How to Make Piima Yogurt

Please note that our piima yogurt starter culture is as a mesophilic yogurt, which in simple terms means it must be cultured at room temperature and does not require any special equipment. 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.

How to activate your freeze dried Yogurt Starter

Boil 250ml of full fat pasteurised milk and let it sit to bring back down to room temperature. Add the Piima freeze dried yogurt starter culture to the milk and stir very well. Allow to culture for 24-48hrs. Check after 24hrs. As soon as you notice the milk has started to change consistency (more yogurt like) remove 2 tablespoons from the mixture for the next batch before moving on to the instructions below. You can refrigerate the remaining yogurt for additional batches for up to 7 days.

Important! Activation can take up to 48hrs. Do not move on to the next step simply because the yogurt has be culturing for 24hrs. Wait until you can see a change in texture and consistency (more yogurt like) before moving on to the next step.

You will need:

  • Piima Starter Culture
  • Organic full fat milk (or non organic)
  • Glass jar with coffee filter or muslin cloth to use as a cover for the jar
  • Rubber band
  • Plastic/wooden spoon (preferably plastic)

How to make Yogurt:

  • Add the Piima starter culture (2 tablespoons from the activated culture) into a clean glass jar. We find using something with a large surface area that is also quite shallow in depth produces the best overall consistency of yogurt.
  • Pour 500ml of milk into the jar.
  • Stir the mixture.
  • Cover with a muslin cloth/kitchen paper or coffee filter paper and secure with a rubber band.
  • Store somewhere out of direct sunlight and away from a direct heat source but where the room temperature is approx 20-25C.
  • After 12-24 hours the yogurt will be set like gelatin and easily stretch when lifted with a spoon. 
  • The yogurt is set when you tilt the jar and the yogurt stays firm, not like the pourable milk you started with. It should pull away from the side of the jar as a single mass when it has set.
  • It’s possible it may take longer than 24hrs. Do not refrigerate until it has fully set. It must be fully set BEFORE you refrigerate. If it has not set you can leave it to culture for up to 48 hours. Be sure to check every few hours until it has set.
  • When it has set, cover with a tight fitting lid and refrigerate for 6-7 hours. Do not stir the mixture.
  • Once refrigerated for 6-7 hrs the yogurt is now ready to consume. Just be sure to save enough of the cultured yogurt in a glass jar and place in the refrigerator for future batches.
  • Enjoy the remaining yogurt at room temperature or refrigerate for later consumption.
  • Be sure to save some of the yogurt to add to your next batch of milk to make more yogurt.

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.

We find using half and half, that’s half milk and half cream produces a much thicker and creamier yogurt.

My yogurt has separated or turned lumpy?

If the temperature is too high or if you cultured the yogurt for too long this can cause it to separate or turn lumpy.

My yogurt too sour or not sour enough.

If you culutre the yogurt at higher temperatures this will produce a more sour tasting yogurt. Likewise, the longer you allow it to culture, the more sour it will taste.

If you find the yogurt is too sour simply culture at lower temperature with shorter culturing times until it reaches the flavour you like.

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.