Q. I got a pack of your Sweet Yogurt Culture and it is working out very well. Can I use it like an heirloom culture, taking a sample from the last batch to start another batch, and on and on?
A. As you can tell looking at our Y5 culture list, it is a more complex culture than others. This diversity is good but creates problems in re-culturing because, unless conditions are perfect in the process, certain of these strains will dominate and the final balance of the yogurt will change.
A true heirloom culture would be one that has evolved from a natural source specific to an area and carried out for many generations without changing it's characteristics too much. A good example of this would be the cultures used in Parma where they retain their whey from each day and use it the next day for their new cheese.
Traditional yogurt cultures were exactly this and could be re-cultured generation after generation. The closest we can come to it is our Bulgarian Yogurt Culture because it is less complex, so there are fewer bacteria strains in competition with one another. It is essentially the ideal mother culture and will survive many batches without losing its viability.