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 Martha at 3/8/11 11:42 AM
    • Hi, I cultured the starter and it came out very thick. I did my first batch of yogurt and I really liked it. Then I did my second batch and it was pretty thin - kind of like a yogurt drink. So, I threw out that starter and cultured a new starter and it is still thin. What could I be doing wrong? Also, I am not using the raw milk method.

      Thanks
      Martha
    • There are a couple of reasons your yogurt could be coming out too thin, and a few ways that you can get it to thicken up.

      1. When you heat up the milk, bring it to 160 and hold it there for about 20 minutes before letting it cool down.
      2. Add some cream or half-and-half to the milk to increase the fat content, which will make a thicker yogurt.
      3. Use a little LESS starter yogurt. If you use too much culture, it can run out of food before it finished culturing.
      4. Check the culturing temperature. Too warm or too cool can affect the thickness of the finished project.
      5. Whisk some milk powder into the heated milk to provide more milk solids.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Marisa at 5/17/11 7:03 AM
    • In the description it says that goat's milk can be used but the product will be very thin because of the lower fat content. Will the results be similar if I use fat free milk?
    • Yes, a higher fat content will produce a thicker yogurt, and a lower fat content tends to produce a thinner yogurt.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From BIll at 5/25/11 10:45 AM
    • I want to make bulgarian yogurt from raw milk, but I have a question about the instructions. When it says that you must use a starter from the mother batch does that mean the first batch of yogurt that you make with your starter? I need to know the answer before I order. Thank You
    • Yes, to activate the culture you must make a pure mother batch, where the milk is heated to 160ºF and cooled to 110ºF, using the starter that we send you.

      Once you have done that, you will use the mother batch to inoculate the milk for a batch of raw milk yogurt.

      You will need to maintain a pure mother culture, using a portion of the previous mother culture added to milk that has been heated to 160ºF and cooled to 110ºF. That pure mother culture is then used to make the next batch of raw milk yogurt.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Andrew at 6/22/11 12:46 AM
    • How many batches do you find it's OK to make - taking some from one batch and using it to culture the next?

      As you do this, doesn't the bacteria content drift? That is..won't it contain more and more of the bacteria native to the milk? (I'm using raw milk, so there are live bacteria in it, naturally).
    • If you are heating the raw milk to 160 then cooling it, you are effectively pasteurizing it, so the yogurt culture is the dominant (if not only) bacteria, and you can re-culture indefinitely.

      If you are only heating the raw milk to 110 (culturing temperature), you don't re-culture from the previous batch. Instead, you keep a mother culture going, which you make by sterilizing milk so that the ambient bacteria in the raw milk does not interfere with the yogurt culture.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Gerd A Zimmermann at 8/8/11 8:03 PM
    • The starter you sell is good for how manny batches to start? Normally I use the Culture bacteria each time fresh.
    • To make the Bulgarian yogurt, you will start by using the culture we send you to make a small amount as a "starter" (about a cupful) then use some of that starter to make up to two quarts of yogurt. You can then use some of that yogurt to make a new batch of yogurt, and so on, for as many batches as you want.

      If you want to start fresh each time with a new culture, you might want to consider the direct-set style of starter: Traditional Flavor or Mild Flavor. Those are meant to be used fresh each time.

      *Note: There was a packaging change for all orders shipped beginning September 1, 2013. New packaging contains enough starter culture to activate 1 quart of milk.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Kathy at 10/27/11 1:49 PM
    • Not a question but mostly a comment.
      For those that are ending up with a thin yogurt, My first batch I used cheesecloth and drained half of the whey. Put it back in a bowl and use a hand mixer to make it smooth. The second batch I made I heated to 160, but set over night at 100 more than 8 hours. It was very good.
      The other day about 3 pm I heated a gallon and half of lightly pasturized whole milk to 170 degrees. I let it cool to 110. I used about 1 cup of tempered yogurt from the previous batch mixed it in very well and let it sit in a covered stainless steel pan overnight in the set at 100 degrees. The next morning about 8 am I turned off the heat. about noon,when it was cooled. I drained probably a quart of whey from the yogurt. Since it was lumpy I used the hand blender to make it smooth and pourable but thick. Put up 5 quarts in sterilized jars. Set them in the fridge. It is not sour, not runny, not like thick pudding the way my yogurt maker does, just the way I like.
    • Kathy, thanks so much for sharing your experience with making bulgarian yogurt. I'm glad you found a method that works for you.
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  • From Catherine at 11/9/11 4:25 PM
    • All the cream I find has "carrageenan" in it. Can I still use this to make my yogurt?
    • Carageenan should be just fine as it is just a seaweed thickener. However, you will not want to use ultra-pastuerized cream or milk. Also, if you are trying to perpetuate the culture, then you will want to use more milk because the culture needs the lactose in milk in order to continue growth. Perhaps half and half?
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From marcia at 12/5/11 8:45 AM
    • When ready to add the started yogurt to the heated and somewhat cooled down milk...what is ideal temperature of the yogurt started to be added? is it room temp. or directly from the refrigerator into the cooled down milk ? Thank you so much Marcia
    • Let the yogurt set at room temperature while you are preparing the milk. This will allow your starter yogurt to warm up and be more easily and thoroughly incorporated into the milk.
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  • From George at 2/9/12 3:49 PM
    • How is this product different from the "Greek Yogurt Starter"? Looks like they contain the same bacteria.
    • While the Bulgarian and Greek Yogurt Starters do contain the same bacteria strains, the strains are in different ratios, giving each yogurt its own unique flavor.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Milena at 5/17/12 8:14 PM
    • This is more of a comment, really. For those of you who like a tangier yogurt -- I know I do -- leave it incubating longer than the recommended 6-7 hours (as per the instructions available on this website). I personally leave it for 12: it gets as tangy as the homemade yogurt my grandma used to make, back in Buglaria. Now, you might not like as tangy as I do, so you might to try the yogurt periodically until it reaches the level of tanginess you prefer.

      This is an excellent culture, by the way; the best I have tried so far, and the one I am sticking with.
    • Thank you for your wonderful comments and tips :)
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Customer Reviews

THIS IS NEW STARTER FOR ME Review by RFRIEND
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WORKS WELL .USE HALF & HALF THINKING I LIKE A STRONGER TASTE IN THE YOGART, WILL TRY OTHER STARTERS (Posted on April 21, 2014)
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)
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