1

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What are the Best Yogurt Cultures? (Acidodophilus, Bifidus, Kefir, Bulgaricus, etc)

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 06, 2013 at 11:40 PM

As the subject line states, what cultures do you recommend for fermenting milk? Should one use a mix? And how does the fermenting process change depending on the different cultures you use? I guess some cultures need different temperatures and time.

My own way is to take a store-bought multi-cultured yogurt and use that as a starter. I usually buy a new starter for every batch.

Any drawbacks or comments on that?

Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on April 12, 2013
at 05:21 AM

Kefir is a pretty kick-ass yogurt and I totally recommend it. Do a search for "kefir grains" and your hometown -- you wil probably find someone local who is giving them away. They grow quickly so people always have extra. If not, they're available for $ through Etsy, Amazon, etc. I hope some of this helped - please ask if you have more questions. :)

Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on April 12, 2013
at 05:16 AM

To be clear on terminology: A culture isn't a single bacterial strain (generally); it's generally a *colony* made of several different strains. So all the different names you see - Bulgaris, etc, on commercial yogurts, are the different strains in a single culture.

Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on April 12, 2013
at 05:10 AM

If you want a yogurt with LOTS of co-evolved bacteria, get some LIVE kefir grains. Real kefir (not powdered) can have upwards of 40 co-evolved strains, as opposed to the 3-4 in commercial yogurt.

Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on April 12, 2013
at 05:08 AM

The ones that have several together all grew together; they're all bacteria that are part of a single culture. They are co-evolved so can grow together. If you buy a yogurt culture it'll already have several strains of symbiotic bacteria. Adding a different culture with different bacteria won't give you yogurt with even more strains, because they didn't evolve together. They'll "fight" and one set of bacteria will win.

Medium avatar

(115)

on April 11, 2013
at 03:16 PM

But the once you buy in stores might have several. How is that different? Or do they make three different batches and mix them afterwards? Is that the way to go then?

Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on April 10, 2013
at 02:34 AM

(Because the freeze-dried packets have a very limited life span.)

Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on April 10, 2013
at 02:33 AM

Agreed. Also, live kefir grains will grow and multiply forever -- as long as you feed them, You never have to buy a new starter. Also, kefir is done at room temperature. Very easy. Only drawback is you have to feed it every day, which you don't have to do with freeze-dried starter packets from, say, Yogourmet.

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6 Answers

1
Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on April 12, 2013
at 05:38 AM

Cultures for Health has some really interesting and varied cultures. They have standard yogurt of the kind you see in grocery stores with the basic 3-4 bacterial strains, but they also have cool stuff like Viili, a room-temperature culture that thrives on cream. Mmmmm. The culture has the following bacteria:

Ingredients: lactic bacteria (Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris, Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis biovar. diacetylactis, Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. cremoris).

...totally different species from a standard yogurt culture.

If you decide you want to have different types of yogurt going at once -- say kefir and Viili -- make sure you keep them separated by as much space as you can. Otherwise they can cross-inoculate and you have that issue of unbalanced cultures duking it out for resources.

1
Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on April 10, 2013
at 02:30 AM

When you say a mix, do you mean mixing cultures? I wouldn't bother; the cultures will fight for resources and one will eventually dominate the other. Each culture evolved with its own companion bacteria; sticking other cultures in will just upset the balance.

Medium avatar

(115)

on April 11, 2013
at 03:16 PM

But the once you buy in stores might have several. How is that different? Or do they make three different batches and mix them afterwards? Is that the way to go then?

Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on April 12, 2013
at 05:08 AM

The ones that have several together all grew together; they're all bacteria that are part of a single culture. They are co-evolved so can grow together. If you buy a yogurt culture it'll already have several strains of symbiotic bacteria. Adding a different culture with different bacteria won't give you yogurt with even more strains, because they didn't evolve together. They'll "fight" and one set of bacteria will win.

Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on April 12, 2013
at 05:10 AM

If you want a yogurt with LOTS of co-evolved bacteria, get some LIVE kefir grains. Real kefir (not powdered) can have upwards of 40 co-evolved strains, as opposed to the 3-4 in commercial yogurt.

Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on April 12, 2013
at 05:16 AM

To be clear on terminology: A culture isn't a single bacterial strain (generally); it's generally a *colony* made of several different strains. So all the different names you see - Bulgaris, etc, on commercial yogurts, are the different strains in a single culture.

Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on April 12, 2013
at 05:21 AM

Kefir is a pretty kick-ass yogurt and I totally recommend it. Do a search for "kefir grains" and your hometown -- you wil probably find someone local who is giving them away. They grow quickly so people always have extra. If not, they're available for $ through Etsy, Amazon, etc. I hope some of this helped - please ask if you have more questions. :)

1
9d6c96bf1d35801a54222930eb762538

on April 09, 2013
at 10:57 PM

Yes, if you want a yogurt starter like was probably mentioned by Sandor Katz, then you should consider heirloom yogurts.

1
089dd41b18fbb95ebb5347cded708d98

(5635)

on April 07, 2013
at 01:27 AM

yogurt is only considered yogurt due to the specific strains it has. most starters contain those strains. i use yogourmet starter and it works really well.

1
3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on April 07, 2013
at 12:53 AM

I heard Sandor Katz speak last fall, and he said that yogurt and cultures available in the US have very few species. He sent away for a starter fron elsewhere (I think he said Greece) that contained 13 or more different bacterium.

Kefir has many more strains than domestic yogurt, but if you look, you may find a more varied culture.

1
6714718e2245e5190017d643a7614157

on April 07, 2013
at 12:20 AM

Get some real kefir grains. You get more probiotics than you will with a mix.

http://probiotic.org/Kefir.htm

Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on April 10, 2013
at 02:34 AM

(Because the freeze-dried packets have a very limited life span.)

Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on April 10, 2013
at 02:33 AM

Agreed. Also, live kefir grains will grow and multiply forever -- as long as you feed them, You never have to buy a new starter. Also, kefir is done at room temperature. Very easy. Only drawback is you have to feed it every day, which you don't have to do with freeze-dried starter packets from, say, Yogourmet.

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