Most (all?) store bought yogurts are heat set cultures. Making a heat set yogurt at home requires a bit more work, as your milk needs to be kept at a fairly warm temperature for the duration of the culture.
However, there are a number of heirloom yogurt cultures that like room temperature (because they are mesophilic). They are WAY easier to make, but the final product won’t be exactly like store bought yogurt. I think it’s like comparing a heirloom tomato with a store bought beefsteak. These yogurt cultures all have different flavours and consistencies.
Some more commonly found types of mesophilic yogurts are:
Filmjolk: a thick, mild and cheesy yogurt from Nordic countries
Matsoni: a slightly thick, sour and cheese yogurt from Caucasian countries
Viili: a gelatinous, and mild product from also from Nordic countries
I have been making matsoni yogurt this summer, but hope to try other mesophilic cultures.
- 2 cups milk
- 2 tbsp matsoni yogurt
- Combine milk and matsoni culture in a clean glass container.
- Leave it somewhere warm for 12-24 hours (until set). It prefers temperatures between 21-25 C (70-77 F).
- Store in the refrigerator.
-You need to make matsoni at least once a week to keep the culture healthy.
-I find my matsoni is thickest when we eat it within the first two days after culturing.
-If you use too much culture or leave it on the counter for too long, it will separate the solids from the whey. It’s still fine to eat, but it’s not as tasty.
-To make a thicker and creamier yogurt, you can preheat the milk to denature the whey, or stir in powdered milk. Just be sure to cool the milk before you stir in your culture.
-Be sure not to contaminate your culture by eating your yogurt right from your culturing container. I usually keep one jar for eating and a second jar for culturing, just to make sure that we don’t accidentally contaminate my culture.