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Viili Yogurt Starter

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SKU: 5200

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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.

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.

Questions on Viili Yogurt Starter

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  • 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:
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • 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 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.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • 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:

      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.

    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Amy at 4/1/2012 9:46 PM
    • Hi. I wanted to add vanilla extract to my yogurt. At what phase do I add it? Can I add it to the yogurt/milk mixture before I set it out on the counter or do I have to wait until the yogurt has set? I didn't know if the vanilla would weaken the starter.

    • The vanilla should be added after the yogurt has set, as the alcohol and/or oils might weaken the bacteria. Here's an article that might be helpful:
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Kara at 3/21/2012 7:05 AM
    • Sorry, I'm still not understanding making yogurt with raw milk. I think I understand the first batch but for the subsequent ones, do I save yogurt from an exiting batch, making it the new mother, heat that and then use it? Or do I have to go back to the original culture for the mother? Thanks!
    • You need to keep a separate mother culture when using raw milk. Heat 1 cup of raw milk to 160°, then cool to room temperature before adding the culture. You will use this mother culture to inoculate your raw (unheated) milk for your batch of yogurt that can later be flavored or eaten plain. You will save 1 tablespoon of the mother culture, and within 7 days (to ensure its maximum viability) add it to 1 cup of raw milk heated to 160° which will become your new mother culture. Heating the raw milk for the mother culture destroys some of the bacteria in the raw milk, but gives the culture a good neutral environment to get started in. You only have to heat the milk for the mother culture, not for your batches of yogurt. For more information, see here:
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Anna at 2/6/2012 9:39 PM
    • What is the mother culture? You mentioned it a couple of times. What is it for? Thank you.
    • The Viili mother culture is a batch of Viili yogurt that is 7 days old or less, used to make your next batch. It is free of additional things like sweeteners or flavoring.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Shirley at 2/5/2012 10:03 PM
    • I read in the booklet that pasteurized milk needed to be heated again to 180 (or was it 160?) degrees to keep the bacteria in the milk from overcoming the yogurt bacteria. Now this information says only to heat raw milk. What shall I do, heat milk again that has already been pasteurized commercially?

      I hope to have goat's milk in about a month. I prefer it. Will this culture work with goat's milk? Will the yogurt be as firm? It doesn't matter I just need to know what to expect.

      My house gets much too cold at night. A glass half gallon jar filled with really hot water in a cooler along side the yogurt should keep it warm. However, the temperature will fluctuate. I assume above 80 is too high. How low is too low so I can figure out how to maintain workable temperatures? I would really like to use this culture.

      Thank you for your help. I will order as soon as I get an answer. And thank you for having such a helpful customer service.
    • You will find information about preparing your mesophilic yogurt here:
      Pasteurized milk does not have to be heated. However, start with milk that is as fresh as possible. You can use goat's milk for the Viili, just follow the raw milk instructions if the milk is raw. The consistency may be thinner than pasteurized cow's milk, but it will be delicious!

      You need to maintain a temperature between 70° and 77° in your coolerI. Information and suggestions for other possible heat sources are here:
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Emily at 1/26/2012 12:14 PM
    • Is it possible to make yogurt from coconut milk using a mesophilic yogurt culture? I know that you can use milk kefir grains, but I prefer the thicker texture of yogurt. Alternatively, is it possible to strain coconut milk kefir in order to thicken the consistency?
    • Yes, you can make coconut milk yogurt with either a thermo- or mesophilic starter. Detailed instructions and information can be found here:

      You could also strain coconut milk (or any) kefir to obtain a thicker consistency. Simply strain through butter muslin, a cotton bag, or the Greek Yogurt Maker until the desired thickness is reached.

    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Val at 12/27/2011 8:27 PM
    • In the directions, you mention that the yoghurt should be put in the fridge to stop the culture process. Once it has cooled sufficiently, do I then need to keep it in the fridge all the time? Will it start to culture again if I try to store it at room temp?

    • The culturing will not re-start after you remove the yogurt from the refrigerator, but you can use some of the refrigerated yogurt to inoculate a new batch of yogurt. Finished yogurt should be refrigerated, as it will eventually go bad at room temperature (just like store-bought yogurt).
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No

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Customer Reviews

100 people love this product!
Easy to culture. Review by Grandma Janet

My first few attempts to use this culture were unsuccessful. I am glad that I had received an extra packet of dried starter. I think the problem was that I I had stirred gently rather than mixed thoroughly. Now I use a wire whip to thoroughly mix the starter into the milk and it works well. I like that no heating is required and that I can make a large or small batch as needed. This product quickly paid for itself; grocery store milk costs considerably less than grocery store yogurt. It tastes good and I know exactly what the ingredients are.

(Posted on 10/26/2015)

very mild and sweet Review by Geoffrey

I made the starter with the Villi and and after that my first batch of yoghurts and they came out very mild, sweet and delicious. I found they take longer to set than the yoghurt I have been making for years using store bought yoghurts of differing types. The villi takes at least 20 hrs to start to set, compared to the 12 hrs or so that I was used to, though this is only my second batch so perhaps it gets stronger in time. Definitely more delicate taste than yoghurt made from store brands from Wholefoods etc.

CFH Note ~ If your mesophilic yogurt is culturing too slowly, your culturing temperature may be a little low. Move your yogurt to a slightly warmer location and watch the batch closely.

(Posted on 10/21/2015)

Didn't work but could have been my fault Review by LoriE

I am really excited about a room temp yogurt culture. I tried this with my raw milk which was nearly a week old so it may have been older than ideal with other stuff growing in it already. The culture and the subsequent yogurt never got thick and just separated into some sort of cultured solids and whey. I may try to culture some more milk with the solids and see what happens. Been busy too so that may be a factor. Not giving up, though.

Response from CFH: We recommend activating heirloom yogurts with pasteurized milk, and making raw batches once it is well established. We have instructions on this process here at this link:

(Posted on 10/21/2015)

didn't quite work Review by almostyogurt

tried 3 times, each time I got something closer to cottage cheese. I had the temperature controlled so I don't think it was this. The flavor was nice with a slight bitter after taste. I will probably try again with a new starter and see if it was just something in that starter.

~Please contact us at [email protected] if you have any questions or concerns about your yogurt.

(Posted on 10/3/2015)

Didn't work for me Review by HoneyRuns

I ended up ordering a heat-activated culture instead. I followed all of the instructions and had loads of lovely help from the online staff, but multiple batches never resulted in anything thicker than the original milk, and it had an Elmer's glue-like flavor. I even got a replacement, but had the same results. However, the Greek variety that I ordered works beautifully.

Note from CFH: Please continue to contact us for troubleshooting, as we often can help with the finickiest of cultures. We are here to help!

(Posted on 9/25/2015)

Delicious Review by Amy

I have never made yogurt this easy before! After reading the reviews for other countertop yogurts, I decided I would try this one. It took me a couple of tries before it came out tasting like yogurt, but once it did, it was delicious!! So easy, too. Love this product.

(Posted on 9/24/2015)

Easy to make, digests easily Review by TomT

I developed a milk allergy in 1989, so avoided it until 2006 when I tried raw goat milk cheese without problems. Later raw cow milk cheese also seemed fine. This year I'm culturing viili using raw cow milk, and propagating the culture with pasteurized, non-homogenized grass-fed cow milk. So far, so good!

The viili is easy to culture, and my wife even enjoys it in place of the commercial kefir she usually consumes.

Should I somehow bungle the culture, I'll surely be back for another box of starter!

(Posted on 9/19/2015)

Great! Review by Em

Easy. I'm used to making yogurt where you have to heat the milk and use a yogurt machine. My viili is not coming out thick but rather drinkable. Since I make milk and water kefir every day I'm certainly getting a variety of probiotics. I only make the viili once a week.

CFH Note ~ Try a slightly warmer location for culturing or making your Viili more frequently (more frequent feedings) and be sure to leave at least 4 feet between your culturing foods to minimize the risk of cross contamination.

(Posted on 9/6/2015)

thick but not creamy Review by tiger lily

I am delighted to have a culture that allows me to make tasty yogurt by just leaving milk and a spoonful of yogurt out on the counter. It works like a charm!
The yogurt thickens and pulls away from the side of the jar just fine, but I would like to have a more creamy texture. When I spoon it over berries it is kind of chunky even if I pour off the whey and stir it... maybe straining it for an hour or something would help this texture issue? Maybe I'll try a different culture.
I recommend using half and half... so divine!

(Posted on 8/29/2015)

Don't ever want to be without it! Review by Ruth G.

I hate most yogurt. Something about the texture makes me gag. I tried making homemade yogurt using store bought yogurt as a starter, and that was better, but a hassle. Since I already grind wheat, raise chickens, etc. I wanted something easy.

This could not be easier and it tastes SO GOOD. I love it plain or with a teaspoon of Bon Mamman Cherry Preserves stirred in. We also use it spooned over granola or cut up strawberries. My husband likes it with vanilla. And we also use it in recipes that call for yogurt, sour cream, or buttermilk.

Tips - Don't be discouraged by your first batch. (My first batch took a little long to culture and was delicious but because it had been left out longer, it developed a sour smell in a few days. I still used it as the next starter and it has been perfect ever since.) It gets better and better over the first few batches. And when you get the mother to make the next batch, be sure you don't just scoop up mostly whey that has separated. Stir it up if there is a lot of separation so you get plenty of goodies in there to culture your next batch. I did that once and it took extra long for the next batch to culture but it was great and I continue to make my yogurt from the original culture so I have my spare packet in the freezer!

(Posted on 8/7/2015)

Disappointing is being generous. Review by Steve

Ordered the product and followed the instructions to. the. letter. Fed a second time and actually had an edible product. I was very excited. After that one and only time, nothing happened again, I saved, recultured, followed the instructions. DUD. Never got thick, I tried it again, nothing. Double DUD, dumped the whole thing down the drain. I even did an extensive on-line chat with one of your associates to try to figure out what happened, to no avail.

Took the backup envelope of starter, got out the instructions and again, to the letter, and again, NOTHING!! Never even thickened at all. Recultured and again nothing. Down the drain for a second time.

To say I am disappointed is an understatement. It has to work, other people have gotten it to work. Could I have gotten a bad batch? Who knows. I wrote it off as an expensive lesson and went back to grocery store yogurt. Sigh.

Response from CFH: In rare cases a culture can fail. We're dedicated to everyone having success with our products. Please contact customer support before discarding any product for assistance.

(Posted on 7/27/2015)

Great product Review by Sheri

Love love love your cultures! I was so happy to find your products. I started with the Villi and it came out fine, but I prefer a little thicker yogurt. I purchased the greek yogurt culture, and it was amazing. I used 1/2 and 1/2 and whole milk, and it came out wonderful. I hope I can keep the culture going. The hardest part seems to be finding milk and cream not ultra-pasteurized.

(Posted on 7/10/2015)

Perfect Healthy Culture Review by Tamera

I tried to make it the first time and never got it to thicken so, like an idiot, I threw it out. Then I remembered all the information on the web site and went back and looked around. I should have left it longer so it was my own fault, imagine that. LOL
I got the second packet out of the freezer and tried again. Perfect yogurt and the mother culture continues to produce for me every time.
It can be a little less than my optimal thickness even after straining but a very good yogurt none the less.

(Posted on 6/25/2015)

Easy and tastes great Review by JT

I've used this culture with both goat milk and non-homogonized cow milk. Both work really well, but the goat milk is obviously less thick than the cow milk. With the goat milk I use it more like a thick beverage.

Also, making it couldn't be easier. I was feeling stressed about keeping up with making traditional yogurt, but this is much less work. And I've managed to keep it going for a couple of months now, which is great.

(Posted on 6/21/2015)

Very pleased with Viili Review by Shirley

My Swedish grandmother used to make viili way back when I was a small child. Over the years the culture was lost and I didn't think I would be able to find a starter. Thanks to the internet, I found Cultures for Health, and a fresh starter. I did not have any problems with my starter culture. I usually make five half pints and one pint at a time. Half pints for breakfast and pint to use for a new starter. I put it on my kitchen counter and cover it with cheesecloth. Usually takes 24 hours to set. I have been doing this for over a year now.

(Posted on 6/19/2015)

Disappointed Review by coggins3

Although the culture set up nicely after 24 hours and the resulting yogurt's texture was really nice. The second set of yogurt, made four days later using a portion of the initial batch of yogurt, was a total flop. It completely separated and was very runny. WAY too much money to pay for a single batch of yogurt for which the starter can't be further used!!

I would like to be able to, but unfortunately can't recommend this product.

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

(Posted on 6/17/2015)

Good product. Review by Debbie

The product is working well for me. It's not getting weaker. It continues to make good yogurt. I've been using it for three or four weeks, and have restarted it several times...I go through a lot of yogurt. The yogurt has a good texture and nice flavor.

(Posted on 6/16/2015)

Great...Very practical and useful Review by Kathleen

I think I've kept this going for about a year now. I use a half gallon mason jar. I simply use it down to about two inches from the bottom, refill the jar with organic (not ultra-pasteurized) milk, and set it on the counter till it thickens. Then refrigerate it till it is down to 2 inches again. It did get a little less active after the winter and I started again with the 2nd packet to get a fresh go with it. I like my kefir too, but the effort, the mess and waste with the straining has me using this yogurt more often than the kefir.

Response from CFH: We do recommend washing culturing vessels between use. We're so happy you are enjoying your Viili!

(Posted on 6/13/2015)

Pleasant and easy to make! Review by terrafirma

I'm a fermenting guru and find Viili yogurt one of the easiest to make. I recommend this type of yogurt for anyone new to fermenting. Tastes divine!!

(Posted on 6/11/2015)

Uniquely Delicious Review by Maria

I had been wanting to try Viili for a long time, as I had heard from other sources it is a drinkable yogurt, cultured at room temperature. I have been making homemade yogurt for over 30 years, but have always made the thick, solid, thermophilic type until now. Not only was the viili easy to make, but oh, what a beautiful delicate flavor and creamy texture to drink! I'm now reaching for my viili instead of my traditional yogurt (Bulgarian at present)--it's so satisfying to drink a small glass for breakfast, for a snack, or before bedtime for a deeper sleep. When culturing the viily, I put it in a warm spot, 72-77 degrees--and find that warm spot by putting a digital thermometer right next to it and monitoring the temperature. It's usually right on the counter next to my gas stove (it has pilot lights). Overall, I'd say that I didn't know what I was missing by not trying more types of yogurts until now. Each one has its own particular scent and flavor and is suitable for different uses. And viily is uniquely delicious with its mild flavor and creamy-rich texture!

(Posted on 5/19/2015)

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