Still In Awe

This week I received two new cultures: Ginger Beer Plant and Viili Yogurt. These are two very different cultures needing very different care! When they arrived, I got right to work with the ginger beer plant; its package was puffed with CO2 from its time in transit, and it was eager for fresh nourishment. I had waited two weeks for these cultures to cross the boarder, and during that time we had some very high temperatures. I was nervous to see that the ginger beer plant was still viable! I am still waiting for its first fermentation period to finish on Monday, but judging by the bubbles I see from time to time it looks like everything has come together.

The viili has needed more coaxing. An heirloom yogurt culture, viili must be shipped in its dried state because it is much more vulnerable in transit. This means it has to go through rehydrating before it can start metabolizing anything. I haven’t had to go this with any culture before because I have always been able to receive them fresh from instructors or friends, so I was a little unsure. But tracking down an heirloom yogurt culture is tricky so I was willing to try!

Dried flakes of viili yogurt

The first day, nothing happened.

The second day, I began to lose hope.

The third day, there was firm yogurt in that jar!

Even though this is the sixth distinct culture in my kitchen, the process of fermentation still seems like the most wonderful and unexpected alchemy. I am still in awe of what bacteria can do, given the right conditions. I am so excited to try viili for the first time – in a few days, when we have worked up to a large enough batch!

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Tiny First Batch of Viili

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