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Viili Yogurt Starter

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Viili Yogurt Starter Culture

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Our most popular yogurt culture! Originating in Finland, the Viili Yogurt Starter cultures at room temperature into a creamy, mild yogurt with a fairly thick consistency. Our Viili yogurt does not have a ropey texture but rather a more gelatinous texture and is perfect in any yogurt recipe

  • 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.
  • 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.

Viili Yogurt Starter Instructions and Troubleshooting: 


Ingredients: Organic milk, live active bacteria (Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris, L. lactis subsp. lactis biovar. diacetylactis, Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. cremoris).

This product contains no GMO ingredients.

Shipping Information and Shelf-life: Our Viili 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


Allergen Information:

Manufactured in a facility that also produces products containing gluten and dairy.

Actual product may differ from image shown above.

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Questions on Viili Yogurt Starter

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  • From kara at 4/12/2012 8:50 AM
    • Hi-
      I didn't have much luck with this. I'm using raw milk and followed the instructions. My first batch never got thick but did get sour (I've been using it as a runny sour cream). I left it out for about 4 days. I thought it was because my house was too cold.

      With the second batch, I placed it in a insulated cooler with some warm water. I watched the temp closely and kept it at 70. It neither got thick or sour.

      With both versions, after I heated the milk, I let it get to room temp before adding the culture.

      Can I salvage either of these to try another batch?
    • Thin yogurt is a common issue with raw milk and can be resolves by using a thickening agent. This article has information about different thickeners: http://www.culturesforhealth.com/thickening-homemade-yogurt/

      It is also very important to use the freshest raw milk possible, being less than 48 hours old, and chilled immediately. 

      Inconsistent temperatures can cause a lot of problems, so nice job on testing that! Keep in mind that 70° is on the low end, and you might want to bump it up a few degrees.

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  • From Ellie at 4/25/2012 6:25 AM
    • Hello,

      I used to live in Finland and have a brother living there now. He sent me over a dried Viili culture from a normal batch he bought in the supermarket. He used the recommended method to dry it and I reconstituted it as recommended also. The viili was perfect, just the right consistency and left nice long threads. The flavour was also quite normal. I use pasteurized full fat organic milk and always made it is a glass jar which I sterilized in between making, with boiling water and only used a plastic spoon for serving it.

      I made the yoghurt almost every day, so the culture stayed nice and fresh. After a few weeks it began to deteriorate and it then separated. There was no way I could recover it. I was afraid that I had cultured it for too long or in too warm a temperature.

      I had given a bit to a friend who had decided she didn't like it much, but that culture was still good as it had been made less than two weeks before, so I recuperated it and restarted the process. The batch was, once again, perfect. Then I even took some and prepared it as dried to keep aside in case the same thing happened again.

      And it did happen again. After a few weeks the yoghurt deteriorated in the same way. The temperature had been regular as I sat the jar on a UPS which is slightly warm only on the surface.

      Is this result because it came from a store bought food viili rather than a starter, do you think? I am not keen to have this shipped up to Canada (if they even allow it) only to find the same thing happening.

      What are your thoughts on this problem?

    • It sounds like your brother purchased a yogurt that had been made with a "direct set" starter which will begin to weaken after a few batches. An heirloom culture can be reused, and with good care the culture can be kept going indefinitely. With an heirloom culture, it is important to make a new batch of yogurt every 5-7 days to keep the good bacteria viable.
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  • From Laura at 4/27/2012 3:47 PM
    • Could this starter be used with goat milk to make yogurt? I love the idea of it working at room temp. Thanks!
    • Absolutely. It's one of the many delicious things you can make with goat milk.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Miriam at 5/7/2012 8:46 PM
    • I'm interested in making villi yogurt with skim milk. I've bought skim milk skyr in the grocery store under the brand name Siggi's and it was very good. Can I make villi yogurt with skim milk using your starter? Thanks.
    • Many customers make Viili with skim milk. If you find you prefer a little thicker consistency, please see the following article for suggestions for a thickening agent: http://www.culturesforhealth.com/thickening-homemade-yogurt/
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Jess at 5/15/2012 1:38 PM
    • This is concerning storage of the villi after making a quart batch. After you have made a batch of villi yogurt on the video it says to take a scoop out. I understand that part, from there is it stored in the refrigerator? Are you able to freeze the starter if you are going on vacation? Thank you for your time.
    • Yes, the yogurt should be stored in the refrigerator once it's done culturing, both the mother culture and the yogurt to be consumed.

      A small amount of yogurt or buttermilk can be frozen for up to a few weeks. Because the bacteria will degrade over time, we recommend freezing 3-4 times the amount you will require to make a new batch and limiting freezing to no more than a few weeks.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From maggie at 7/23/2012 6:09 PM
    • Ok the Villi starter instructions for pasteurized milk state that you use a portion of the "mother" batch for your next fermentation. Do I keep the "mother" batch, eat it, toss it, use it to start another batch? What do I do with it? Thanks!
    • The mother culture is used to culture another batch, or can be consumed if you have successfully made a new mother. Be sure to always save enough of "her" to make a new mother culture. It must be done within 7 days for maximum viability.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Sarah at 8/2/2012 8:21 AM
    • I started my culture in reduced fat milk last night to make the activation batch. It's been 15 hours but looks like milk still. The temperature is around 76 or 77. When I was stirring it up, some of the starter was getting stuck on the sides of the glass jar and wooden spoon. I didn't try to remove that with my finger for fear of compromising the culture. Should I just keep waiting? Or does it sound like I didn't mix it properly?
    • It can take up to 48 hours to activate the culture, so keep checking every hour or so. Also, know that the lower the fat content of your milk, the thinner your end product will be. If you have any problems, please contact us, and we would be happy to assist you.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From grant at 9/5/2012 6:06 AM
    • Could you tell me which bacteria create viili's gelatinous texture?
    • The bacteria in viili are:

      Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris
      L. lactis subsp. lactis biovar. diacetylactis
      Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. cremoris

      Unfortunately, we do not have information on which bacteria lends itself to which characteristics of the Viili.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Jennifer at 9/6/2012 10:00 AM
    • Can viili yogurt be used to make frozen yogurt? I saw you recommend the matsoni culture for this but I actually want more of a mild taste than a strong one and viili seems like it might be a good candidate. I don't like to have to deal with direct-set.
    • Absolutely! Viili would make a lovely mild frozen yogurt.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Psmokey at 9/7/2012 3:03 PM
    • Will this work for non dairy milks like coconut, soy or almond milk? If so, any special procedures needed? Thanks!
    • You can use viili starter with non-dairy milks, but it is unlikely to reculture as the non-dairy milks will not nourish the bacteria.

      Each week, you will need to make a pasteurized dairy mother culture from which to make non-dairy milk yogurts. See here for detailed information, specifically the mesophilic culture section: http://www.culturesforhealth.com/making-dairy-mother-culture-non-dairy-yogurt/
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No

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Customer Reviews

100 people love this product!
Super Easy & Yummy Review by Laney

Love the ease of use of this product and it tastes great. Works for me!

(Posted on 4/20/2015)

Great Yogurt Starter... Review by Losethecarbs

I LOVE the ease of this product! No fuss, just add the starter to two cups of milk and leave at room temperature for up to 12 or more hours. I love that I don't have to heat the milk and worry about the temperature. I put it in a mason jar which I then put into a plastic tub lined with a towel and leave it on top of my washing machine...the warmest area of the house. I make it in the evening and it's done when I get up the next morning. I have been using the same starter for several months and it's still going strong! I usually make the yogurt with 100% cream (zero carbs), but I followed the company's suggestion and make my new starter every week with whole milk. Then I strain the yogurt and it is the most wonderful mild tasting thick and creamy yogurt. I find that if I don't strain it, it is too liquid for me. But I strain it to "lose the carbs" in the whey, so it really isn't an extra step for me. Of course, I don't think I'm saving any money because I'm using expensive cream, but the taste is well worth it, much milder than the tart store bought plain yogurts.

(Posted on 4/8/2015)

Very good Review by Karen

I really have enjoyed the Viili yogurt that is so easy to make. Put the starter in milk in a clean jar and let sit on the counter for 24-48 hours and it is done. It is delicious and so easy to make. It isn't as tangy as the heated yogurts but darn tasty and did I mention easy to make. I keep a batch going on the counter all the time so I can make smoothies. I'm very pleased with the product and results.

(Posted on 3/24/2015)

Likes this one Review by Linda

I like the flavor of this one. It's has a little tang/tartness to it. I find the consistency like kefir.

(Posted on 3/17/2015)

Couldn't be more pleased! Review by Tamara

Lovely culture with a bright lemony taste, sets beautifully on my counter in 12 hours. I start my culture from cold first thing in the morning before I leave for work and I have yogurt in the evening when I get home - perfect!

(Posted on 2/24/2015)

great value Review by Jennlynn

I've wanted to make my own yogurt for the longest time, because the commercial versions are frequently over-sweetened, and when they do offer plain, the yogurt is so tart that it makes me pucker. So I was happy to find this site. I tried the Viili, and I am very pleased with it. It is a mild flavor, and it isn't too tart. It is thinner than commercial yogurt, but that is fine with me. I use 2% milk. Then only problem I've had so far is that every batch is lumpy. It doesn't really matter because I can just whisk it until it's smooth. I was surprised with the pricing, but it has already paid for itself. I make a quart a week, and stash a bit out of each batch to make the new batch. I am looking forward to trying a different strain of yogurt.

(Posted on 2/21/2015)

Easy and Tasty Review by Brooke

The flavor is really mild with good, thick consistency. I'm used to eating unsweetened/unflavored yogurt, but for those interested in making the switch, this would be a great option. Culturing on your kitchen counter couldn't be easier and the product is accompanied with clear, step-by-step instructions. As an added bonus, it's very economical. Doing the math, for what one container of store bought yogurt costs me, I can make five - six times that amount (using organic milk).

(Posted on 2/19/2015)

I did not like the taste or consistancy of the yogurt Review by Mary

I love to eat greek yogurt and have made it many times in the past. Of course it takes a little time, but it always tasted good. So I was hoping after reading the other reviews that this yogurt would be a good option and of course very easy to take. I already make milk kefir and so understood the process. Unfortunately, I did not like the taste of this yogurt. It was not very thick, so I strained it as I had in the past done to my own homemade yogurt and also kefir, but this time it was thick, but the flavor was not what I thought it should be. Maybe others will like it, but for my two cents, I did not. I guess when I want yogurt again, I will go back to making it myself.

Response from CFH: Please contact customer support if you experience any problems with your starter. Most cultures can be saved with minor adjustments. Heirloom cultures do behave in unique ways.

(Posted on 2/3/2015)

Good Product Review by Adam Rosenblum

I have been using the Viili yogurt starter since my restaurant opened 7 months ago and have not had any issues at all. I use it to make sauces and to culture butter and I am very happy with the results.

(Posted on 1/30/2015)

Alas, I tried it twice.... Review by SHELBY

First off I will say this was my first yogurt-making experience. I chose the viili as I had not heard of it before, and it was listed as a "mild yogurt taste." I used a sanitized (and cooled) glass canning jar to make it. I used whole milk (not ultra-pasteurized, homogenized) and the culture starter. The first batch sort of set up but was more liquid than anything else. I figured this was how it was supposed to look...until I talked to others. I discarded that culture. A few days later, with a fresh gallon of milk, I tried again. This time it set up well, but after I moved it to the fridge, it quickly broke apart and became liquid. It's still in our fridge: liquid in a plastic container, but I'm wondering if maybe I'm just not a viili person.

Overall, I will say the product seems to be good, the instructions are clear, shipping is fast, and the price is great. Perhaps others have luck with it. Don't let my experience dissuade you from purchasing.

~Please contact customer support before discarding your culture for troubleshooting advice.

(Posted on 1/28/2015)

Super Easy Review by Gwen

I really like this culture. The yogurt has a mild, pleasant taste and what could be more easy than adding milk, culture and a warm place.

(Posted on 1/26/2015)

Great product! Review by DrE

I love this yogurt. I use whole milk and let it ferment in an insulated bag with mason jar filled with hot water. When it is done I add some vanilla and either honey or stevia and pour it over granola and fruit. Made it for my students, and converted some to loving yogurt.

(Posted on 1/25/2015)

Delightful flavor! Review by Sea Girl

I love this viili. It has a light, creamy flavor when made with whole milk. It faithfully produces a nice batch of yogurt any time I want. I use a seed starting mat when I culture overnight as my house is cool, but in the daytime it works fine right on the counter. My starter batch took 23 hours to set but now it is usually 10 to 12 hours. It sets up nicely when done but is noticeably softer than the regular thermophilic yogurt types; but so much easier and the flavor is less tart!

(Posted on 1/19/2015)

Great mild flavor Review by Ann

The starter batch cultured in 27 hours and the next batch in 18 hours. The yogurt is much thicker than I expected and has a nice mild flavor. I used Clover Stonetta organic whole milk, local to California. This is so much better than making yogurt by the heating method. It is a real money saver too, as high quality organic yogurt costs three times as much as making it from the culture.

(Posted on 1/18/2015)

Great Tasting and Low Maintenance Review by bonnie

The viili yogurt is awesome. I am thankful that 2 starter packets are included in the kit. My first batch did not set because, unfortunately, I unknowingly used UHT pasteurized milk so I had to throw it out. My second batch with the second packet turned out excellent. (I was careful to ensure I bought just regularly pasteurized milk.) Now, I have tasty yogurt that I can culture at room temperature and not have to mess with a yogurt maker. I love that it the viili is also an heirloom variety so that is another added benefit. So, to summarize:
1) Low maintenance (can culture at room temperature with no special equipment needed).
2) Heirloom variety (can be re-used again and again to make fresh batches of yogurt).
3) Great tasting.

(Posted on 1/16/2015)

Issues Review by foxybrownee

I was able to make the yogurt with organic milk but my intention was to use it as a starter for non-dairy milk. I used coconut milk and it did not work at all. Now I am yogurt that I am not able to eat. I am not sure what I am going to do.

Response from CFH: Please contact customer support for troubleshooting advice before discarding product. Many cultures can be saved with minor adjustments.

(Posted on 1/6/2015)

Great Yogurt Review by Nan

This yogurt has given me the best success at culturing during the winter. It thickens up every time and tastes delicious. I use raw milk.

(Posted on 1/3/2015)

Thinner than expected Review by Iris

This is tasty. I can't get it to be very thick - it's more like a thin custard.

(Posted on 12/30/2014)

easy easy Review by michelle

I don't think it tastes like yogurt in my opinion. What it does taste like is delicious sour cream. I have yougurt with all it's benefits no fillers and I never have to buy sour cream again I love it. I do strain mine for about 2 hours. No one has even questioned it on potatos,tacos, or dips or spreads!

(Posted on 12/28/2014)

It is better than candy. Review by grapple girl

If you want it to be store bought thicker you have to bring milk to 195 degrees for ten minuets cool to under 100 degrees and add whipping cream then culture. I wanted to make yogurt better than store bought and now I have.

(Posted on 12/24/2014)

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