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Fermented milk

Ingredients: milk
Taste: buttery, cheesy
Popular in: Northern Europe
Time: 24 hours
Dominant microbes: Various Lactobacillus strains
Tools: jar, coffee filter cover



Basic Filmjölk


filmjölk starter
coffee filter
rubber band
  1. Using 1 cup of pasteurized milk in a glass jar or cup, add 1 tbsp of filmjölk starter or one packet of freeze-dried yogurt cultures (following the instuctions provided)
  2. Cover with a coffee filter or cloth, and tighten with a rubber band to prevent bugs from getting in, but allowing the yogurt surface to be exposed to air
  3. Let ferment at room temperature (70°-78°F)
  4. After 12 hours, check the texture of your filmjölk (it should be thicker).You can keep fermenting at room temperature for up to 48 hours
  5. Once the filmjölk looks ready, place it in the fridge for at least 6 hours, after which it is ready to eat
  6. Add 1 tbsp of the newly made filmjölk to fresh milk to continue the process, or store some for future use
filmjölk starter
filmjölk starter is either 1 tbsp of filmjölk, or can be purchased as freeze-dried cultures

why place the filmjölk in the fridge?
While not required, refrigeration will slow down bacterial fermentation, preventing over-sowering and helping to set the texture of the yogurt

filmjölk microbiology

Little is published in the scientific literature on filmjölk microbiology. According to Rokeby Farms, an Australian yogurt producer, identified strains in their filmjölk include:

Bifidobacterium infantis
Bifidobacterium lactis
Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. Lactis
Lactobacillus rhamnosus
Lactobacillus acidophilus
Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. Lactis
Lactobacillus fermentum
Lactobacillus paracasei
Lactococcus lactis subsp. Cremoris*
Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis*
Lactococcus lactis sub. lactis biovar diacetylactis*
Leuconostoc mesenteroides
Leuconostoc pseudomesenteroides
Leuconostoc citrovorum
Streptococcus thermophiles
Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. Bulgaricus

*these strains were also reported in Alm and Pettersson, 1980

Mukaka wakakora, Lacto, and filmjölk

While filmjölk is primarily a Swedish ferment (with other Scandinavian variations),
it is similar to a popular product from Zimbabwe, called Lacto.

Families with cows, sheep or goats in Zimbabwe have been known to place excess raw unpasteurized milk in a clay pot where it sour overnight, creating a curdled milk product called mukaka wakakora. A key component to this yogurt production is the pot itself; while raw milk doesn’t contain autochthonous lactic acid bacteria, the clay pot makes for a great reservoir for starter cultures, both from the porous clay and from any leftover yogurt. In response to the popularity of this soured milk, the Dairy Marketing Board (DMB) of Zimbabwe used filmjölk as a basis for the production of a commercial mesophilic starter called Lacto, which can be purchased in stores and consumed directly by those without access to fresh raw unpasteurized milk.

additional resources

survival rates of various fermented dairy strains
Alm, Livia, and Lennart Pettersson. "Survival rate of lactobacilli during digestion. An in vitro study." (1980): 2543-2543.

How to make mukaka wakakora

Carbohydrates in fermented milks
Ohlsson, Jonas A., et al. "Lactose, glucose and galactose content in milk, fermented milk and lactose-free milk products." International Dairy Journal 73 (2017): 151-154.

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