What is Bulgarian yogurt starter?
A Bulgarian yogurt starter is one that contains both Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. In fact, the L. bulgaricus strain was names for its Bulgarian heritage. These two strains in combination are known to consistently produce viable yogurt. This is why they are present in most every yogurt you’ll find.
Bulgarian style yogurt is one of the oldest yogurts dating back many centuries. It was brought back to the Russia for study in the early 20th century. The motivation for such studies was the longevity of the Bulgarian people. It was determined the regular consumption of Bulgarian yogurt played a part in their long life spans. In particular, the lactobacillus strain was believed to be crucial to human health and digestion. The yogurt was also brought over to the United States in the early 20th century and has been growing in popularity ever since.
The bacteria in your Bulgarian yogurt starter are so robust that it can be used to make heirloom yogurt. This means that a small amount of yogurt can be used to start a new batch. These bacteria will maintain prober microbial balance when passed from one batch to the next. In contrast, most normal yogurt can only be used 2 or 3 times before a fresh starter is needed.
To make Bulgarian yogurt, simply culture 8 to 10 hours at 108 to 113 degrees F. If even for tartness is desired, you can ferment it even longer between 10 and 24 hours. And like most yogurt that’s been around a long time, it’s traditionally make from full fat animal milk.
Bulgarian yogurt is known for its thick texture and tart taste (more tart that regular yogurt). One of the great things about using Bulgarian yogurt starter is that the bacteria alone produce a thick yogurt. This also makes a great choice for Greek-style yogurt because less straining will be required.
PS, check out our Greek page for another option for your Bulgarian yogurt starter.