Viili Yogurt Starter

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Viili Yogurt Starter

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Make yogurt with our Viili yogurt starter. Viili contains live active bacteria and cultures at room temperature (70° to 78°F). Culture viili yogurt right on the counter: no yogurt maker required! One packet of viili can be used to make unlimited amounts of homemade yogurt as it can be serial cultured by reserving a small amount from the current batch to inoculate the next batch. With care, this viili yogurt culture can be used to make homemade yogurt indefinitely. No more having to continually buy yogurt starter: save money making yogurt at home!


Viili Yogurt Starter: Originating in Finland, it is also known as viila and is similar to other yogurts such as pitkapiimä, viilipiimä, langil, taette, tatmjölk, langmjölk and skyr. Perfect for use in parfaits or in place of sour cream in recipes. Of all our room-temperature (mesophilic) yogurt cultures, viili has the thickest consistency (viscous, almost jelly-like) and the mildest taste, making it our most popular yogurt culture particularly among customers switching their family off commercial yogurt. Please note: this is a non-ropey variety of viili. Our viili yogurt does not have a ropey texture but rather a more gelatinous, jelly-like texture.

How to Make Viili Yogurt: As a mesophilic culture, this viili yogurt cultures at room temperature. To make a batch of homemade yogurt, the viili starter is simply added to milk, stirred, and then allowed to culture on the counter before being placed in the refrigerator. A small amount of the current batch of homemade yogurt is then used to make the next batch and so on.

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.

Instructions for making viili yogurt can be found here and will be included with your order.

Using alternative milks to make viili: Viili 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 when using alternative milks. Viili yogurt can be made with goat milk although the resulting yogurt may be significantly less thick than yogurt made with whole cow milk. We do not recommend using UHT (aka ultra-pasteurized) milk when working with any yogurt culture as the lack of living bacteria in UHT milk makes it difficult for the yogurt cultures to perpetuate properly.

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

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.

Viili Shipping Information: Viili 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 to use as a mother culture for making larger batches of homemade yogurt. We recommend that you reserve the second packet in the fridge or freezer to use as a backup. 

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  • From Sue at 4/26/11 11:35 AM
    • If I wanted to make two quarts of yogurt at a time would this starter work for me? If so then how much would I reserve to make it again?

      Thank you!
    • You may make up to half a gallon of yogurt with this starter.
      You would keep the same ratios as if you were only making one cup (one tablespoon of your previous batch to one cup of milk). So for a half gallon you would want to use 8 tablespoons of starter.
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  • From Michelle at 4/3/11 10:53 AM
    • We keep our house at 65 degrees, so I don't believe the Viili yogurt would culture properly on the counter at room temp. I do have a yogurt maker w/ 7 oz. individual jars. Would it work fine to use that with this starter?

      Second question: I seem to go in spurts with making yogurt. I'll be into it for a couple months and then stop for quite awhile, typically requiring me to purchase a new starter. Is there any way to keep using the Viili starter as a continuous starter, but still take some breaks from making yogurt occasionally?

      Thanks for your help!
    • A yogurt maker will be too warm for the Viili culture, which functions at room temperature. If you want to keep the temperature a little warmer, check with a garden supply store for something called a "seedling mat," which can be kept at around 70 degrees.

      To take a break from making yogurt, you can try freezing some in ice cube trays. If you freeze one or two tablespoons in each cube, you can take them out a cube at a time and let them come back to room temperature before inserting into a fresh jar of milk. (Note: some people find this a successful way to store yogurt cultures; others find it problematic.)
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Customer Reviews

Good stuff Review by Yogi Blair
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This culture is wonderful for making yogurt, what can I say! (Posted on April 23, 2014)
excellent yogurt, easy to execute Review by laureleiwb
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No special tools or gadgets. This is a zingy, but not too tart, yogurt that is super easy to make and super tasty to eat. Recommend this culture if you like smooth yogurts with not as much acid or tartness as greek. (Posted on April 14, 2014)
Great heirloom yogurt Review by Oofda
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The first batch took 24+ hours to set and the milk went sour. After that, I tried making a very small batch, which worked out just fine. I think I tried to start off too big of a batch before the culture was nicely activated.

It isn't a sour yogurt. It tastes great. My wife and I even eat this yogurt with some bread and toppings for dinner! (Breakfast like an emperor, lunch like a king, dinner like a beggar - a happy beggar)

I made sahnequark with this yogurt, also turned out great.

Note from CFH: For the health of the culture, maximum culture time for Bulgarian is 8 hours. (Posted on April 14, 2014)
pleased with yogurt and customer support Review by no longer disappointed
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When I first tried Viili it didn't work for me and I talked about being disappointed in my first review. Sarah from customer support subsequently contacted me, offering to troubleshoot with me. I took her up on her offer and was successful with the second starter. I really like the yogurt - all the commercial yogurts I've had have a somewhat bitter taste but Viili does not have that at all. I would recommend it - I don't have to keep it heated while culturing since it cultures at room temperature, which is one of the things that made me want to try it in the first place. That together with it's natural sweetness have made it my yogurt of choice. I'm also pleased with the customer support, that they went our of their way to make sure I had a satisfying experience. (Posted on April 12, 2014)
Quite satisfied Review by calmncrafty
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The viili yogurt culture arrived quickly and I jumped right in culturing the first batch. It makes the greatest mild-tasting yogurt without having to fuss with stock pots and thermometers. I love it, and I'm glad Cultures For Health has these wonderful starter cultures available.

One thing I noticed is that it seems to get thinner after being in the fridge several hours after culturing, but I'm making my yogurt thicker with the Greek yogurt maker/strainer. (Posted on April 10, 2014)
Great Beginner Yogurt Review by Erica
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I love that I don't need any special equipment or need to rig something up to keep this warmer than room temperature. It came out thinner than I expected, but still very good. (Posted on March 29, 2014)
Can't comment on taste but sets well Review by R
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I can't comment on taste because I'm not eating dairy products right now. However, my daughter seems to enjoy this yogurt. It's not as thick as commercial yogurt, but I wouldn't expect homemade yogurt to be that thick. I've made the heated kind of yogurt before. This is about the same consistency but way easier. Since temperature isn't a variable, I've had several batches consistently turn out well. I would recommend. (Posted on March 17, 2014)
mild delicious flavor and easy to make Review by Jeg
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I have been using my villi starter for a few weeks now. It is very easy to maintain and makes a mild flavored yogurt. I do strain off whey overnight to make it thicker as it is thin consistency otherwise. My only complaint would be that it isn't as thick as yogurt made with a maker but you can't beat how easy it is to make this on the counter. As I say I drain the whey off and it makes a thicker yogurt that way. (Posted on March 6, 2014)
:-( Review by vbrigham
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I got two packets of culture for viili yogurt. They both failed. The milk I mixed them with just spoiled. I had to throw it away.

Response from CFH: Please contact customer support for troubleshooting advice before discarding product. Many cultures can be saved with minor adjustments. (Posted on February 13, 2014)
confused Review by suz
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Came quickly and packaged as advertised. I like the flavor and the ease of making this but, think I may be doing something wrong. Mine is more of a "drinkable" yogurt if there is such a thing. It doesn't resemble jelly or the viscous consistency that I read it should be.

I may order new grains in the future and try again. For the time being I'll just continue to drink it.

Response from CFH: Viili Yogurt requires a culturing temperature of 70-77ºF. Please contact Customer Support for troubleshooting advice before discarding product. Many cultures can be saved with minor adjustments. (Posted on February 10, 2014)
Outstanding Product Review by dlm
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Mixed my first batch a month ago. Collected 5 tablespoons for the next batch and put in the refrigerator.
Am now on my 4th batch, and can only say, "goodbye to store bought yogurt." (Posted on February 7, 2014)
Very easy and delicious Review by Chloe
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I followed the detailed instructions to activate the Viili yogurt starter and it was a success! I was concerned about maintaining a sufficient temperature ( I keep my house cool) but it came out perfect. I continue to make yogurt almost on a daily basis. So easy! I gave a start to my daughter and she loves it too. She makes 2 quarts a day for her family. Purchase this starter, you will be amazed with how easy it is. (Posted on February 1, 2014)
Did not work for me Review by Brook
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I followed instructions, but could not get a pure culture. Tried it several times and called to trouble shoot. I have been making yogurt with a crockpot and will go back to it.

Response from CFH: Please contact customer support for troubleshooting advice before discarding product. Many cultures can be saved with minor adjustments. (Posted on January 29, 2014)
Didn't Work For Me Review by Shannon
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I desperately wanted to like the Viili yogurt starter. After reading the reviews and description, it sounded easy to make, so I gave it a try. Needless to say, I was unsuccessful with both packets of starter that come in the box. It appears that the starter is very finicky with the air temperature in the house. Although we keep our house around 72 degrees, the yogurt did not culture appropriately. All I ended up with was a whole lot of sour milk (two times!). Congrats to those that can get it to work, however, it did not work for me. The Cultures for Health website and "chat now" feature was all very helpful, but I was still unsuccessful with making yogurt. I will not be trying this product again.
(Posted on January 28, 2014)
Very disappointed Review by sllynly
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As of my first attempt, I am extremely disappointed. I was using raw milk and followed the directions very carefully but all that happened was the milk turned sour. No yogurt flavor, no thickening whatsoever. I thought I had read all the instructions available online but what came in my delivered package was different; I was also disappointed that with using raw milk I could not continue to make a fresh batch for any extended period, making it very expensive in my estimation. Definitely not the easy "culture on the counter" easy experience I was hoping for. Maybe it works great for pasteurized milk but it was a waste of money and hard to come by raw milk for me.

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)
Not happy Review by Tina
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The 2 packets of starter seemed like a small amount to get to work. Just as I thought. The amount of milk stated to start the villi went sour before the culture set. I used 1/2 of the amount of milk the second time and the same thing happened. I hope that the bread starters work better.

Response from CFH: Each packet contains enough starter to culture 1 quart milk. Please contact customer support for troubleshooting advice. (Posted on January 7, 2014)
Viili Yogurt Starter Did Not Work Review by Charmaine
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I was unable to make yogurt with the Viili Yogurt Starter. My initial activation batch was lumpy and watery. I was advised to use this to try and make another batch, but this batch also turned out lumpy and watery even though I controlled the temperature by putting a jar in a water bath in a thermos and I monitored the temp closely. After these two failures, I decided to try the second packet of Viili starter. This one failed to do anything at all. After 48 hours, I still had plain old milk. After a full week of experimentation and failed attempts, I decided to go back to making yogurt in the conventional manner. I have no problems making yogurt with heated milk, keeping it warm in a dutch oven and using organic, European-style plain yogurt as a starter. I wanted to try the Viili because room temperature yogurt sounded much easier. Sadly, this was not the case for me. I wasted time and money on the yogurt starter, as well as, on good organic whole milk that mostly went down the drain.

Note from CFH: If the initial batch does not set properly, please place a tight lid on the jar, store it in the refrigerator, and contact customer support for further troubleshooting advice and tips. (Posted on January 3, 2014)
Mold Review by MW
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I followed all the directions and kept the temp at 75 for the entire culturing, the only thing i got was a jar full of mold. Not happy at all with this culture.

Response from CFH: Please contact customer support for troubleshooting advice before discarding product. Many cultures can be saved with minor adjustments. (Posted on December 31, 2013)
not our favorite Review by vbl
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I have made yogurt for more than a decade. Vilii is simply not our favorite. The heirloom culture from Georgia yielded much better results. Vilii smelled off and tasted bad straight from the initial culture, before being incubated.

Response from CFH: Viili Yogurt is normally mild-flavored. Yogurt with a bad aroma or flavor may result from over-culturing or contamination. We are happy to help troubleshoot any culture that is not performing as expected. (Posted on December 30, 2013)
Not Great Review by None
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Got the freeze dried starter. Don't like it. The yogurt didn't set up right even after 48 hours.

Previously I got the liquid starter and had no problems.

Response from CFH: Please contact customer support for troubleshooting advice before discarding product. Many cultures can be saved with minor adjustments. (Posted on December 29, 2013)
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