Welcome to the Matsoni family! If you haven't already, you can purchase Matsoni from our store.You are now part of a world-wide community that has sustained this delicious health-promoting yogurt for hundreds of years.
Due to the acidic nature of fermentations, including matsoni, it is recommended that you avoid metal, unless its stainless steel.
Wood and food-grade plastic is okay for short term contact (stirring, scooping or straining). For the ferment itself, glass is recommended. Even food grade plastic containers is not recommended for fermenting in.
View the printable PDF version of this guide.
- 1 small glass jar for activation and storing of mother starter
- 1 large glass jar for fermentation of Matsoni.
- Wood or plastic spoon
Cloth cover or loose lid cover
1. It's best to start to start activation at night as the first activation usually takes somewhere between 12 to 24 hours. So you can check the progress in the morning and every few hours from there.
When you are ready to start making Matsoni, place (approx 1 teaspoon) of the dried Matsoni into a small, clean jar.
Feed the dried Matsoni, 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) of milk (see section above on what milk to use). Give it a good stir. It will spend the first few hours primarily re-hydrating and 'waking up'. The activity will depend largely on the milk used and the temperature where the jar is kept (out of direct sun, or in a cupboard, with a temperature of about 68--80F°/20-26C° is best.) Anything colder and it will struggle to activate. Anything hotter, and it will have less consistent results and may curdle.
NOTE: Do not stir, shake or disturb the starter (Matsoni) while it ferments. The only time to disturb it is when you're digging in to eat it. :)
2. Cover the top of the jar with a breathable cloth or you can also use a loose lid if desired. Matsoni can ferment with or without oxygen, so either way will work.
3. Time to let it do it's thing! Find a place for your Matsoni out of direct sunlight. A cupboard is just fine. The top of the fridge works great in homes during the winter.
4. After every 6-12 hours check to see if the Matsoni has 'set', ie, when you gently tilt the jar, it does not move. It's ready when you tilt the jar and it peels back from the side. The center can be a little runny, but if it looks too runny, leave it a couple more hours. If it is still runny after 48 hours, put it in the fridge anyway. It can take a couple batches for it to fully set. (even if you feel like you are just feeding and chilling milk and nothings happening)- just keep following the steps. Once its set or after 48 hours, put a lid on it and place in the fridge.
5. After being in the fridge for at-least 6 hours take it out, and use 1 tablespoon of starter for 1 cup of milk. If the starter is still runny (not fully set), use 1 tablespoon of starter for 1/2 cup of milk instead.
6. Cover again with the cloth lid. Let it sit out to ferment, the same as the day before - checking it every 6-8 hours, until you see it set (not exceeding 48 hours). Once it's set, store it in the fridge again. Matsoni always does best when given the 6-8 hour chill period, before feeding it again.
7. If your Matsoni did not set the first day, it may set by the end of this day, or the morning of the next (leave it out until it sets, but no longer than 36 hours). If it does not set, repeat steps 5-7 again. Try to find a warmer location, if it's on the cool side. If you wish, you can try using the other half of your original dried packet to begin again, if you feel something went wrong or the temperatures weren't ideal on the first try.
8. After it has set and been stored in the fridge for at least 6 hours, you may take your now 'activated starter' (Matsoni) to make your first batch of Matsoni to eat! The standard ratio is 1 tablespoon of Matsoni to 1 cup of milk. So if you want to make 2 cups, use 2 tablespoons of starter. It can take up to 24 hours when it cold or 12-14 hours when its warm. Typically it will take around 12-18 hours with most room temperatures.
Important NOTE: Be sure to store some for the next batch before eating it! Starting out, its common to make the Matsoni and then simple eat it all without realizing that you need to put aside some Matsoni to make more.
The easiest way to do this is when making Matsoni, ferment one small jar for the "mother" starter and 1 bigger jar to eat and enjoy.
Also be sure to refresh your starter within about 7 days (10 at the most), in order to keep it strong and healthy.
That's it! You can now enjoy your home-made matsoni! It should be semi-thick (somewhere between spoon-able and drinkable) and smell buttery. It really is a fool-proof process, so don't worry too much, people have been doing this for many hundreds of years! Have fun, experiment and enjoy!
It's always helpful to label your jar and date it. Permanent marker does wash off easily with a swipe of the rough side of a sponge! Tip: if you want to use masking tape, apply it before filling with milk, or it won't stick.
If you have other ferments (particularly other meso yogurt cultures or milk kefir), it's ok to have them sitting in the same room, but do not mix culture utensils. They can sometimes 'hybridize' between the two cultures if mixed.
If you notice a blanket of white fuzz on the surface, light tan splotches, or a milky/oily water sitting on top, those are all normal (and safe) for matsoni, sometimes it happens, sometimes not. If it's colorful or questionable mold in any way, toss it.
Sometimes filmjölk can separate into whey (clear) and curds (solids) when left out too long, or in really hot temperatures. This is ok too, but it might be best to make a new batch and catch it before that point, and save part of that new batch as your starter for the next. Which leads us to our final tip:
Always save your starter for the next batch from your very best batch possible. AND always keep a 'smidgen' of every starter batch leftover in your fridge just in case, until your new batch is completely done, chilled etc and you safely have your new matsoni starter set aside for your next batch. You never know when you may need an extra backup handy! You'll be happy you had a little emergency back up in any of these cases (which are easy to happen!): dropped jars, let them sit out too long or completely forgot about them, pet licked it, someone tossed them, etc!. You can also store backup by freezing a bit in an ice cube tray, then popping out the cubes into labeled bags for the future (and keep in the freezer until then! (lasts about 3 months, activates the same as the dried instructions on this guide)).
Flavoring should ONLY be done AFTER fermenting and only after you have saved a bit of starter for your next batch. You can then add flavoring a little bit before eating, or right when eating your Matsoni! :) Matsoni is traditionally eaten with fresh fruits, bread or biscuits (or even plain) but you can experiment to your hearts desire - extracts like vanilla, almond, lemon or hazelnut are always delicious. Fresh fruit is wonderful... spices such as cinnamon or cardamom, etc paired with maple syrup. A little drizzle of raw honey and sliced almonds is great. Or if you're in the savory mood, try salt, lemon and garlic as a dipping sauce.
Before Eating Matsoni...
Matsoni contains probiotics - good bacteria and yeast as well as being slightly acidic (from the healthful lactic acid).
For a few people's bodies it can be a little bit of an adjustment (probiotics can have this effect). For most people it is not any different than eating a new brand of yogurt. Everybody reacts to new foods differently though, so we always recommend starting out slow to see how your body takes to it. Sometimes the morning is best for introducing new foods, with a meal (not on an empty stomach). Start with a tablespoon and go from there.
The majority of people do not have any adverse reaction, but if you do, usually it's just a matter of starting out slow and slowing increasing over time. If you experience anything alarming or have continual negative symptoms, use your best judgement and stop eating it for awhile. Try it again down the road, or find another ferment that may be better suited for you (kombucha, sauerkraut, the list is endless).
If you need any further help beyond this guide, feel free to email us at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org
Extra Matsoni and Storage
After your first few batches:
As you continue to make matsoni, you may find you have more and more to work with. At that point, you can either add more milk if you want more matsoni eat them or store the matsoni (it's always a good idea to have some back-up starter on hand!).
How to store your extra Matsoni starter:
Freezing - best for medium to long term, easy storage
To freeze, simply place a few spoonfuls in each cube of an ice cube tray, and let freeze on a flat surface. Then pop them out into a freezer bag within a day or two and store for about 3 months. The frozen Matsoni will maintain fairly good strength for 3 months. Sometimes a few months longer is still viable, but it's best to take note and make a new back at that point if you haven't already. It may help to prolong their vitality and storage time by burying the cubes in milk powder (in a jar or bag). This helps keep them from exposure to air and forming damaging ice crystals. Or at least, once popping the ice cubes out, to store them in a vacuum-sealed bag vs a regular one, if you have that option.
Dehydrating - best for long term, convenient and/or transportable storage
Matsoni can be spread on a silicone baking mat, freezer paper, wax or parchment paper to dry, which will take a few days. Use a fan to blow air over it to speed the process. Try to locate it in a clean room where it won't be disturbed or contaminated. If you have a dehydrator with a low setting (such as below 85°F) then that will work too. When the Matsoni is dry, you can store it at room temperature, in the freezer, or in the refrigerator. A bag, jar or envelope are all good options for storage. Dehydrated Matsoni should be successfully reconstituted within about 3 months if its stored in the fridge and 6-9 months if its store in the freezer.
Refrigerating - best for very temporary storage
If you need to store Matsoni temporarily, your starter will be fine for 7 days in the fridge. It may be fine for 14 days, but 7 is the recommended limit. If you can, check with a thermometer to ensure that your fridge is as cold as possible without being freezing (about 35°F). This is the best method of storage if you're planning to take a break of about a 2 weeks or less. It may take a batch or two to stabilize. If you're taking a longer break, freezing or dehydrating is a must.
Matsoni has a mild and delicate flavor that is agreeable to most palates plain, just as it is. However, it is very simple to add some flavoring by mixing in some fruit, extract (like vanilla or hazelnut), cocoa powder, etc!
For example, Vanilla or any other extract or spice: 1 tsp per 1 cup is a good general rule.
For recipe ideas, please visit our milk kefir recipe page, as most of the recipes work perfectly and identically well for Matsoni, too!