yogurt culture to make two batches of yogurt. We recommend that you reserve the second packet of yogurt starter in the refrigerator or freezer to use as a backup.    

Detailed culturing instructions will be included with your order and can be found here.

Questions on Bulgarian Yogurt Starter

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  • From RobertH at 3/28/14 10:03 PM
    • Can you freeze a portion of the Bulgarian yogurt and use it as a starter at a later date? Thanks.
    • A small amount of yogurt can be frozen for up to a few weeks. Because the bacteria will degrade over time, we recommend freezing 3 to 4 times the amount you will require to make a new batch and limiting freezing to no more than a few weeks.
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  • From V at 10/31/13 10:10 PM
    • Can the activation of a Bulgarian starter take longer than 12 hours? What is the maximum number of hours recommended to incubate the starter culture?
    • 12 hours is the maximum time to allow your starter batch to culture. Longer culturing times can damage the bacteria.
      Occasionally we see a starter batch not set. If the yogurt is still runny after 12 hours, but smells pleasant, allow it to cool for 2 hours and then refrigerate for at least 6 hours. Use this yogurt to start your second batch according to the package instructions. This batch should set beautifully.
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  • From Zach at 10/14/13 3:51 PM
    • Am I able to make this yogurt in the oven just by having the oven light on and the oven door closed? Or do I need to set a temperature on the oven. Thanks!
    • If your oven with the light on is able to maintain 110ºF or if you have a setting that goes as low as 110ºF on your oven, you can certainly use that. We recommend confirming temperature whenever culturing. You can do that by placing a jar of 110ºF water for the normal culturing period to see if it holds the correct temperature.
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  • From Alisha at 5/15/13 11:27 AM
    • Do you only use the starter mix to make more yogurt or can you eat it to? Also can you freeze the starter to use later?
    • You use the starter culture to make your "mother" yogurt...you will reserve part of her in order to make a new mother within 7 days (so you can have ongoing yogurt making capabilities without having to continually buy a new culture) and the rest to make your yogurt you'll consume in the upcoming week. As long as you have saved a portion of the "mother" to make your new "mother", the rest can certainly be consumed.

      Freezing the starter can be done for 3-4 weeks, but the viability will be about 70%. The sooner you use the starter, the better. The longer it sits in the freezer the less likely you will be able to self-perpetuate it.
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  • From ASH at 4/28/13 11:55 PM
    • I'd like to know how long I can keep the mother batch in the fridge.
    • The mother culture will remain viable for reculturing in the refrigerator for up to one week. It should be edible for approximately a month.
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  • From Penelope at 4/24/13 8:16 PM
    • Contemplating whether to make my own yogourt, but I am a little confused about one detail: how long can I keep part of the "mother batch" to continue making more yogourt? Will it spoil after 3 weeks, therefore requiring me start from scratch (a new starter kit)?

      Thank you kindly!
    • The mother batch is viable for culturing for about 7 days. So you need to make a new mother batch once a week. You don't need to buy more culture, you can keep reculturing what you have.
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  • From Kathy at 1/21/13 12:22 AM
    • Two questions:
      1. Following up on Sean's question regarding Bulgarian vs Greek cultures that contain the same bacteria in different ratios....If, for example, I order Bulgarian starter and perpetuate the culture, couldn't the ratio of bacterial strains in my mother culture drift over time? (The answer posted seemed to pertain to operations in your facility, not what might happen at home.)
      2. Why can't direct-set starters be perpetuated? As far as I know, bacteria will replicate indefinitely as long as the health of the culture is maintained, and proper growth media is supplied (which one is doing, presumably). So what goes wrong? Do some bacterial strains in the mixture outcompete others?
    • It is possible that the bacteria in your yogurt will change, depending on what is in the air in your home or what you have culturing nearby. However, as long as you take care when culturing, re-culture within 7 days, and keep different yogurt varieties and other fermenting foods separate, your yogurt bacteria should remain true.

      Direct-set starters contain different bacteria strains from reusable heirloom starters. The bacteria in each determine the yogurt's characteristics and whether it will re-culture indefinitely or not.
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  • From Christine at 12/14/12 1:04 PM
    • Can I freeze some of the yogurt to use as a future starter? My family is not going through it fast enough right now and I am afraid the yogurt will go bad before I make a new batch.
    • You can freeze the pure mother starter, but it will only stay viable for about 2-3 weeks.
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  • From Spencer at 9/2/12 4:10 PM
    • My Bulgarian Yogurt Starter hasn't been refrigerated for several weeks. Think the cultures have a chance? They've been sitting at room temperature for over a month (oops).
    • The Bulgarian Yogurt Starter will normally only last 3 to 4 weeks at room temperature. If it has been in a fairly cool place, go ahead and give it a try.
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  • From Cathy at 8/13/12 4:27 PM
    • How many "packets" of yogurt starter are in one box?
    • Each box contains 2 packets of yogurt starter. Reserve the second packet until you are certain your first batch of yogurt has set properly. Keep the second packet of culture in the freezer to be used as a back-up in case your original culture needs to be replaced or if you wish to take an extended break from yogurt making.

      One packet of yogurt culture can be used to make unlimited amounts of homemade yogurt as it can be serial cultured by reserving a small amount of yogurt from the current batch to inoculate the next batch of homemade yogurt. With care, this yogurt culture can be used to make homemade yogurt indefinitely.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No

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Customer Reviews

Delicious! Review by abigalva
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I purchased the heirloom Bulgarian started about a month ago. So far, I have made about five batches of yogurt at home using an Euro Cuisine yogurt maker. A couple of times I have drained the whey, and a couple more I have left the yogurt as is, and every time I have obtained a delicious product that I can eat without any added sweeteners, mix with honey and cereal or with fruit compotes. By far, the creamiest, best tasting yogurt that I have had in a very long time. A great value to boot; I have only used half of the contents of the box (one envelope), which equates about the price of one quart of store bought, with much better quality. Very happy with my purchase! (Posted on April 15, 2014)
Various versions of the instructions are confusing Review by I'll Buy Yogurt
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I found the detailed instructions on the website for making a mother culture with thermophilic starter and pasteurized milk. Why wouldn't I think those instructions are just fine? But apparently they are not the same as the paper instructions that come in the box! I didn't keep a big piece of paper around my kitchen since I knew the instructions were online so neither packet of starter worked for me which was very aggravating after having done several practice batches. The customer service rep just kept telling me I should have used the paper instructions until it was clear she thought I was pretty dumb so never mind, I'll just buy yogurt. The passing interest has passed. $12.99 is a lot for two tiny packets anyway.

Response from CFH: We are constantly working to improve the information presented on our website, and to make it more consistent with the instructions included with the cultures. We are always happy to help with any discrepancies in our information and welcome feedback from customers. (Posted on April 6, 2014)
Favorite Yogurt! Review by Tracy
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I love this strain, it is also my family's favorite. It has been easy to keep the cultures going as well. I am letting this set for 8 hours though, I don't find that it's ready after 5. I'm also using the Yogotherm Yogurt Incubator. (Posted on April 3, 2014)
delicious Review by cj
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creamy smooth and delicious. easy with great customer support with the few questions I had. certainly better than any store bought yogurt. (Posted on March 25, 2014)
Pretty good so far Review by Karla
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I've made homemade yogurt before using all kinds of methods - yogurt maker, crock pot, oven. I stopped after a few failed batches and just went back to storebought. When I found these heirloom cultures I was intrigued. Not sure what variety to try, I hemmed and hawed over the Greek vs Bulgarian and finally went with the latter.

I was surprised how *little* starter culture was in the packet. A few of the grains escaped the packet and I was afraid I wouldn't have enough! I tried incubating the initial starter in the oven but it didn't work. Not wanting to break into my second packet of culture I immediately put the mixture into my yogurt maker (with little jars). It worked!

I've since made the yogurt a few times, using a gallon of whole milk to make 2qts a week. I've found subsequent batches to be a bit runny, kind of separated, so that bothers me a bit. There seems to be quite a few variables that can be off (temperature, time, amount of starter, etc.) and I'm not sure if I should do something differently.

I'm not a fan of plain yogurt but my kids love it, so that's a plus. I prefer to strain it in a coffee filter over a colander then stir different flavorings into the thickened yogurt. After doing that, it's more to my liking. :)

Response from CFH: We recommend verifying the temperature of your yogurt maker before attempting to make yogurt. Thermophilic yogurts, like Greek and Bulgarian, prefer temperatures between 108°-112°F. (Posted on March 6, 2014)
Bulgarian Yogurt Starter Review by Tom
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Worked perfect first time! Thanks, tom (Posted on February 26, 2014)
Delicious! Review by MelanieC
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I wanted to make my own yogurt and get my family off of the over-priced chemical and sugar-laden stuff from the grocery store. The representative from Cultures for Health suggested Bulgarian yogurt for it's mild taste. Months after I bought the culture I hadn't even opened the package because the thought of trying to make yogurt was so intimidating. So many of my friends had tried and failed. I didn't have the expensive equipment to make it, and even those who I knew did weren't having much success. Again, a Cultures for Health representative walked me through the easiest way possible to make yogurt. She gave me the information and encouragement I needed to give it a try. It turned out perfect and delicious! I make a new batch every week with some of the yogurt from the previous batch, and I've been doing this without fail for 10 months. I still have my second culture in the freezer for a back-up. As for how the family likes it...it takes a little getting used to when children are accustomed to sugar sweetened yogurt, but eventually they came around and now ask for it on their cereal, with pancakes, and in smoothies. (Posted on February 22, 2014)
Excellent Review by Sara
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My first batches flopped...I have been using another brand with great success, but was looking for an organic version as I use only raw milk. I am not sure what happened with this initially...I was sent a 2nd starter when I had talked to the reps here as to what happened, so it was nice for them to help me try again was very surprised at such wonderful customer service. I am happy to say was able to achieve great results this time around! Now going to try my own sour cream... (Posted on February 10, 2014)
Most delicious yogurt ever! Review by Jeannie
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I decided I wanted to start making my own yogurt using an heirloom variety and thought I'd give this one a try. After making this now for several months I have perfected the process! I use raw milk heated to 180 degrees and then cool to just under 110 degrees. I add the starter to the milk, put a lid on it, cover it with a towel, let it sit for about 10 hours (at room temp) and then refrigerate. After a few hours I pull it out and strain it. I add a little maple syrup to sweeten it just before eating. This is the best yogurt I've ever had!

A note about the starter: The box comes with 2 starter packets. When I first activated it I followed the directions and the starter was nothing but liquid so I dumped it and tried it again with the second packet. The same thing happened this time so I contacted the company about the issue. They gave me a few pointers. I didn't dump the second batch as I was rushing out the door. When I got home and went to clean it up it had actually started to thicken! Wonderful products and outstanding customer service! (Posted on January 31, 2014)
Love this yogurt! Review by Emily
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I've made yogurt a few times using store bought starters. I wanted something I can culture batch to batch. This variety is fabulous!!! The first batch was thinner, but after that I get thick, lovely yogurt each time.

I use whole milk and I hold it at 160 degrees for 20 minutes, cool, add cultures, and keep it warm for 4-5 hours. Perfect!

My method is to use a small cooler that fits 2 quart jars. I fill it with 115 degree tap water, and let the cooler warm up while I prep the milk. Once I've mixed the milk with the cultures, I lay a sandwich bag across the top and use a canning ring to hold it in place. This lets me check the consistency without removing the lid.

I put two full quart jars in the cooler, and make sure the water is almost up to the lid. Then I close it up. I find this holds the temperature well for 2-4 hours. By the time it cools off, it's time to put it on the counter, then into the fridge.

Yummy yummy flavor--my kids adjusted to it really well. (Posted on January 28, 2014)
Good results Review by NancyJane
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The first batch took about 9 hours (in a yogurt maker)but the 2nd batch was ready in 5 hours and set up really well. Good flavor. I consider the product pricey because you can just use greek yogurt from the store for a culture for a lot less. (Posted on January 21, 2014)
Great yogurt! Review by Nadine
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Love the flavor of this yogurt. I've tried a couple of others but this one is the best. Nice creamy texture and flavor. (Posted on January 20, 2014)
Excellent! Review by Barb
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Everything about the product, the service, the packaging, the instructions, the quality....everything was excellent!
Thank you for making it available to us! (Posted on January 20, 2014)
Excellent! Review by Barb
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Everything about the product, the service, the packaging, the instructions, the quality....everything was excellent!
Thank you for making it available to us! (Posted on January 20, 2014)
Not a favorite. Review by viva
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I've been making yogurt for awhile with great results just using an organic store yogurt for a starter. I have made several batches using the Bulgarian yogurt starter and have been very disappointed. The yogurt is thin and tasteless. I will order the Greek starter as soon as I can afford it.
(Posted on January 9, 2014)
Great Yoghurt onece you get it started Review by nonickname
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The first try did not work. Tested temperatures and temperature holding steady in the yoghurt maker, and did not find a problem. The second try was better, and the subsequent batches turned out fine. (Posted on January 2, 2014)
better bacteria Review by easyed
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was looking for a better culture than available at grocery .. so, happy, it worked .. on 3rd generation (Posted on January 1, 2014)
Excellent Review by Rowena
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I really love this yogurt starter. I've made about 20 batches now and it continues to turn out great. I use fresh cow's milk and usually skim it to make yogurt. Strained, this yogurt makes great Greek style yogurt too. I will never buy any other yogurt starter than this heirloom Bulgarian yogurt culture. I highly recommend it. (Posted on December 18, 2013)
Delicious yogurt, I'm hoping it will last forever. Review by Joffrey
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This stuff is great. The directions work well, but I started heating the milk to 180 F and fermenting at 115 F according to a different recipe I found.

This stuff is definitely better than the commercial yogurt starter. (Posted on December 11, 2013)
very happy, great taste, lots of support both written and on-line Review by Trish
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I can scarcely make yogurt fast enough. My family loves it. We selected the Bulgarian culture and are very happy with the taste. The product came with advance warning to ensure proper handling for preservation, great written instructions & a second culture. I was a bit uncertain on my first attempt and found the on-line chat very helpful. I am sorry I waited so long to try it. This is so much easier than the hit and miss methods I used 40 yrs ago. (Posted on December 6, 2013)
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