Viili, Fil Mjolk, Caspian, Piima, and Buttermilk Instructions

Viili, Fil Mjolk, Caspian, Piima, and Buttermilk Instructions

How to Make Viili, Fil Mjolk, Caspian, Piima, and Cultured Buttermilk



Thank you for purchasing from us! We will help you along the way with any questions you may have regarding your yogurt starters ~ please do not hesitate to email us with any questions or concerns.

These yogurts are pretty much made the same way but do have slight differences, which we will point out. You may only be trying one or two at this time, but we are including instructions for all for convenience and also to introduce you to the other types of yogurts we offer, if you are interested.

The most important thing is that even if you are an experience yogurt maker, please read these instructions in their entirety before culturing. These are very different than traditional yogurts. For one thing, you CANNOT use heat with them. You CANNOT use a yogurt maker. This will KILL the culture. These are called mesophilic yogurts, whereas ones that use heat are thermophilic.

 ***Your culture(s) may smell yeasty or sour from the travel. There also may be separation. Please be assured that this is perfectly fine and normal and does not necessarily indicate what your finished product will be like, nor indicate a spoiled culture.

Matsoni (pronounced “madzoon”) Caspian Sea Yogurt:

**CSY is a fermented milk yogurt from the Republic of Georgia. It is smooth and creamy with a mild, slightly tart savor.   In Japan, it is poured over cakes, salads, and fresh fruits and is relished sweetened with a little honey.

 Viili (pronounced “Fee Lee Ah”):

**Viili is a fermented milk yogurt from Finland. It is thick and viscous, almost jelly like. It is mildly sweet and pleasant tasting. Viili thrives on cream. Make it with half and half for a rich dessert. Eat it plain, served with fruit and berries, or sweetened with honey, sugar, or Stevia. Because of its gelatinous texture, Viili makes delicious parfaits.

Fil Mjolk (pronounced “Feelmjolk”):

**Fil Mjolk is fermented milk yogurt that comes from Sweden. It makes a creamy custard yogurt with a very pleasant buttermilk taste and is delicious eaten plain or served with fresh fruit. You can also make clotted cream by making Fil Mjolk with half and half and enjoy what the Europeans call Crème Fraiche (pronounced “Crem-Fresh”), served as a dessert topping. Fil Mjolk is a thinner yogurt that needs part cream to make it thicker if you desire and thicker consistency.

Piima (pronounced “Pee Ma”):

**Piima is a Scandinavian fermented milk yogurt, a soft custard yogurt that is light and creamy with a slight buttermilk tang and a mild cheese flavor perfectly blended. It is ideally suited for making buttermilk salad dressing – just add your favorite spices and vinegar and mayonaisse. It is also good eaten plain or with added fruit or fruit juices.  


**Cultured buttermilk is a refreshing drink as well as a great addition to recipes such as pancakes and biscuits! It is also consumed as a beverage and is teeming with enzymes and is high in potassium, calcium, vitamin B12, and riboflavin. Please note below that you need a greater ratio of starter to milk when culturing buttermilk.

Instructions for fresh (not dried) cultures (please scroll down if you received dried):

For Viili, Piima, Caspian, and Fil Mjolk (see slightly different instructions below this section for the Buttermilk):

If you have a DRIED culture, see instructions for the dried yogurts below for your first batch, to reconstitute your preserved culture.

(*For ALL yogurts, fresh AND dried, see below the section “FOR RAW MILK USERS” for additional steps FIRST if you are using raw milk*)

***Please begin culturing as soon as possible, as the yogurt has traveled and needs some food! Upon receipt, store in refrigerator until ready for use. It needs to be cultured within a day of receiving.

*You can use any type of milk, organic or non, but whole milk makes the thickest yogurt, and is what we prefer. We personally use raw organic whole milk for all of our cultures.

*These are NOT recommended for use with soy, goat’s milk, or coconut milk. We do not have experience or instructions for alternate milk uses, as we do not recommend them.

Goat’s milk will make a much thinner yogurt so be aware of that.

*For all yogurts, using half and half (half milk and half cream) produces a much thicker and creamier yogurt.

***For fresh yogurt starter, we have included 2 Tablespoons of starter. Place the starter in a glass jar and pour 2 cups of milk over it. What helps in getting all of the thick starter out of the bag is taking some of your 2 cups milk, add it to the bag, shake it a little, and then pour that into the jar.

No need to heat the milk or warm it at all. Straight from the fridge is fine.   Stir the culture into the milk very well, nice and vigorous, you always want to use a ratio of 1 tablespoon starter per 1 cup milk for these cultures. Cover with a coffee filter or paper towel (something that will allow air in but keep fruit flies out – not cheesecloth) and a rubber band.

LABEL YOUR YOGURTS, SO YOU DON’T GET THEM MIXED UP. We write on our jars with a Sharpie marker.

Allow to culture undisturbed on the counter at room temperature (68-86 degrees) and out of direct sunlight for about 12-18 hours, until set. If your house is warm, it may not take that long. You must monitor it. If your house is cool, then wrap the jar in a thick towel (yet do not cover the top) to help insulate. Yogurt is set when you gently tilt the jar and the yogurt stays firm. It will pull away from the jar somewhat on the sides when it is considered set. You may see a thin layer on top that will slide aside when you tilt, but for the most part it will be gelled, not pourable thin milk anymore.

IT COULD TAKE LONGER THAN 18 HOURS, so please do not refrigerate until FULLY SET!  It MUST be set BEFORE you refrigerate. Do not refrigerate simply because it has been 18 hours. It needs to fully SET.

Be sure and check it often. Once set, cover with a tight fitting lid and refrigerate for 6 hours. DO NOT MIX before this. Do not take any from the batch just yet to start a new batch.  

Now it is ready to enjoy!!!!!

Be sure and reserve some yogurt for your next batch (do not consume it all). Depending on how much you want to make next time, remember you want to reserve 1T. of yogurt (pure yogurt, removed BEFORE you add sweeter, fruit, or anything else) per cup of milk for your next batch, and so on.

***For dried yogurt starter, we have sent your starter dried on a cotton ball. This is an ideal easy medium to use to preserve a culture. What you want to do is put the cotton ball in a small glass jar and pour JUST one-half cup milk over the cotton ball. (Note that the dried starter will make a smaller initial batch than the fresh, but by your second batch you can make a significantly larger amount, using the 1T. fresh starter per 1c. milk ratio as outlined in the fresh yogurt instructions). You want to use a small jar like a pint sized jar, with not a very wide bottom, so that the milk will be deep enough for the cotton ball. Place a coffee filter or paper towel over the top and secure with a rubber band, as noted above in the fresh starter instructions. Culture at room temp. as noted above as well, only with the dried medium, it may take 24-48 hours to set. IT ALSO MAY TAKE LONGER.  Do not refrigerate until completely set. Please read the fresh yogurt instructions above for the specific description that indicates when it is set. You can poke the cotton ball down into the milk 1-2 times during the culturing to help it get wet again. This helps sometimes. Refrigerate for 6 hours after it sets.

THEN remove the cotton ball and discard. You now have one-half cup of yogurt to use for your next batch. Use the ratio of 1 Tablespoon per 1 cup of milk in making the yogurt now, as noted in the fresh starter instructions. If you are using raw milk, please take into account the additional instructions below.


**Directions are the same for buttermilk EXCEPT that you need a greater ratio of starter to milk in making it. You will need one-fourth cup fresh starter to 1 cup milk. So, 1 part starter and 4 parts milk. We send one-fourth cup fresh starter. If you are receiving dried starter, follow the instructions above, except you will notice you have two cotton balls of starter for this item, since it does require more starter per quantity of milk.


*Be sure to keep all cultures separate from other ferments – other yogurts, sourdough, kefir; anything else that is fermenting on your counter. You want them several feet apart or they will cross-contaminate each other and weaken the cultures eventually. At least 7 feet apart is ideal. We often culture in totally separate rooms.

*Always use freshly cleaned jars and utensils. DO NOT use metal at all. Mix with plastic or wooden spoon. Remember to also not use the same spoon for other yogurts, or else you will cross contaminate.

*Reculture at least once a week to maintain viability.  What that means is just make a new batch weekly with your starter to keep it going strong.   After a week, the yogurts tend to develop a yeast taste, which is not palatable to some, but you can still use it to make your next batch. We consume within a week for this reason.  Yogurts made with full cream will last longer.

***Separation – with any yogurt, if you culture too long, it will separate into curds and whey. You will see liquid whey on the bottom of the jar. That means you cultured too long, so try to avoid that. Remember, you can check for firmness by tilting the jar slightly. You want to refrigerate then, before it separates. If you do culture until separation though, just spoon out 1T. of the thickest part of the yogurt, and begin anew. What we do is culture in the early evening – then by morning it is usually done, and you can refrigerate before you have to leave for the day. Then there is no worry that it might culture too long.  

These yogurts will sometimes grow a white fuzzy layer on top. This is just airborne yeasts and completely normal, and it can be consumed or scraped off and discarded. This is NOT mold.


*If you are using raw milk, you need to keep a pure seed starter going at all times using heated and cooled milk. Make your first batch using boiled milk which is then allowed to cool to about 80 degrees or so.  You just heat till the milk starts to rise in the pot (be careful as it rises quickly and will overflow quickly!) and then turn the heat down and let simmer for 3 minutes. Then remove from the burner and let cool. Make yogurt as indicated above using this milk, and then set in the refrigerator. Then use yogurt from that batch to now make your cold raw milk yogurt. Do NOT use all of the heated milk batch as you will need maintain a supply of that in order to use for starter every time you make raw milk yogurt. Consume entirely your raw milk yogurt batches, as you cannot use any of that to make future batches. The raw milk in the yogurt will eventually weaken the culture as the bacteria in the milk will eventually overtake the bacteria in the culture. Using a pure seed starter every time avoids this problem and helps your culture remain strong. At least once a week, reculture your heated milk yogurt batch using starter from it and heated and cooled milk again. Basically make a new pure seed starter at least once a week to keep it fresh.

****Recipe for soft yogurt cheese:

*You can use any of the four yogurts to make a soft yogurt cheese that is much like cream cheese. In a stainless steel pan, gently heat a pint or more of yogurt, stirring continuously, to just below the boiling point. You will see it will change from thick to thin. When very small curds form and it becomes grainy, remove from heat and allow to cool. Pour into double lined cheesecloth (we sell unbleached cheesecloth for this in our store if you are interested.) suspended over a bowl so the whey can drip freely. A very soft cream cheese will form in an hour or so, and a more pliable cheese spread if you leave it several hours or overnight, in the refrigerator.  

****Recipe for Piima or Fil Mjolk cultured butter:

*Culture Fil Mjolk or Piima in cream or heavy whipping cream. One quart of cream makes about 1 pound of butter. Bring yogurt to exactly 60 degrees F. Off temperatures adversely affect the consistency of the butter. Pour into mixing bowl and mix with hand-held mixer at low speed or whip with wire whisk till mixture thickens. Continue until cream separates into buttermilk and small pellets of butter. Drain liquid buttermilk off and rinse pellets in cold water. Using a spatula, stir and work the butter by pressing it until all the buttermilk in the butter is free. Salt now, if desired. Unsalted butter spoils more quickly than salted. If desired, spices may be added. To shape, press into desired container and chill.    

LONG TERM STORAGE: Do not freeze your yogurt for long term storage. The best way to preserve your culture if you are leaving for more than 10 days (shorter than 10 days, just be sure and make a fresh batch before you leave) is to dry a backup. Just dip a cotton ball in the yogurt and cover completely. Scoop it out and then dry on a plate covered with saran wrap under a cool fan on high. It should be dry in about 10 hours. Store this dried culture in a cool place, in a baggie. Not the refrigerator. That may be too moist. It will store well this way for a good couple of months! Just be sure and follow the DRIED CULTURE instructions above to reconstitute when you are ready, ie use less milk, etc.

 Replacement Policy: We will replace any culture that has not proved viable upon receipt to make a successful first culturing per our instructions. If a first batch is successful, this is indication of a viable culture.   We are here to help troubleshoot during your culturing if you have any concerns so please email us BEFORE discarding any cultures, as we cannot replace a culture that we have not been able to determine viability through troubleshooting with you.   Again, email WHILE you are culturing, as 99% of the time we are able to help with a successful batch, if the cultures are still on hand. Discarding the culture before contacting us for help will nullify the exchange/refund policy. Thanks so much.

Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have along the way.

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