How to Make Yogurt (Viili & Piima)

Both Viili and Piima are a Mesophilic Yogurt which in simple terms means they will culture best at a room temperature of approx 20-25C.

Like Milk Kefir, Mesophilic Yogurts (viili & piima) are one of the easiest fermented cultures to make at home, people can often over complicate things but again in simple terms – Add the the starter culture to a glass jar, add milk, let it sit, refrigerate and you are done… Just remember to save 1 tablespoon of the cultured yogurt for your next batch.

Your package will contain one sachet of dried Yogurt Starter Culture. This single starter culture can be used to make an unlimited amount of homemade yogurt.

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.

You will need:

  • Starter culture (viili or piima)
  • 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 activate your dried Yogurt Starter

Boil 150ml of full fat pasteurised milk and let it sit to bring back down to room temperature. Add the dried yogurt starter culture to the milk and allow to culture for 24-48hrs. 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 discard the remainder of the mixture as it’s no longer needed and will just spoil if left to culture for longer periods.

How to make Yogurt:

  • Add the starter culture (2 tablespoons from the activated culture) into a clean glass jar.
  • 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.
  • Repeat at least once a week to maintain a healthy starter culture.

Note: As your starter culture grows & multiplies you will need to remove some of the culture to keep to the correct ratio: 1 tablespoon of Starter Culture per 250ml of milk.

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.

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.

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.

Our products are living cultures and for best results they should ideally be used within 48hrs of receiving them. The faster the cultures are used the higher the success rate. All live cultures require settling after being shipped. It is normal for cultures to take 3-5 brews to fully settle into their new environment. Please see instructions for more details.