Reusable Yogurt Cultures

One of my frustrations with homemade yogurt is that you can only use your yogurt a few times to start new batches. It seems to lose its ability to ferment the milk properly. Then it’s off to the store to buy fresh yogurt for starter or buy the freeze dried packages from a dairy supply. How did the people in ancient times replenish their supply? I wondered how authentic my yogurt really was.
Then I stumbled upon reusable yogurt cultures at Cultures for Health and learned there are different types of cultures. I’d been using direct set cultures that are good for a few times only. Reusable cultures can go on indefinitely. Now we’re talking. An heirloom culture is a third type that is reusable & has a distinctive flavor and consistency. Like an heirloom vegetable variety. I was intrigued.
I used their dandy chart to choose my culture. Bulgarian was my choice because it is reusable & the most popular culture in the world. I figured it must taste great.
It came with thorough instructions that even included some recipes. But, I failed to read the troubleshooting section that explained that temperatures above 112 could cause the culture to die. I was going to incubate the yogurt as I usually did on a heating pad inside a cooler. My programmable probe thermometer finally gave up the ghost after years of use, so I had no way to tell how warm it was inside the cooler. Seven hours later it appeared to have been too warm. I had a solid mass of yogurt in the middle of a lot of liquid.
I had to use my second packet of starter and begin again. This time I took a small styrofoam cooler & surrounded my starter jar with other jars filled with 110 degree water. I put the small cooler inside the larger cooler & filled the gaps with wool. Success!
вкусен кисело мляко! That’s Bulgarian for yummy yogurt. I might never have to buy another culture again to have the best tasting yogurt I’ve ever made. I should say I may never have to buy Bulgarian culture again. There are several others on that chart that I might want to try.
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Reusable Yogurt Cultures — 4 Comments

  1. Another thing, Natasha. I strain my yogurt through a layer of butter muslin to make Greek yogurt & cheese. The whey that is drained off makes a wonderful addition to your chickens diet.