Pros and Cons of Choosing an Heirloom-Style Greek Yogurt Culture

Posted on: 4 January 2022


If you want to make your own Greek yogurt, you'll need a starter. This is basically a sample of bacteria that you add to your milk. Once inside your milk mixture, the bacteria proliferate, and eventually, you get yogurt. The thing to know about Greek yogurt starters, though, is that there are two different types. You can get a single-use starter, of which you put the entire packet into your yogurt recipe. Or, you can buy an heirloom starter, which you use part of and then continue to propagate for future use.

Those who plan on making Greek yogurt more than once often benefit from choosing an heirloom-style starter, but there are still some pros and cons to consider before you buy one.

Pro: You'll learn more about yogurt making

Simply dumping a packet of single-use culture into your yogurt recipe will allow you to make yogurt, but it does not teach you much. If you really want to immerse yourself in the craft of yogurt making, an heirloom starter is the way to go. You'll learn a lot from keeping this starter alive in your home, feeding, and maintaining it as the weeks go by.

Con: Heirloom starters require more work

While maintaining a starter only takes a few minutes a day, the time does add up. If you're really busy, you may be better off with a single-use starter. People who travel a lot may also find an heirloom starter tough to maintain since they're not always around to feed it.

Pro: It's more affordable in the long run

Buy one heirloom starter, and you have enough starter to make Greek yogurt again and again, for the rest of your life. Yes, you'll have to pay for the dairy that you "feed" your starter, but this is generally more affordable than buying a new, single-use starter each time you want to make yogurt.

Con: With heirloom starters, you don't get to experience a variety

When you have one heirloom starter and use it again and again, your yogurt will all have about the same flavor. On the other hand, you could experiment with various single-use starters to create yogurts with different flavor profiles from different bacterial samples. Of course, this is only a "con" if you value variety over consistency.

Heirloom-style yogurt starters tend to be the better choice for those who make yogurt often. A Greek yogurt starter culture can be an interesting way to experiment with making your own yogurt, and learning more about the process.