Happy Cheese Makers Since 1978

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    This is a sample pack of our Yogurt Cultures. With this item you will receive one each of the following Y1-Yogurt Bulgarian - 1 packet, Y3 Yogurt (DS) Creamy - 5 packets, and Y5-Yogurt (DS) sweet - 5 packets.

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    Tip from a customer!!
    "Just a tip for long incubations requiring temperatures of 86-100F: If your oven has a Proofer setting, you can use that. If not, you can use a poor mans proofer, in which you boil 2 cups of water in a pot or large glass measuring cup, cover it and put it in the oven for 15 minutes while you heat your milk. Remove the pot and put in the cultured milk. The oven will stay a balmy 92-96F for hours!!"

    Jim, our tech man, had this to add: There are many other ways to do this as well. Mine is to use an insulated cooler with bottles of warm water to hold the temps. This will keep your oven open for use and you can move the cooler out of the way.

    Q. I attended your cheese 101 class a couple of years ago and have been making homemade yogurt with the Yogotherm and your cultures ever since then--love it! I do have two questions:
    1. Why do you have to heat the milk up to 185 and then cool to 112?
    2. How much temperature variation do you have with the temps? if the milk heats to a bit more than 185 or cools to less than 112.

    A. The heating to 185 is what is needed to prepare the whey proteins for the thick yogurt and the cooling to 112 before adding the culture is the temp at which they work best. I bring mine back to 112F but it does cool to 102-108F over the 4-5 hours I ripen it.


    You may have noticed some differences in our yogurt directions regarding the amount of milk one packet will set. The reason for this is that they are all correct, but different. Each packet sets 2 quarts of milk in 6-12 hours. If you let it set longer(18-24 hours) each packet will set up to one gallon of milk. The longer the set, the more acidic the yogurt, so if you like it to be sweeter, you should choose to set 2 quarts in the shorter time.

    For more questions and answers about yogurt at our blog, click here.

    1. How do I use my Yogotherm?

    There are many ways to keep your milk at ripening temperatures, however, most folks find our Yogotherm to be the easiest. If you plan to set your milk for long periods, we would suggest doing a pre-heat of the container at about 120F (which is usually your hottest tap water). Dump this when your milk is ready and close up immediately. To clean the Yogotherm, simply remove the inner liner, wash and dry.

    2. Can I re-culture the yogurt cultures?

    Yes, if you are inoculating the fresh batch with another batch that is only a week or so old. However, in time, the culture balance will change and the yogurt will become more and more acidic. We recommend re-culturing only once or twice before starting with a new packet of culture.

    3. Which culture is best for making Greek-style yogurt?

    They all work well for this. Simply strain the yogurt in butter muslin or a yogurt strainer until it is as thick as you wish it to be.

    4. I am allergic to cow's milk and there is dry milk powder in the culture packets.

    Yogurt cultures contain miniscule amounts of dry milk powder-less than .01%. It is consumed by the bacteria since it is there to provide fuel to get them started from their dry state.

    5. What is the difference between the I. bulgaricus in your Bulgarian yogurt and the other kinds of bulgaricus in your other yogurt cultures?

    None of them are single strains. They are all different complex strains of bulgaricus.

    6. Can I use my favorite yogurt (which has probiotics in it) as a starter?

    Yes, you can re-culture or add an element from one yogurt to another batch. However, the problem is that since these cultures rely on a balance, and it would be very difficult to keep this balance, the final product will be very different from the original. Also, you will have no idea which cultures were active.

    For example, our Bulgarian style yogurt is a good one to re-culture because the two primary cultures work well together, but if you added another culture to that, it would probably get squeezed out due to their strong competitive nature. With the introduction of more and more probiotic cultures (bifidus) the yogurts have become more complex.

    If you are looking for probiotics, our sweet yogurt culture contains acidophilus and bifidus.  For more info about probiotics at our blog, click here.

    7. Can I use your cultures to make soy yogurt?

    Yes, although they do contain a slight amount of dry milk powder (to feed the bacteria).  We are always looking for recipes for alternative "yogurts," so if you have any, send them to Moosletter@cheesemaking.com.  We currently have one article with soy recipes at our blog- Soy Cheese with Louise Dutton.


    What is Yogurt?

    True yogurt is defined by a very specific process that dates back in time but no one really knows how old it is. It has evolved as a natural way to preserve milk by converting lactose to lactic acid with natural dairy cultures.

    Traditional Yogurt was made with boiled milk but today only heated to about 185ºF. This process prepares specific whey proteins found in milk but not normally involved in the cheese making process (most of these usually run off in the whey in hard cheese production). Their primary role is to form a thick gel with the activity of specific cultures. The higher temperatures of the yogurt making process is what changes these whey proteins to form the thick texture associated with yogurt.The specific cultures involved are Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus and together work in a way that benefits both cultures. The preferable balance between these two cultures is a 1:1 ratio and it is this balance that is important to maintain. The primary role of the cultures is to convert lactose to lactic acid as well as several other flavor components found in yogurt. These are Acetic Acid (vinegar), Diacetyl (butter), and Acetaldehyde (green apples). You may also find several other cultures in yogurt today often labeled as "Probiotics" such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Streptococcus lactis.

    Modern Yogurt in the western world dates back only to the early 1900s, was not produced in the US in any large amounts until 1940, and never really became popular until the 1970s when Dannon (originating in Spain not France) popularized their version. What currently passes as Yogurt now is a product thickened with many additives and sweetened for the mass market. It is also commonly sold in a low fat version as well.

    A true yogurt will release whey when the surface is broken (this can simply be poured off or stirred back in). This is because there are no thickeners or emulsifiers added to the yogurt - simply milk and cultures. Modern yogurts rely upon these emulsifiers to keep this separation from happening.

    Our Yogurt Cultures:

    Our Y1 Bulgarian Yogurt is the most traditional and the tangiest yogurt we sell.

    This yogurt is most like the traditional eastern European style yogurts and provides the thickest texture of all of our yogurts. It also sets in half the time of the other two yogurts Y4 and Y5.
    (This is Jim's favorite and the one he uses as a culture for many of his Italian style cheeses since these all work best at this 1:1 ratio balance of the thermo/bulgaricus starter cultures)

    Our Y4 Yogurt is tangy although a but milder than the Bulgarian Yogurt.

    This is the most neutral flavor of the yogurts we sell and is the perfect one for blending with fruits and natural sweeteners such as maple and honey. It has enough acid to blend with berry fruits, etc.

    Our Y5 Sweet Yogurt with Acidophilus and Bifidobacterium is the most probiotic culture we have.
    This Yogurt has the creamiest texture of all our yogurt cultures and the least amount of acidity. The texture of the Y5 will be more viscous or honey like than the other 2. This would be a great yogurt for cooking and making yogurt sauces and condiments such as an Indian Raita (a mildly spiced yoghurt with cucumber, carrot and tomato pieces to cool down spicy curries).

    Can you save money making your own yogurt?

    Yes, considering that a half gallon of milk will cost $2.50-$3 and a quart of yogurt costs $4.50-$5.00 you can make your own yogurt for 1/4-1/3 of what it costs to buy it. The real benefit however is that you will know what is going into your yogurt AND you can make it the way you like it.

    How to make yogurt using our Yogotherm

    Our Yogotherm is a simple tool for home cheesemakers that will provide a great container for culturing your yogurt (as well as the fresh cheeses and cultures for cheesemaking). It uses a very simple but efficient insulation system for keeping the cultures in the proper temperature range during the process. The Yogotherm contains an insulated outer shell with base and lid plus an insert container and sealing lid. Simple but very effective. The thermometer can also be found on our website.

    We begin by pouring 1/2 gallon cold milk into a heavy stainless pot for heating. The next and probably most important step in making Yogurt is to heat the milk to 185ºF, and then hold it there for 10-20 minutes. This will prepare the whey proteins which are largely responsible for the thickening of the yogurt body. This can be done by setting the milk pot directly on the burner and begin heating with careful stirring to prevent scorching of the milk .
    We hear from many folks using raw milk that they prefer not to heat the milk above 102ºF to protect the natural cultures in the milk. This is fine but it will not thicken without the addition of milk powder, carrageenan or other thickeners. Also it will NOT be yogurt in the traditional sense.

    The next step is to cool the milk as quickly as possible. I tend to cool the milk to 120º-125ºF before pouring the milk into the yogotherm container to avoid the cooler container reducing the temperature too much. I then continue cooling to my target temperature for innoculating the yogurt right in the yogotherm container. This can range from 115ºF to 108ºF and lower, however the lower temperatures will produce a thinner texture and take longer to complete the fermentation. The lower temperatures will change the relative activity of the various culture components.
    We normally cool the milk by running cold water around the yogotherm container. Stop a degree or two before the desired temperature is reached to avoid overcooling the milk.

    When the milk reaches the proper temperature for inoculation. It is time to add the direct set yogurt culture (as per culture instructions), it will be a mix of Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus plus any probiotic additions the culture may contain.
    Instead of adding a new culture you may use 1-2% by volume of milk (usually 1 heaping tablespoon per quart) of a recently made yogurt. However be aware that the previously made yogurt may be changing its culture balance and successive batches may become more acidic. We find that we can do this 8-10 times before we feel it is time for a new culture.

    According to the standard of identity established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in order for a refrigerated product to be called "yogurt," it must be produced by culturing permitted dairy ingredients with a bacterial culture, which contains Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus.

    Your next step will be to incubate the cultured milk for the required time. This can be done easily by using our Yogotherm or another insulated container. The best approach here is to preheat the outer container before inserting the inner container of milk with culture added. We do this simply by pouring hot water into the insulated base of the yogotherm and allow it to heat up while heating our milk. Once our cultured milk is ready we simply pour out the tempering water and insert the container. This will be adequate to keep the milk at the correct temp for several hours .
    Place both covers on the yogotherm container and then you need to let it set quietly for several hours. Y1 will take about 3-5 hours depending on temperature control. Y4 & Y5 will take 8-10 hours and will not be as tangy as the Y1.

    The time of incubation will determine the thickness and texture of the final yogurt as well as the final acidity. In our cheese room we use a separate clock to monitor the process. We set it to 12:00 and then simply monitor that for time. In your kitchen a timer works just fine.
    Longer times and/or higher temperatures will make a thicker yogurt and a tangier flavor. Shorter times and/or lower temperatures will make a sweeter but thinner yogurt.

    Yogurt ready to ripen

    Setting the timer

    The finished yogurt ready to chill
    Your final step will be to chill the yogurt as quickly as possible as soon as you find that the texture and acidity is to your liking. Once cooled, it will have a much more solid texture.

    Drained Yogurt:

    "Greek Style" or drained yogurt such as produced by "Fage" is one of the current 'hot items' in dairy. It provides a more concentrated yogurt flavor and a rich creamy texture for mixing with fruit, herbs, etc. The other advantage for the lactose intolerant folks is that it reduces the lactose level of yogurt even further than regular yogurt by draining the residual lactose away with the whey.

    To make this at home simply spoon your yogurt into a strainer lined with a Butter Muslin cloth and let it drain for several hours until you have achieve the desired thickness. You can use any one of our delicious yogurt cultures to make this.

    The yogurt draining is begun by first sanitizing a spoon, strainer, and draining cloth into which you spoon your prepared batch of yogurt .

    You can now gather the 4 corners of the cloth and hang the yogurt to drain. The longer you drain it and the higher the temperature, the thicker the yogurt will be.
    Once the yogurt has achieved the thickness you like, you may then transfer it to a container and refrigerate. If you have collected the whey as shown here, this is a great high protein beverage. You can also use it in cooking and baking.

    Yogurt and Health:

    There are many claims to yogurts health benefits especially in the "Probiotic" realm but science is still working the facts out here. Currently "Acidophilus" and "Bifidobacterium" are two cultures that survive in the digestive tract and have positive effects in enhancing immune responses.

    Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus do not survive the initial digestion phases particularly well nor reach the gastrointestinal tract in great numbers, but they can improve lactose digestion in some individuals and may help promote a healthy immune system. The combination of these two bacteria will convert a large percentage of milk lactose to lactic acid. Jointly they will convert more than either culture separately. This is primarily why yogurt can be consumed by lactose intolerant individuals. For the extremely lactose intolerant, simply draining the yogurt further (see "Drained Yogurt" above) reduces almost all of the residual lactose which drains off with the whey.

    More Notes on Yogurt:

    • Yogurt from goats milk will always be thinner because the proteins in this milk are so different than cows milk. This can be improved by adding 3 tablespoons dry milk powder for each quart to the goats milk.
    • Adding dry milk powder to milk will increase the amount of lactose and thus increase the residual lactose in the final yogurt.




    Description of Components 

     X Wheat  
       X Other Cereals containing gluten  
       X Crustaceans   
       X Eggs  
       X Fish  
       X Peanuts   


     X   Milk (including lactose)
       X Nuts  
       X Celery  
       X Mustard  
       X Sesame Seeds  
       X Sulphur Dioxide & Sulphits (> 10 mg/kg)  
       X Lupin  
       X Molluscs  


    Based on 17 Reviews


    Excellent Starting Point for Yogurt Making

    Before buying this sample pack, I had no idea how the balance of thermophilus and bulgaricus strains would affect the taste of my output. This pack makes it possible to compare the three types of yogurts (sold here at least) side-by-side. Personally, I've found the Y3 and Y1 packages to taste better.



    Great to try each Variety!

    I occasionally teach yogurt making workshops and I always have the three kinds for people to to try. They all love tasting the differences and deciding which one they like best. Try the taste tests with friends and family for a fun way to experience yogurt! They will keep a long time in the freezer!


    • Incredible%20taste
    • %20Richness
    • Easy
    • Prep%20time
    From: Portland, OR

    New to making yogurt? Start here!

    I purchased cups, pints and gallons of yogurt from the grocery stores for years not realizing how easy it was to make my own yogurt that tastes tremendously better plus has a more robust texture. What's not to love?!


    • Great%20taste
    • Easy%20to%20use
    • None
    From: Salt Lake City, Utah

    Great Tasting Yogurt

    I bought this sample pack so I could try each one to see which one I like best. They are all wonderful and work great. I make Greek style yogurt and I love the Sweet and the Creamy styles the best. These are great tasting cultures and well worth the price.


    From: Calgary, AB, Canada

    New to Yoghurt? Start here!

    I purchased this package after using commercial yoghurt as a starter for a few batches. I wanted to see the difference with an actual culture and I was so pleased with my results. The yoghurt culture from these packages turned out a much more yoghurt-y flavour, as well as a much nicer texture. I enjoyed trying the different cultures and it allowed me to choose a favourite for my next order.


    From: Central VA

    Variety and easy

    If I knew how easy making yogurt is, I would have done it sooner. This product makes it even easier. I keep the cultures in the freezer until I'm ready to make a batch, then save a few tablespoons to culture over the next several batches. I use farm fresh milk which I heat for about 20 minutes and it sets up nice and thick within 6 hours with good flavor.


    From: Middletown Springs, VT

    Great Variety!

    I have used all three cultures and enjoy them all! I have taught yogurt making workshops a number of times at the VT Fermentation Festival and I always make all three cultures for people to try. If you are just starting out making yogurt, I highly recommend trying these different cultures. You won't be disappointed!


    • variety
    • price
    From: Wyoming

    Excellent selection

    Love having this variety pack on hand...the varieties for the price are great and I like all of them!



    Which one?

    I had never made yogurt, let alone yogurt with goats milks. This was a great way to sample and see which I preferred for both texture and taste. They all worked well but I liked the sweet best!



    I love the fact that I could buy this and have it shipped to my sister, for a trip I took to see them. We made yogurt at her house and they all loved it. This assortment let them try the different kinds and decide on a favorite. My nieces enjoyed the project, and liked getting to help make something they could enjoy with some lemon curd we also made. Good for some education, disguised as fun!


    From: Providence, RI

    Great way to sample each yogurt

    Fantastic starter pack! It allows you to try each of the different yogurt types. All were very good, but I found out that my family prefers the sweet (so now I just purchase that). I am horrible about saving a bit of yogurt to start a new batch with, and I usually just use one packet for each half gallon of milk. However, I have made yogurt a couple of times with the pre-made yogurt from these cultures and it has come out great. No matter how I do it, it's always rich and creamy.



    Best yogurt!

    So simple and so good. Very happy with all that I purchase from you!



    Loved trying the different types of yogurt. Any type makes a great, consistent product.


    • great%20tasting
    • good%20value
    From: Texas


    I enjoy purchasing this pac of culture for my yogurt. It is fun to have a choice as to what I can make. The variety is what appeals to me.


    • Variety

    I love the yogurt sample pack. I find it extremely easy to make homemade yogurt and love having the option to make different types.


    • convenient
    • %20options
    • %20cost%20effective
    From: Arlington, VA


    I've been buying and using these sample packs for homemade yogurt nearly eight years. Making yogurt is super simple, cost effective (making it at home is 1/3 of the price of store bought), and it tastes so much better. I enjoy having options for the type of yogurt I'm making (sweet or tangy) altough the taste difference is mild. I've been recommending these bacteria packs and www.cheesemaking.com/store to friends and family for years.



    Good value

    This is a good value for getting started making yogurt (and yogurt cheese.) It lets you try out all three to see which one you like the most. My personal preference is the Y5 Sweet yogurt.

    Since you can re-culture yogurt, this pack could supply me with more yogurt than I need for 6 months or longer.

    My only con is that it doesn't really need to have 5 packets each of Y4 and Y5. Two would be enough for a sample pack. After trying all three I would order a regular pack of the one I like.