Thursday, September 15, 2011

Branching Out into Viili (Finnish Yogurt)

It's been over 30 years since I had viili (some call it filia).  It's a Finnish yogurt made at room temperature overnight.  Since starting on my path to recreate good juustoa, I have been looking for an authentic viili starter, too.  It took me a while to find just what it is about viili that makes it different from other yogurts.  Besides containing a mesophilic (cool/moderate temperature loving) lactic acid bacteria, it should also contain geotrichum candidum, a yeast-like fungus that is used in Brie cheese to give it a velvety texture, and two yeasts:  kluveromyces marxianus and pichia fermentans.  The result is a velvety, ropey texture.  Some people say it looks like white snot.  Not very appetizing, and not very accurate, I think. The best thing about viili?  You just put a little starter in milk and set it out at room temperature for 24 hours.  No yogurt maker, no fuss, no muss.

Once I knew what was in it, the hard part was finding a commercially available starter with the right "bugs" in it.  A lot of purported viili starters either didn't say what cultures it contained, or they contained substitutes.  Finally, I did find one at Anahata Balance - Probiotic Cultures, Herbal Teas & Tonics in Buckley, MI.

So tonite, I make viili.  And by the time it's ready, I should have the last of my everbearing strawberries ripe to mix in with it before eating.  Though, I really want blueberries.  Once it's done, I'll post a pic of the end result and let you know if it tastes the way I remember it. 

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