Did you know that not all yogurt starters require a yogurt maker?
While there are a handful of yogurt starters that do need a yogurt maker, our Heirloom Starter Culture Variety pack contains four yogurt starters that you can culture right on your counter top at room temperature.
Our how-to video contains step-by-step instructions for making Viili, Filmjölk, Matsoni, and Piimä yogurt varieties at home.
Before Getting Started
Viili, Filmjölk, Matsoni, and Piimä yogurt starters are all mesophilic cultures. This means that they culture best at 70º-77º F. They are also heirloom cultures meaning they are re-usable. With the proper care you can re-culture them to make batch after batch of homemade yogurt.
Keep in mind that all of these yogurts will have a thinner consistency than yogurts you find in the grocery store.
Choosing Your Milk
You can use nearly any type of dairy milk to make these yogurts, but for best results, we recommend using whole pasteurized milk.
Avoid ultra-pasteurized or UHT milk when making yogurt. You can learn more about different milks for yogurt making, in our article Choosing Milk for Making Yogurt.
If you'd prefer to use raw milk, please review these Special Considerations for Making Raw Milk Yogurt.
Choosing an Heirloom Counter Top Culture
To get started you'll want to match the number for each variety from the instruction sheet to the foil packet in the box.
Viili is a Finnish yogurt variety, Viili is very mild and creamy, with a fairly thick consistency. It’s a versatile favorite that’s perfect on its own or in any yogurt recipe. It's great for kids.
Another Finnish variety, Filmjölk has a tangy flavor reminiscent of cheese and a custard-like texture. It’s great with fresh fruit or over pie. Kids love it!
Matsoni, from The Republic of Georgia, has a thin, custard-like texture with notes of honey. Its flavor is the most “yogurty” and is a popular choice for frozen yogurt.
Piimä, a Scandinavian variety, is very thin and drinkable with a mild flavor. Culture it with cream instead of milk to make a tasty sour cream-like topping.
How to Make Counter Top Yogurt
Activate the Starter
- Pour 1-2 cups of cold milk into a glass or plastic container.
- Add 1 packet yogurt starter; mix thoroughly.
- Cover the container with a towel or coffee filter, secured with a rubber band, or put a lid on the container and culture in a warm spot, 70°-77°F.
- Check after 12 hours to see if it has set. If it has not set, culture for up to 48 hours, checking every few hours.
- Once your yogurt has set, shows any change in texture, or at the end of 48 hours, cover the container with a tight lid and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
- After 6 hours the cultured yogurt can be eaten, but don’t forget to save some for culturing the next batch!
Make Yogurt Regularly
To keep your yogurt starter healthy, you'll want to make a new batch of yogurt at least once a week using the steps below. It is very similar to the activation process, but this time you will be using yogurt from the previous batch as the starter.
- Pour 1 cups of cold milk into a glass or plastic container.
- Add 1 Tbsp. of yogurt from the last batch; mix thoroughly.
For Larger Batches: To make larger batches, use 1 Tbsp. yogurt per cup of milk up to ½ gallon of milk per batch.
- Cover the container with a towel or coffee filter, secured with a rubber band, or put a lid on the container and culture in a warm spot, 70°-77°F, for 12-18 hours.
- Check the yogurt every few hours by tilting the jar gently. If the yogurt moves away from the side of the jar in one mass, instead of running up the side, it is finished culturing.
- Once the yogurt has set, cover the container with a tight lid and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
- After 6 hours the cultured yogurt can be eaten, but don’t forget to reserve some for culturing the next batch!