Piima Yogurt Starter

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Piima Starter Culture

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Ways to Use Piimä: 


Piimä yogurt starter contains live active bacteria and cultures at room temperature on the counter: no yogurt maker required! One packet of our yogurt starter can be used to make unlimited amounts of homemade yogurt as it can be serial cultured, 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. No more having to continually buy yogurt starter!

  • Mild flavor; makes an excellent base for dressings and smoothies
  • Very thin beverage-like consistency
  • Cultures at 70° to 78°F, no yogurt maker required
  • Reusable culture; with care a little from each batch can be used to make the next batch


Description: Our piimä yogurt starter makes a thin cultured beverage. Originating from Scandinavia, it has a number of uses including making an excellent base for salad dressing, making cultured butter, or making piimä cream (a sour cream-type condiment). This yogurt culture can also be added to milk and consumed as a dairy beverage. Doing so adds beneficial cultures to the milk and many people feel it helps replace beneficial bacteria lost during the pasteurization process.

Click here to compare our different yogurt varieties


How to Make Piimä Yogurt: As a mesophilic culture, this yogurt starter cultures at room temperature. To make a batch of homemade yogurt, simply add the yogurt culture to milk, stir, then allow to culture on the counter before placing in the refrigerator. This yogurt can be serial cultured: a small amount of homemade yogurt from the current batch is reserved to inoculate the next batch of homemade yogurt. With care, this culture can be used to make homemade yogurt indefinitely.

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 can be found here and will be included with your order.

Using alternative milks to make piimä: This yogurt culture 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 dairybased culture on hand for making yogurt with alternative milks. It can also 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.

Ingredients: Organic milk, lactic bacteria (Streptococcus lactis var. bollandicus and Streptococcus taette).

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 will differ from the actual weight of the item received. 

Shipping Information: This yogurt starter 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 starter. We recommend that you reserve the second packet in the fridge or freezer to use as a backup. 
Detailed culturing instructions will be included with your order and can also be found here.

Questions on Piima Yogurt Starter

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  • From Jamika Cordle at 4/10/14 9:41 PM
    • Per the instructions, you are to make a new culture every 7 days. What is meant by that? Make a new culture from what?

      Initially, you put the culture into a quart of milk and once that cultures you take 1/4 cup to 1 quart of milk to make the yogurt. If I'm reading and understanding it correctly, this will make a LOT of yogurt. Do you use the entire quart from the activation batch? Or do you have to leave some behind?
    • You can make as much or little yogurt as you like for subsequent batches. If you want to make a smaller batch, use 1 Tbsp of your most recent batch per cup of milk. You can culture just 1 cup of yogurt or up to 1/2 gallon of yogurt at a time. The rest of your yogurt can be consumed. It is often easiest to set aside the yogurt you will need for your next batch to avoid it being contaminated by flavorings, sweeteners or being inadvertently consumed.
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  • From JL at 4/21/13 3:36 PM
    • After cultured and allowed to refrigerate for 6 hours, how long before the piima spoils if left in the fridge?
    • Hi Jamie

      Your culture will remain viable for re-culturing for 7 days in the fridge between 40 - 45 degrees, and should be good for eating up to one month.

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  • From Hariyanto at 4/8/13 1:38 AM
    • If i concerned about bacterial mutation from re-culturing, what should i do with this culture and thermophilic starter culture?

    • To minimize the risk of cross contamination, we recommend leaving at least 2 feet of space between culturing foods and airtight lids when your culture is in the fridge.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From JL at 2/23/13 4:14 PM
    • What is the shelf life?
    • The Piima Yogurt Starter packets, unopened, will last 3-4 weeks at room temperature; 9 months in the refrigerator; 12 months in the freezer.
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  • From Deanna at 1/28/13 11:34 AM
    • Actually, a comment on the answer to Jan's question about insuring a consistent temperature. The seedling mat suggested in the answer is a great idea, but seedling mats don't have a thermostat, so they just raise the temperature a certain amount above ambient temperature. What you really need is a thermostat. Fortunately, they make thermostats for seed mats, and you can use them with any source of heat--a seed mat or a regular heating pad. If you culture in an enclosed place (like an electric oven, an excalibur dehydrator, or a cooler, you can even use a plain ceramic light bulb base with a low watt bulb as a source of heat. The thermostat will turn the heat source on and off as needed, to maintain the proper temperature.
    • Thank you for your comment, Deanna!
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  • From Allison at 7/7/12 4:50 PM
    • Will the Piima taste sour? I cultured my first batch and it set into yogurt consistency, but didn't taste like yogurt at all, instead it tasted sweet, just like milk. Wondering if I messed it up some how.
    • Piima is a mild-flavored yogurt drink. If you are used to eating tangy or tart yogurt, it may taste sweet to you. If the yogurt set, you cultured it properly.
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  • From Lynnw at 6/26/12 3:58 PM
    • Can the mother culture be frozen if it's not going to be used soon? Will it still be viable?
    • If you want to take a break from making yogurt, you can preserve some active cultures by freezing or drying. Neither method is completely reliable, but our customers report a fair amount of success with both.

      For more information and instructions: http://www.culturesforhealth.com/storing-taking-break-yogurt
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From KJ at 4/9/12 7:23 AM
    • My mother culture turned into curds and whey. Can I still use it to make other batches?
    • Separation into curds and whey, although still tasty, isn't usually a good sign for the yogurt culture itself. If your mother culture is less than 7 days old, it might still be worth a try.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Waggie at 11/10/11 4:36 PM
    • Can you use Lactose Free Milk to make Piima Yogurt?
    • Lactose-free milk is usually made from cow milk with lactase added. Lactase is the enzyme missing in the gut of lactose-intolerant individuals. It breaks the lactose down into two simple sugars: glucose and galactose. The yogurt culture also consumes the lactose, and uses it to produce lactic acid, which makes the milk proteins coagulate. So if the milk did not have any lactose to start with, the yogurt culture would not work.

      However, since the lactose IS broken down in the culturing process, there is not much lactose left in the finished yogurt even when you use regular milk. As a result, many lactose-intolerant individuals can enjoy yogurt. You might want to try a small amount of good quality plain yogurt, and if all goes well, start making your own.
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  • From Mommy to many at 11/7/11 3:53 PM
    • Can Piima yogurt be started and "chained" with raw goat milk? Is this an unending yogurt culture to chain; or do we need to start a new mother culture after a number of batches? Thanks so much!
    • Piima yogurt works very well with goat milk. To perpetuate the culture, you will need to maintain a "mother culture" which you will then use to inoculate each batch of raw milk. Take a look at the Piima instructions to see how that works: http://www.culturesforhealth.com/media/docs/Piima_Yogurt_Instructions.pdf
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Customer Reviews

Silky and perfect! Review by Cinnamonbark
..cultured *beautifully*, and I can't wait to experiment with 'flavoring' it! Very, very easy, and works like a charm!

I think I'm going to experiment with Kefir next, as I feel so inspired by 'drinkable' yogurts! :-D (Posted on April 19, 2014)
Sickly sweet smelling yogurt Review by Jane
We very carefully followed the instructions twice, even buying a second container of fresh milk. Each time the yogurt took a day and a half to gel and had a sickly sweet smell - the kind that I identify as something spoiled. Sigh! It looks so easy in the video. I'd sure like to know why this happened. Anyone else have this experience?

To the company's credit, they offered to send new starters of another type. Haven't received those yet so don't know the outcome.

Response from CFH: Piima yogurt is a mild-flavored yogurt drink with a pleasant aroma and flavor. CFH Customer Support is always available to assist with any of our products. (Posted on March 21, 2014)
terrible Review by sbrown
This product did not work at all for me. My milk did nothing after 48 hrs. so I left it out longer. Then it just spoiled, curdled, and separated. Nasty. Not sure what the problem was. Waste of money.

Response from CFH: Please contact customer support for troubleshooting advice before discarding product. Many cultures can be saved with minor adjustments. (Posted on March 16, 2014)
Cultues must have been dead Review by cc
I did not have any luck. i let it culture for 48 hours and the milk was just as I had started 48hours before. there was no sign of culturing. very disappointed

Response from CFH: Please contact customer support for troubleshooting advice before discarding product. Many cultures can be saved with minor adjustments. (Posted on January 16, 2014)
Excellent! Review by J Fu
I was able to activate my Piima starter the first trial; it started to set at around 36 hours. After that, the yogurt routinely sets around 6 to 9 hours. Piima by itself tastes very mild and taste; I would he happy to just eat it as it is. My older daughter - the gourmet eater in my family - approves the mild taste of Piima and actually said she likes this better than store-brought yogurt. (Posted on December 26, 2013)
awesome stuff Review by T
I love pima, I use it in cream, so it comes out really thick. It makes the best mayo substitute for everything. I usually use it in potato salad, or mix it with cranberry sauce (homemade) and make turkey sandwiches, the best. Way too many uses to get into. (Posted on December 8, 2013)
Delightful Review by Amanda
This is a very tasty culture. Produces a thin yogurt when used with milk. I prefer to use it with cream. Makes for a delicious sour cream/ creme fraiche. I often use it in soups. Makes a great dessert topping too! Nice and mild with a very slight tang. (Posted on January 10, 2013)
My Personal Favorite Review by Meir
We bought all four mesophilic cultures (Piimä, Viili, Matsoni, and Filmjölk) and this is our personal favorite. It is quite thin when at room temperature but becomes much thicker when cold. It has a sweet flavor and is kind of fun to play with as it tends to fall off the spoon. The other cultures are well worth getting as well but make sure you get this one if you had to choose only one. (Posted on May 15, 2012)
Yummy Review by Paula
I bought this product because I wanted a cultured beverage to replace kefir. I used goat milk and the piima has the consistency of kefir. I let it culture initially for 36 hours. I actually bought matsoni, filmjolk, and viili as well and didn't like them as much. With goat milk, they were also beverages. The filmjolk was my second favorite and also had the consistency of kefir, but the filmjolk had a very acidic/tart bite to it (so it would be great for baking). This piima tastes similar to buttermilk but without the acidic bite or tartness. There is just a very mild tartness that tells you it's not just plain milk. It is very mild and delicious. It has a nice aroma, too. It's exactly what I was looking for to replace my daily cultured beverage. The flavor is excellent. (Posted on November 5, 2011)
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