How to Make Bulgarian Yogurt
Please note that our bulgarian yogurt starter culture is as a thermophilic yogurt, which in simple terms means it must be cultured using a yogurt maker. It is a true heirloom starter culture that can be used indefinitely and is very easy to use. Yogurt starter cultures are freeze dried and can be stored at room temperature until the activation date on the back of the packet. If you do not plan to activate the yogurt before that date, it can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 years.
You will need:
- Starter Culture
- Glass Jars
- Organic full fat milk (or non organic)
- A yogurt maker capable of heating to 42 degrees for at least 12 hours.
How to make Bulgarian Yogurt:
- Boil 1000ml of full fat pasteurised milk and let it sit to bring back down to room temperature.
- Add the freeze dried yogurt starter culture to the mixture and stir well for 1-2 minutes to ensure it is fully incorporated.
- Place the mixture in the yogurt maker for 5-12 hours (42 degrees) until you notice the milk has started to change texture and thicken (more yogurt like). This usually happens at around 6-8 hours. (TIP) Most find reducing the temperature to 35 degrees after the first 3 hrs will produce better results. It may take a little longer but the lower heat will stop the yogurt from over fermenting.
- If the yogurt has not set after 8 hours. Leave it in the yogurt maker longer. Keep checking on it every 1-2 hours if possible. In some instances, it can take up to 16 hours to fully set.
- Once set, cover with a tight lid and and allow to cool for 2 hours at room temperature.
- You may notice that the mixture has separated into curds and whey (thick white lumps surrounded by a yellowish liquid), this is normal and expected to happen.
- Give it a good mix and place the yogurt into the fridge for at least 6 hours.
- It is now ready to eat.
- Be sure to save enough of the cultured yogurt in a glass jar and place in the refrigerator to re-culture future batches. You will need roughly one tablespoon of the culture per 1000ml of milk. Always re-culture from fresh yogurt, no older than 7 days for the very best results.
- Enjoy the remaining yogurt at room temperature or refrigerate for later consumption. It will keep in the refrigerator up to 7 days.
- Repeat at least once a week to maintain a healthy starter culture.
Note: Never place your starter culture into hot milk. Always allow it to cool back down after boiling!
Troubleshooting & FAQs:
If you experience any problems with your starter culture please contact us immediately as refunds/replacements will only be issued if you have contacted us within the first three days of receiving your live cultures.
What type of milk can I use?
You can use organic or non-organic, but whole milk makes the thickest yogurt, and is what we prefer and use.
We use dairy milk at all times and as such do not recommend this starter culture for use with goat’s milk, soy milk, or coconut milk. Although it is possible to use other milk types doing so could possibly damage or weaken the starter culture long-term.
Yogurt cultured with low fat milk is likely to be very thin.
It’s always a good idea to wait until you have some spare starter culture available before experimenting with different milk types. At least this way you can always start over if it goes wrong.
Why is it necessary to cool the cultured yogurt to room temperature for 2 hours before refrigerating?
Giving the yogurt 2 hours at room temperature allows for a slower cooling process than placing it directly in the refrigerator. This helps with the transition from hot to cold temperatures, to help maintain the health of your starter culture as sudden changes in temperature can harm the starter culture.
My yogurt has separated or turned really thin?
- If the yogurt separates, it has over fermented and been in the yogurt maker to long. Stir the yogurt and allow it to set anyway. It will end up a little thin but perfectly fine to eat still.
- If the yogurt is very thin, it has not had long enough in the yogurt maker.
How do I make a thicker yogurt?
You can make your yogurt thicker by culturing with half milk and half cream for a much thicker and creamier yogurt.
You can also strain the yogurt overnight using a cheesecloth or muslin to achieve thickness. Straining the yogurt overnight will result in a much thicker yogurt.
The instructions above indicate that you should heat/boil the milk, then allow to cool. Is it possible to skip this step, and use milk straight from the fridge? ?
The main reason to boil the milk before fermenting is to kill any bacteria that may be present in the milk as it may compete with bacteria in the starter cultures.
Heating the milk also improves the texture of the yogurt. Skipping this step will make a very profound difference to the structure of your yogurt. Without this step your yogurt will be thinner and much more fragile.
There you go!
These instructions should only serve as a guide and are a reflection of what works for us. After a while you are likely to find your own way and methods which is the beauty (and fun!) of working with Yogurt Starter Culture.
When fermenting more than one live culture at home, we suggest a distance of at least 4 feet between the cultures at all times. This is to help stop cross contamination of the different cultures and is of particular importance when culturing dairy products. The only exception to this is when cultures are being stored in the refrigerator with tight-fitting lids.