Heirloom Yogurt Starter

What is heirloom yogurt starter?

Heirloom Yogurt Starter

An heirloom yogurt should contain bacteria which maintain potency between batches.  These microbes should also maintain a proper balance of bacteria over time.  Most heirloom yogurt starters are mesophilic meaning they ferment milk at room temperature.  The specific yogurt bacteria depends on the age and origin of starter.

These starters allow you to make some yogurt, save a little from that batch, and use it to start the next batch indfinitely.

This heirloom yogurt starter

variety pack contains four different starters…

Matsoni: This is a Georgian yogurt that has been mentioned by medieval writers dating back to the 11th century.  In most cases Matsoni is made with cow’s milk but other varieties include goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, and buffalo milk (source: Wiki).

Filmjolk: A yogurt very popular in Sweden, it has origins as far back as the Viking era.  It is mostly made with cow’s milk and contains cultures that are particularly good as consuming lactose.  This makes it a popular choice for those with lactose intolerance (source: Wiki).

Viili: This is a variant of Filmjolk yogurt that is also very popular in Sweden.  The main difference is that it traditionally contains both yogurt bacteria and yeast.  The yeast give Viili yogurt a thinner consistency than bacteria alone (source: Wiki).

Piima: With its origins in Finland Sweden, this yogurt is also similar to Filmjork yogurt.  It is said to be more like cultured buttermilk used as a drink or in cooking recipes (source: Wiki).


Your first activate your heirloom yogurt starter by adding a packet to a few cups up milk.  In 12 to 48 hours at room temperature, the milk should change texture to indicate the cultures are active.  Store this container in the fridge and it can now be used as a starter.  The subsequent batches should take about 12 to 24 hours to fully culture since the starter is already active.


Matsoni: This yogurt is known for its slightly tart taste and ‘ropy’ texture.

Filmjolk: The taste here is slightly tart with a thin consistency similar to kefir.

Viili: This has a mild flavor (not tart) and ropy texture.

Piima: Similar in flavor to Filmjolk but even thinner and more drinkable.

PS, check out our Bulgarian page for another heirloom yogurt starter.

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