Piima Yogurt Starter

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Piima Starter Culture

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True Piimä! Culture milk into a probiotic-rich yogurt drink, make Piima cream, create amazing cultured butter, or use as a creamy cultured salad dressing base

  • Each box contains 2 packets of yogurt starter.
  • Activate 1 packet using 1-2 cups pasteurized milk; store 2nd packet in the freezer as a back-up.
  • Reusable heirloom starter recultures from batch to batch indefinitely.
  • Instructions for using this culture may be found here.
  • Cultures on the countertop at room temperature (70º-77ºF).
  • This culture is also suitable for use with raw dairy milk or non-dairy milk, with special care.


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

This product contains no GMO ingredients.

Shipping Information and Shelf-life: Our Piimä starter culture is shipped in a barrier-sealed packet as a freeze-dried yogurt culture. The starter keeps

  • At room temperature (68° to 77°F): 3 to 4 months
  • In the refrigerator (40° to 45°F): 9 months unopened
  • In the freezer (0° to 25°F): 12 months unopened


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.

Allergen Information:

Contains dairy. Packaged in a facility that also manufactures products made with wheat, soy, eggs, nuts, and fish.

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Questions on Piima Yogurt Starter

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  • From Jamika Cordle at 4/9/2014 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?
    • A new mother (pure) culture should be made from a recent pure batch or previous mother that is 7 days old or less. It is 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.

      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.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From JL at 4/21/2013 3:36 PM
    • After cultured and allowed to refrigerate for 6 hours, how long before the piima spoils if left in the fridge?
    • Your culture will remain viable for re-culturing for 7 days in the fridge between 40 to 45º F, and should be edible for 2 to 3 weeks.

    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Hariyanto at 4/8/2013 1:38 AM
    • If I am 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 4 to 5 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 2/23/2013 4:14 PM
    • What is the shelf life?
    • The Piima Yogurt Starter packets, unopened, will last 3-4 months at room temperature; 9 months in the refrigerator; 12 months in the freezer.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Deanna at 1/28/2013 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!
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Allison at 7/7/2012 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.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Lynnw at 6/26/2012 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 4/9/2012 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 11/10/2011 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.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Mommy to many at 11/7/2011 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 raw goat milk. The activation batch must be done with pasteurized milk, and subsequent batches can be done with raw. To perpetuate the culture, you will need to maintain a pasteurized dairy mother culture which you will then use to inoculate each batch of raw milk. A new mother must be created every 7 days or less. Read here http://www.culturesforhealth.com/make-mesophilic-raw-milk-yogurt/ to see how to maintain the mother.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No

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Customer Reviews

Good product Review by Ashley

Easy to use, I was actually surprised how thick mine turned out. But it had kind of a sour taste so maybe I let it sit out for a bit too long.

Response from CFH: Please contact customer support for troubleshooting, as we're happy to help!

(Posted on 10/13/2014)

Best for culturing cream! Review by Jane

I have not tried to culture Piima in milk because I first encountered it as a cream culture and it is too divine. Piima cream cultures amazingly--think, smooth, excellent taste--sweet enough for dipping fruit and tart enough for use in recipes/dishes calling for sour cream. I never want to use another culture for my cream!! The culture I bought from here is very consistent and always successful. (I do culture the mother in milk, and it works fine.)

CFH Note: Keeping a mother culture in milk is a very important step, critical to the health of the culture.

(Posted on 8/21/2014)

I love it! Review by Liquid Yogurt Fan

It worked at room temperature in about 8 hrs. I just mixed it well in 1% organic milk and voila! So easy. Now I add honey to my cup and enjoy it either just like that or on my cereal. I always keep 1/4 of the yogurt to keep it going and it's doing great after 2 weeks and 5 refills.

(Posted on 6/5/2014)

Novice and am enjoying my own yogurt! Review by JB

I had no problems starting the Piima culture. It was the only one I purchased as I wanted some drinkable yogurt after trying some made with raw milk at a farm. I have not purchased store bought yogurt since. I look forward to it as desert sweetened with a little bit of Agave nectar and some raspberries. I also use it as a fruit dip. I have been having so much fun with the basic yogurt I haven't even made it to to the raw milk yet and after reading the reviews, I now have some new ideas.

(Posted on 5/19/2014)

EXCELLENT! Review by Rayah

What a great product to begin culturing with! Excellent packing, high quality product with easy to follow instructions. It felt "hand-delivered". THANK YOU!

(Posted on 4/28/2014)

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 4/19/2014)

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 3/20/2014)

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 3/16/2014)

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 1/16/2014)

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 12/26/2013)

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 12/8/2013)

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 1/10/2013)

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 5/15/2012)

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 11/5/2011)

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