I have been making my own yogurt for about two years now and so far filmjölk, a Swedish countertop cultured yogurt is my favorite. There are several reasons why, the first is the absolute breeze it is to make. You don’t need any special equipment. To make your first batch all you need is the bacteria culture, some milk and cream and a clean mason jar. That’s it. It takes just 24 hours to culture and less than 5 minutes to mix up. It really can’t be easier to make artisan, organic yogurt at home for literally a fraction of the price of store-bought yogurt. This is a great example of a product you can make at home for so little cash and effort that you literally can’t afford not to make it yourself.
Another and equally important reason I love it is for the taste. Many people describe filmjölk as yogurt with more of a “cheese-like” flavor. In Norway it is known as kulturmelk – translation, cultured milk. But it is not like American buttermilk; it is thicker and has more of a yogurt taste, although I find it to be sweeter and less sour than yogurt in general. Filmjölk is similar to cultured buttermilk, kefir, or yogurt in consistency, but fermented by different bacterium, Lactococcus lactis and Leuconostoc mesenteroides, giving it a different taste than other cultured dairy products and giving filmjölk its characteristic consistency – thinner than yogurt, but a bit thicker than buttermilk or kefir.
Forms of filmjölk have probably been around since Viking times, but the first written records of it are from the 18th century. Still a long history, which makes sense since Northern Europeans, especially Scandinavians have a long history with dairy animals and before refrigeration the need to culture and preserve dairy was a necessity of life.
Due to its non-committal flavor it can be used in a variety of ways from sweet to savory. We usually eat it for dessert with homemade granola. But I also use it as a substitute for sour cream, or even regular cream as a component to a creamy pasta sauce, or on top of beans and rice. If I don’t have any quark about, filmjölk can be used in its place.
In order to make my filmjölk thicker, I add about ½ cup of heavy cream to the full fat milk. Once your first batch it made, you just save some of the filmjölk to make subsequent batches. I usually save about ½ cup from my batches, and mix the subsequent batches in a 24 oz. mason jar using Vermont made Stafford Organic Creamery un-homogenized Creamline milk and heavy cream. I get my filmjölk cultures from Cultures for Health.
Make some today! This post is part of Simple Lives Thursday! Link up and share your tips and recipes for living a simple life.