Questions and Answers
Is this a heirloom starter?
Yes it is! Bacillus Bulgaricus is a heirloom starter with live cultures in it. Which means that you can make virtually unlimited amounts of yogurt by simply reusing some yogurt from your previous batch and use it to culture your new batch.
My yogurt didn’t thicken! Why?
There are several possible reasons why it could have happened. Occasionally, yogurt may take longer to thicken than specified in the instructions. This can happen when the ambient temperature is low for example. It is very important to maintain proper temperature (see the instructions). If this happens, simply let the yogurt stay longer than indicated and this will likely resolve the issue. Simply check the yogurt every two hours or so and place it in the fridge once the culturing process is complete (the yogurt is firm when done).
It didn't work!
Sometimes it takes some people more than one try to get this to work but they usually get it right the second time around. Here is a checklist to see if you've done everything right:
- make sure you introduce the starter when the milk is not too hot or too cold. doing so will either kill or will not activate the bacteria in the starter
- make sure you keep the culturing yogurt warm for the entire duration of the process. getting too cold to quickly will stop the yogurt making process and you'll get liquid half-yogurt
- make sure that the lid of your container is not air-tight closed (or if it is that there is enough air inside the container). The bacteria needs air to procreate so don't let it suffocate
- make sure you've stirred long enough. if you skip that step you might get lumpy or liquid yogurt
I get liquid in my yogurt! What's that?
It is called whey and is completely normal to appear during yogurt making. It's water so you can either discard it or keep it and eat it or cook with it. If you are getting too much whey then adjust your temperatures a bit - that may mean you're introducing the bacteria when yogurt is warmer or colder than it should be. It could also mean that your milk is not the fat content it says in the carton.
Why should I bother buying yogurt starter? There is yogurt in the store!
Making your own yogurt has a lot of benefits - it's healthier, easy, fun, and cheaper. A healthy, self-perpetuating starter culture like the type we have available on our website allows you to make a small one time investment in a starter culture and then all you have to buy is milk or cream. The process is simple. You simply add the yogurt starter culture to the milk, mix and allow it to sit on the counter. After the yogurt is finished culturing, move the yogurt the fridge for a few hours to complete the culturing process. Here is how much you are paying for yogurt from the store: $.09 - $.19 per oz. Here is how much you are paying for yogurt when you make it yourself: $.04 per oz.
What are the ingredients of your yogurt starter?
The yogurt starter contains live lactic acid bacteria from two strains -- lactobacillus bulgaricus and streptococcus thermophilus. The bacteria are in a minute (very small) quantity of organic dried skimmed milk powder, which is completely consumed during the fermentation process, resulting in a lactose-free yogurt (or a dairy-free yogurt if non-dairy milk is used). For more details see our product information page.
Which bacteria strains do your yogurt starters contain?
Each pack contains loose powder of Lactobacillus Bulgaricus and Streptococcus Thermophilus bacteria in a perfect combination to make the most delicious yogurt. In particular - the packs contain freeze-dried live lactic acid bacteria in a minute amount of bio skim milk powder medium with guaranteed minimum strength of 2.5x109 cfu/g or 25 billion cfu per gram of culture.
Is this a dairy-free yogurt starter?
No. The packs contain a small amount of bio skim milk powder. However, that powder is entirely consumed during incubation, which allows you to make dairy-free yogurts using this yogurt starter. Also the normal dairy yogurt made with this yogurt starter is naturally lactose-free since the bacteria eats up all the lactose during the incubation process.
Can I use your starter to make soy (or non-dairy) yogurt?
Yes you can! Not only soy, but also coconut yogurt, peanut yogurt, pumpkin seeds yogurt and many more non-dairy types of yogurt. In fact, with your order you get a FREE yogurt making handbook that contains many dairy and non-dairy yogurt making recipes.
Is this a room-temperature yogurt starter?
Yes and no. You can make the yogurt at room temperature. But for best results we advise to heat up the milk so you kill any bacteria present in it first. For full yogurt making instructions, see here.
Do I need to buy yogurt starter each time I make yogurt?
No. This is a heirloom yogurt starter. With proper care, our yogurt cultures are self perpetuating and can last indefinitely. You simply reserve a small amount of yogurt from a previous batch to make a new batch, saving you lots of money over buying commercial products! However, since the bacteria mutates, we recommended to use fresh starter every time when you notice a change in taste of your new yogurt compared to your previous batch.
Do I need a yogurt maker?
No. You have everything you need to make yogurt at your home. See the 6 easy steps for making Bulgarian yogurt at home.
How to make a thicker yogurt?
Add half-and-half to the milk before you heat it up. Half a carton of half-and-half to a gallon milk is the perfect proportion.
Can I use goat milk to make yogurt?
Yes, you can use goat, cow, buffalo or sheep's milk to prepare yogurt. Each one will have different taste qualities but as long as you are using our yogurt starter, they will all have the uniqueness of Bulgarian milk.
Can I use non-homogenized milk to make yogurt?
Yes. Non-homogenized milk makes wonderful yogurt. The only difference you will see when making yogurt with non-homogenized milk is that the cream will rise to the top of the yogurt just like it does with the milk so the top layer of the yogurt will be more yellow in color.
Can I use low fat milk to make yogurt?
Yes, but the resulting yogurt will be much thinner in consistency than yogurt make with whole milk (see below for information on straining your yogurt to create thicker yogurt). Fat is what makes natural yogurts thick. Commercially available low-fat yogurts include additives and stabilizers to make them unnaturally thick.
How do I make flavored yogurt?
There are several options for flavoring homemade yogurt without processed sugar. Be sure to wait until the homemade yogurt making process is completed before adding sweetener or flavorings. This ensures that the bacteria necessary to culture the yogurt is not disturbed. The best tasting sweetener for homemade yogurt is raw honey. Raw honey adds not only a pure sweetness to the yogurt but also has a number of health benefits. If you prefer a fruity flavor try sugar-free jam. Sugar-free jam comes in a number of varieties and is readily available. Just stir a little jam into your finished homemade yogurt. Flavored liquid stevia drops also can be used to add fruity, chocolate or other flavors. Stevia drops are often available at health food stores. Flavor extracts such as vanilla extract can also be used. We recommend using pure flavor extracts versus artificial extracts.
How do I store the yogurt starter? When does the yogurt starter expire?
Store the packs in the freezer. Put open packs in a ZipLock bag to avoid moisture getting inside. You can store them up for up to two years although we've seen 4 year old pack make wonderful fresh yogurt as well. See more product related info here.
I purchased the 30 litres pack, can I split that and use it several times?
Certainly. Just make sure you use enough to culture your milk (we recommend about 2 grams per 4 litres/1 gallon) and store the rest for future use. However, keep in mind that the packs are marked for what volume their contents can make when used entirely, so if you are splitting a 30 litre pack making 1 litre every time you probably won't be able to get 30 doses out of it. We always suggest to buy packs for the volume you make each time.
How little of the starter can I use?
This is a very strong yogurt starter so just a tip of a teaspoon is all that's needed to turn 4 litres / 1 gallon of milk into yogurt. if you are new at this, we recommend using a bit more the first time until you get the process right, then gradually decrease the quantity until you feel comfortable with the amount of starter to use for your usual batch size.