The fermentation fairy must have a boat load of frequent flyer miles… Kefir and ryazhenka in Russia, koumiss and airag in Mongolia, Leben in Africa, dadih in Indonesia, sua chua in Vietnam, misti dahi in India, chhurpi in China..
Every time I think I’ve heard it all, something new jumps at me. That something is what keeps perpetuating my awe of cultured milk tradition.
This time I came across Finnish viili yogurt. I fell in love with it at the very first jar. And after giving it a spin for a few weeks, I couldn’t wait to share its wonderfulness with you guys.
WHAT IS FINNISH VIILI YOGURT
Finnish viili yogurt is a variety of fermented dairy popular in the north of Europe. Prepared mostly with cow milk, it originated in Scandinavia many hundreds of years ago, and is still going strong in Finland and Sweden.
It is made with the help of a mesophilic starter culture, meaning it ferments best at room temperature. This makes Finnish viili yogurt stand out among its peers, as most yogurt varieties require heat to facilitate fermentation.
This unique ability to ferment at room temperature makes viili the easiest yogurt to prepare at home! Just combine milk and culture, and wait for the magic to happen.
FINNISH VIILI YOGURT IS THICK, SMOOTH AND VISCOUS
Unlike kefir or other kinds of yogurt, Finnish viili yogurt has very thick consistency. It also has a pleasantly smooth texture and mild flavor making it perfect for kids and those just starting with DIY fermentation. The viscosity, stretchiness is another characteristic feature of Finnish viili yogurt.
BACTERIA IN FINNISH VIILI YOGURT
While kefir is still the winner when it comes to the amount of probiotics, Finnish viili yogurt is next in line. It contains several strains of live Lactococcus lactis (cremoris; lactis biovar diacetylactis), K. marxianus, P. fermentans as well as Leuconostoc cremoris (1) (2).
Some viili starters have a yeast-like mold Geotrichum candidum, which produces a peachy fuzz on top. Nordic folks consider it the tastiest part. But if you still pick the blue out of your blue cheese, you do have an option to avoid the fuzz. You can buy a starter culture that doesn’t contain that mold. Yemoos has a great viili starter that produces real yogurt the day after you put it in milk.
HOW LONG CAN WE KEEP FINNISH VIILI CULTURE GOING?
We can keep a viili culture indefinitely, as long as we leave a small part of previous batch. Usually a tablespoon of previously made yogurt is enough for a couple of quarts of milk in order to produce the next batch.
FINNISH VIILI CULTURE CAN BE PRESERVED
If you need to take a short break from making viili yogurt, you can can just store the starter with milk in refrigerator for a week or two. For a long break, you can dry viili culture just like any yogurt – by spreading some on parchment paper and letting it dry into flakes.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF FINNISH VIILI YOGURT (source)
- strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
- helps prevent and treat high blood pressure by inhibiting effects of ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme). ACE is associated with hypertension and congestive heart failure
- significant anti cancer effects – pretty complex pathway, refer to source above 🙂
- helps with symptoms of allergy and ulcerative colitis
HOW TO MAKE FINNISH VIILI YOGURT
1 pint whole milk, non-homogenized
1 teaspoon of dehydrated Finnish viili starter culture (mine is from Yemoos, love it!) or 1-2 tablespoons of previously made viili yogurt
Combine the viili starter culture with whole milk in a pint mason jar.
Cover loosely (a white lid should do it).
Leave at room temperature for 8-10 hours, or until firm and jiggly. Transfer to refrigerator.
Reserve 1-2 tablespoons for the next jar.
Repeat the steps for consecutive batches.
- 1 pint whole milk, non-homogenized
- 1 teaspoon of dehydrated Finnish viili starter culture (mine is from Yemoos, love it!) or 1-2 tablespoons of previously made viili yogurt
- Combine the viili starter culture with whole milk in a pint mason jar.
- Cover loosely (a white lid should do it).
- Leave at room temperature for 8-10 hours, or until firm and jiggly. Transfer to refrigerator.
- Reserve 1-2 tablespoons for the next jar.
- Repeat the steps for consecutive batches.
Nordic folks eat viili with cinnamon and sugar.