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, 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!
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.