Monday, March 7, 2011

Countertop Yogurt? (Swedish Filmjölk)

--a Greenmom gets cultured

Okay, this is so cool...I wish I could remember whose blog I found it on, but I'm very excited at the possibilities. (If it's a Booth reader who posted recently about Filmjolk, please shout out in the comments and I'll update to give you credit!)

It's called Filmjölk. Swedish yogurt, or "thick milk" (Fil Mjölk) Unlike the yogurt we're mostly accustomed to, Filmjölk will culture on your countertop, anywhere from 70-78 degrees, a "mesophilic" rather than "thermophilic" culture. And it tastes, we're told, less sour and maybe a little "cheesier" than traditional yogurt. That sounds good to me; yogurt's sourness is not at the top of my awesome list, but I love cheese of all kinds...

I have made yogurt several times in the past, in my crockpot, with mixed results--unfortunately, I can't TELL what causes the results to be mixed, so it's been an inexact science. It's enough work that I only bother to do it when I make a good gallon or so at a time, because it requires babysitting with a thermometer, which is a pain. And a gallon of yogurt is a lot for us to eat at a time, since my kids went on a yogurt strike. So that's become a rarer thing for me.

But if Filmjölk is as easy as it sounds, I can make a quart or two a week, with a perpetually-self-renewing culture (you pull out half a cup or so of each batch after you make it, and save that for next week's culture), by basically putting a jar on the countertop in the morning and putting it in the fridge at night, and then it's just done.

I just bought a Filmjölk starter culture from Cultures for Health (they also have various other cheesemaking stuff and yogurt starters, plus kombucha scobies, which I haven't dared try yet...anyone make kombucha?). It comes in a little package of dried powdery stuff, which you activate in milk and which takes about 24-48 hours. (Mine is currently about 20 hours in; our house is on the cooler side, so they say it will probably take us the full 48.) There's enough powder to activate two batches, in case one self-perpetuating culture gets damaged or contaminated or anything, so you don't have to order a whole new culture.

On my next week's post I'll let you know how this went, and if we're eating Filmjölk nonstop at my house, and how it's all doing! In the meantime--has anyone ever tried this, and how has it worked for you? Any suggestions and hints?

--Jenn the Greenmom

10 comments:

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

I just recently read about this too, but I can't remember where either. I have a pretty good routine going with my own yogurt making right now, but I'm interested to hear how the filmjolk turns out - I'm totally with you on the sourness of yogurt. Do you know if any of the health benefits are different from regular yogurt since it's a different culture? Can't wait to read the follow-up!

CallieK said...

I've never heard of this before but it sounds good- I love me some cheese too! I'd love to find out what type of bacterial is in the culture too- does it say on the package? (Science nerd needs to know!)

I did a lengthy post on the how's and why's of yogurt making here:
http://backyardfarmsto.blogspot.com/2011/01/yogurt-and-probiotics.html

If you like less sour yogurt you just need to stop the process sooner!

Traci said...

We use filmjolk but don't like to eat it straight. We don't mind the taste, but it kind of has a slimy texture to it. We use it as a substitute for buttermilk in pancakes and my husband uses it in some of his bread recipes.

greenmomintheburbs said...

Callie, AWESOME link, thank you! (I bet my overnight yogurting hasn't been warm enough sometimes...)

I'll check the package when I get home for the actual bacteria type...

Truffula said...

I haven't made this particular culture, but I did have Piima going for a while. That was very delicious, with a sweet and mild flavor. It was also super-easy to make. Sadly, that culture went south...

I turned my attention from yogurt to milk kefir. Now, *that* is even easier, and the results are more reliable for me. When I need whey, I just strain the kefir for a few hours -- I then use the whey in whatever recipe calls for it, and enjoy the remaining cheese.

Kate said...

I've never ordered a special culture or anything...I make plain old yogurt on the counter with my thermos, pretty much the way Beth Terry does here:
http://myplasticfreelife.com/2007/12/plastic-free-yogurt-well-almost-plus/
The nice thing about this is I can use stuff I already have (well, except the milk...I buy that new every time) ;-) and that it makes whatever amount you want. I usually fill 2 thermal coffee cups at a time, and do that a couple of times a week.

greenmomintheburbs said...

CallieK--

I asked Rosalyn at Cultures for Health, and she says the Filmjolk culture contains the Lactococcus lacits and Leuconostoc mesenteroides strains of bacteria. That help at all?

CallieK said...

Thank you for finding that out for me! Leuconostoc mesenteroides is a new one to me and I must do some reading now.

CallieK said...

I thought other curious people might find this interesting

All species within the genus Leuconostoc are heterofermentative and are able to produce dextran from sucrose. They are generally slime-forming.

Anonymous said...

I know I am two years late posting here- but I make filmjolk and I LOVE it! It's like buttermilk. I drink it every day, and I like it because it soothes my stomach. It's so very easy to make. My kids like it made into a smoothie with some honey and fruit or with some strawberry jam mixed in.

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