The Grow System
I’m in Alabama and can’t seem to find one. If I understand it right, it can be used perpetually, anyone know if this is correct? I love my yogurt and only recently learned about heirloom starters.
I have been making a countertop "yogurt" / "kefir" polyculture for a number of years. I have modified it using "starters" from variuous sources including probiotic supplements, commercial plain yogurts and kefirs. I started originally with buying Kefir grains from an individual and a number of mesophilic milk cultures from a business. There are now lots of places to get starters from. https://nwferments.com/ is just one of them. i have not used them. Good luck.
I love my Kefir and kombucha too but I have read that neither source makes the right flavor in inoculating yogurt. Is that not true? I’ll check out your link, thanks!
I have used Cultures for Health with good success. Here is a video they have to get you started. https://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/yogurt/choosing-a-yogurt-starter-culture/
For yogur I just use plain store bought one as a starter and than I use just twwo table spoon full of the freshly made yogurt as starter for the next batch.
This goes on and on and on.....
One of the things I love about my countertop polyculture besides the taste is the ease of making it. there is no equipment used other than a glass container that sits on the counter at room temperature. I set aside a little starter each time I make it and when the bigger container gets low, I add the starter to fresh milk and next day have a new batch. In the 70's I had a yogurt maker and used it for a while, but I have been doing my countertop culture now steadily for over a decade because it is so easy.
Anyone know if you can use flavored homemade yogurt as a starter? I usually make plain yogurt, but I tried a vanilla yogurt recipe this last time because my kids are more likely to eat it and we are still under stay at home orders (like most folks) so I'm trying to only make foods that they'll actually eat. I have seen some places say you can use flavored starter, and some (most) recommend using only plain. Don't really want to experiment with it (like I usually would) because, again, it's not as easy to replace things right now if I have a creative disaster. So, curious whether anyone else has tried using flavored yogurt as a starter and what the result was.
Thanks so much! :)
@Merin Porter depends 😉
What did you use to flavor your yogurt? Did you use plain vanilla bean or add sugar or something else?
What flavor should your new yogurt have.
For one new set of yogurt it is no problem to use the flavored yogurt as a starter. If you carry it on for a longer period the flavoring can get bad.
I've tried 3 or 4 from Cultures for Health. I love the idea of the mesophilic cultures because you can just stir them into cold milk and leave it on the counter, but I didn't love the flavor. However, their Greek yogurt starter was THE BEST YOGURT I've ever tasted. I used it with good milk too, of course, but I cannot recommend a yogurt more highly. Just saying.
Thanks everyone! I knew I could count of you guys to point me in the right direction! I’m waiting on my Greek culture now. I don’t mind using the yogurt maker because it’s so easy but I might have to break down and get an instant pot so I can do more than a half gallon at a time. My dad and I go through a lot of yogurt!
Since I cannot sleep and was looking back at old conversations I thought I would update this one with my experience chasing the heirloom yogurt. Thanks to VickiP, I ordered an heirloom Greek culture from her recommendation. Shipping took quite a while due to lockdown but was not not unexpected. My first batch was a wreck but they assured me that the culture just needed to wake up a bit so I bought another half gallon of insanely expensive grass fed, organic milk and tried again. Second batch using starter from failed batch was good. Third batch was another complete failure! I was given an instant pot for my birthday so I cannot even blame it on equipment. Then I find out that the heirloom culture has to be redone every so often. I believe it was every 5-7 days to remain viable.
Tomandcara, I finally decided that I would take your advice and combine the heirloom with a regular culture I’ve been using for years and make yogurt when I’m ready to make it. I guess I should not be so hard nosed about it since I brew water kefir and kombucha by their schedules but I am just not willing to add anything else that requires a babysitter when I want to sneak off with my husband for a weekend. I am using a culture that has 3 different strains in it so I’m hoping that the health benefits are increased as well. It sure tastes yummy and I guess that’s all that counts anyway.
@Merin Porter My Mom used to flavor yogurt made from fresh goat milk with a little jello (I'm not recommending sugar and artificial ingredients). We were a large family, and she would make 3 or 4 quarts at a time. To keep her starter pure, she would make one jar of plain yogurt.
@Owl Thank you for the update. Glad to know that you are liking what you have done. I like the metaphor of a meadow versus a lawn. The more variety of cultures you add, the less you may know what is in it, but if you like the taste, then in my mind it is a successful culture. Cultured milk was a way to preserve the milk when we didn't have refrigeration. Fresh milk would be added to the culture with each milking which definitely is different than what most of us are able to do today. I don't know enough about the historical use of culturing milk to speak with any authority, but I do know that many different societies had their traditional cultures and culturing techniques.
Thanks for the update. Always nice to learn from others experiences :)
@Jens don't know how I missed this reply and tag! Sorry about that -- I used white sugar, real vanilla extract, and powdered milk, in addition to milk and 1/2 c. of plain yogurt.
Wow, I've never even thought of that! I bet my kids would like that -- like you, I try to avoid the artificial stuff if possible, but I may keep that idea in reserve if I find myself in a pinch!