Saturday, February 5, 2011

Cultural Experiences

I thought this post title was a cute play on words, considering we are living in Rwanda and having so many different cultural experiences, but what I am talking about is yogurt cultures.  I would subtitle this post: "The easiest way ever to make yogurt.  Why make it complicated when you don't have to?"  And when I say easiest, I mean EASIEST. 

I have made yogurt in the past, tried to warm the milk to the right temperature, add the right amount of culture, keep it at the right temperature for the right amount of time, and so on.  My results?  Epic failures!  My last batch of yogurt (I used raw milk & tried to keep it "raw") was so bad that my daughter made me promise to never make yogurt again.  Honestly, it tasted horrible, like mold.

I had heard about the two kinds of yogurt: thermophilic (making yogurt by cooking) and mesophilic (made at room temperature).  I had heard that Cultures for Health has a mesophilic yogurt culture called Viili that is mild & had a nice texture.  But I hadn't been ready to try it until we were preparing to leave the US for Rwanda.  I've lived here before & I know I don't like the yogurt they make here.  I ordered some Viili and put the little packet of dried yogurt starter in my suitcase.

There is no complicated formula for making Viili, I said it was the EASIEST, remember?  You mix it with one cup milk, let it sit for 24 hours, voila, yogurt!  Want more?  Just mix one tablespoon from your batch for every one cup of milk & you can make as much as you want.  You just keep using some of the last batch to make the next batch & that's it.  Subsequent batches don't take 24 hours, usually half that.

This is one of my batches of Viili yogurt.  Why would anyone want to make yogurt any other way?  I don't know, I love it!  And just like everything else that I make homemade, I love knowing exactly what is in it.

If you want to try some of this yourself, you can click on the Cultures for Health banner on the right side of my blog.  I would recommend their products to you no matter what, but if you click through my blog then I get credit for referring you.  Cultures for Health is also where I got my Kefir grains from (I dehydrated those grains & brought them to Rwanda too, but their demise is a sad story.  The house helper saw the little paper packet & thought it was trash.  Out it went... sigh!)  If you've been intrigued by all my talk about sourdough but haven't made your own starter, you can find sourdough starter there as well. 

I am not trying to sell you anything, but I love to share with others when I find something great, and making yogurt this easy had to be shared. 


This post is a part of Monday Mania and Fight Back Fridays


  1. Does the Viii yogurt starter work with raw milk?

  2. Melissa, go to Cultures for Health website and watch the videos. They are a great source.

  3. @Melissa- you can use raw milk, they have special instructions just for raw milk users that come with the Viili yogurt starter. Unfortunately we do not have a trusted source for raw milk here, so I have not used it with anything other than pasturized milk.

    @Harold- thanks for the help!

  4. Hi Lisa, thanks for sharing this info at Monday Mania this week! How exciting that you are living in Rwanda right now .. my hubby was born in Uganda and lived there for several years and has some great early memories there. I so hope to visit one day myself.

  5. Hello... I was dropping by to read your post about viili after you commented on mine. I can't say I have ever tried any commerical cultures but LOVE the stuff from my in-laws. I see that the proportions you use are higher, one TB per cup, while I use less, one TB per quart. I wonder if this makes any difference in texture? I will try it next time. I think that there is quite possibly a difference in bacteria that could result in different products. There is no way to know what my in-laws have in theirs; they have been passing around the same starter for over a 100 years. Really. But you are right when you say this is the easiest yogurt of all time!

  6. @Sarah- that is great!
    @Ubermom- I was thinking about it more & although it is thick & jelled once finished culturing, when you stir it it does have a thinner consistency (possibly honey-like as you said). That is very awesome about your family culture- love it!


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