How to Make Matsoni/Caspian
1. Stir one tablespoon of yogurt from your initial activation batch into one cup of whole milk. You can make larger batches of yogurt by adhering to the same ratio of 1 tablespoon of yogurt to 1 cup of milk (e.g. adding four tablespoons yogurt to a quart of milk will yield a quart of yogurt) making up to one half gallon per container.
2. Cover the jar with a towel or coffee filter and secure the cover with a rubber band. Do not put a lid on the jar as the starter needs to breathe to culture properly.
3. Let the mixture culture undisturbed at 70-77F degrees for 12-18 hours It is important to pick a location that is naturally warm (e.g. the kitchen) and out of drafts (see above for ideas for keeping the yogurt in the proper temperature range).
4. Once the yogurt is set (when the jar is tipped, the yogurt shouldn’t run up the side of the jar and should move away from the side of he jar as a single mass), cover the jar with a lid and place the yogurt in the refrigerator for 6 hours to halt the culturing process.
5. When it’s time to make a new batch, place one tablespoon of yogurt from the previous batch in a cup of new milk and start again. Larger batches can be made (up to a half gallon per container) by maintaining the same yogurt-to-milk ratio. Yogurt rom each batch can be used to make the next batch. Yogurt from batch A is used to make batch B, yogurt from batch B is used to make batch C and so on. To perpetuate the culture, be sure to make a new batch of yogurt at least once every seven to ten days. Waiting longer than one week between culturing can weaken and may eventually kill or weaken the culture.
1. Whole milk or cream makes the thickest yogurt. Yogurt made with low fat milk is likely to be thin. If a very thick yogurt is desired, fully cultured yogurt may be strained through cheese cloth or a tea towel and the resulting whey discarded or used in recipes.
2. Temperature is very important to successful yogurt making. Drafts from windows, air conditioners, etc. can affect the temperature where the culture is sitting. Warm parts of the house are
generally best (e.g. the kitchen). If your house tends to be cooler than 70F degrees (consider if the temperature drops at night) then choose a spot that stays warmer. Warm spots often include: On top of the refrigerator, on top of a piece of electronic equipment (i.e. television, cable box, etc.), next to a computer, on a high shelf, or inside a dehydrator. . Verify that the chosen culturing location is maintaining the proper temperature; temperatures which are too low or two high can damage the culture.
3. In cooler environments, the yogurt will likely take the entire time period (18/48 hours) to culture. Occasionally it will take bit longer. It’s okay to leave the yogurt to culture a little longer when necessary. Simply keep an eye on it and transfer it to the refrigerator as soon as it’s set to stop the culturing process.
4. Be cautious of overly warm environment. Temperatures above 78F degrees may cause the yogurt culture to die. If the yogurt mixture separates into curds (solid mass on top) and whey (clear liquid underneath), this may be a sign that the culture was too warm.
Culturing the yogurt to fast may not gave the desired results and culturing to slow/to low of temperature may allow unwanted pathogens to enter into the culture and destroy the beneficial ones.
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