Matsoni: Why Mesophilic Yogurt is the Easiest to Make

Posted on Jun 2, 2013 in Blog, Fermentation, Recipes | 14 comments

Matsoni: Why Mesophilic Yogurt is the Easiest to Make

A couple of weeks ago, I had the fantastic fortune of winning a Matsoni Yogurt Starter from Cultures for Health during their recent blog launch! I had been wanting to try making yogurt with a mesophilic culture for a while and now that opportunity has arrived.

Why Mesophilic Yogurt is the Easiest

Unlike most thermophilic yogurt that you can find at the supermarket which requires that the culture be maintained at a warm temperature while the yogurt is being made, mesophilic yogurt cultures turn milk into yogurt at room temperature (70°-78°F)! This means that you don’t need any fancy yogurt-making equipment. Furthermore, mesophilic yogurt cultures are reusable, which means that you can keep making yogurt indefinitely as long as you make yogurt from your previous batch at least once a week. So I’ve potentially just won a lifetime supply of Matsoni yogurt!

While Matsoni is the name of the culture (which originated in The Republic of Georgia) that I’ve just inherited, there are several other types, or strains, of heirloom-variety mesophilic cultures that have originated around the world. They include both Filmjölk and Viili from Finland,  Piimä from Scandinavia, and countless others. All of the cultures mentioned in this article can be purchased as reusable starters from Cultures for Health. Each culture is unique in its consistency and flavor, ranging from thin to thick and mild to pungent. I hope for the chance to try other strains of mesophilic yogurt in the future!

Matsoni: Why Mesophilic Yogurt is the Easiest to Make -


Matsoni, which also goes by the name Caspian Sea Yogurt, is slightly less tart than most yogurts with a consistency between that of store-bought yogurt and kefir. It is slightly thicker than some drinkable yogurts that you may have come across. I’ve been enjoying it in smoothies, with granola, as a creamy addition to pancakes and baked goods, and simply plain!

Matsoni Yogurt Starter from Cultures for Health

Matsoni Yogurt Starter from Cultures for Health

If you’re curious about the process of making mesophilic yogurt, it’s really quite simple. I’ll describe the process below as if you were working with a previously cultured batch of mesophilic yogurt and not the packaged powder starter. If you only have the powder starter, simply follow the instructions included in the box to rehydrate the culture and make your first batch of yogurt! The instructions below are the same for all mesophilic yogurt cultures.

Making Mesophilic Yogurt

1. For each cup of milk that you’d like to culture (i.e. turn into yogurt), measure 1 tablespoon of mesophilic yogurt from your previous batch.

2. In a glass jar, combine your milk (let’s say 2 cups) and your yogurt (2 tablespoons) and stir gently.

3. Leave this mixture, covered, on the counter for 12 to 18 hours. Ideally, your home should be 70° to 78° F.

4. When finished culturing, refrigerate the yogurt for at least 3 hours.

5. You are finished! You have just cultured 2 cups of mesophilic yogurt!

If this sounds super easy, that’s because it is! I have been pleasantly surprised at just how simple it has been to make fresh yogurt each week! I’ve been enjoying my new Matsoni culture and hope to have it around for many months, if not years, to come.

Get Started:

Click her to Make Yogurt at Home


  1. I just started a batch of villi yogurt with half and half. Is this okay?

    • Mmm. Sounds delicious & rich. Let us know how it turns out!

      • I would like to get into making flavored yogurts with no to reduced sugar. What can u recommend when using strong citrus fruit like key limes…. I lol key like Greek yogurt but worried the like will destroy the Bactria. Also, when would u recommend being the best time to add lime to homemade yogurt…

        • Sorry for whatever reason my autocorrect changed lime to like and lol I hope u still understand my question

        • I’d recommend culturing your yogurt without any additions and then just adding fruit as desired per serving when you are ready to eat it.

  2. Hi Alex! I’ve been using this exact culture from Cultures for Health for a few months now. Although I follow the directions to T (tee? tea?), the yogurt I get is usually not as creamy as the one you have pictured. I use a fabulous local milk that isn’t UHT. In fact, I used to make this culture in Japan (where it’s called Caspian Sea Yogurt) after getting some starter from a friend, and my yogurt there always turned out super creamy. Any thoughts?

    • I try to use whole milk whenever possible, but I also have found that the matsoni culture is a bit more watery than other yogurts.

  3. I’ve been using this culture since October, and I love it! I am unable to get raw milk where I live but I’ve found if I use 1 cup of 3.25% milk and 1 cup of 1/2 and 1/2 cream I end up with a nice thick yogurt. I’ve also discovered using this culture with whipping cream makes a nice creme fraiche

  4. Is it possible to do this with coconut milk? My little girl can’t have any dairy, but loves yogurt.

  5. Do you use raw milk or pasteurized? I’ve had better luck with pasteurized as far as flavor goes.

    • I use grass-fed pasteurized, non-homogenized milk but would like to try using raw milk in the near future!

  6. You can make coconut milk yogurt with the Matsoni culture, at least with the one I have (not from Cultures for Health, from an individual). I’ve been making Matsoni coconut milk yogurt repeatedly with this culture and it is tart and creamy. But it is thin unless I doctor it a bit. I add one tablespoon of organic unflavored gelatin per 13.6 oz can of coconut milk and also add a tablespoon of raw wild honey to each batch (since coconut milk has less sugars to feed the bacteria than dairy milk does). The gelatin adds thickness and also adds some protein that is lacking in coconut milk.

  7. Hello, I would like to know if you heat your milg before making yogurt….
    Many thanks


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