What is a starter culture?

It’s a little bit of beneficial yeast and/or bacteria. Each culture contains it’s own unique mix of these little organisms. When added to your culturing medium and allowed to ferment at the proper temperatures, magic happens!

Why make my own?

Home-cultured foods not only save you money over commercially produced, but will have a fresher, higher bacterial count. This gives you more gut-healthy bang for your buck! Homemade also allows you to control what goes into it- you can avoid unwanted additives (chemicals, preservatives, sugars, thickeners, etc.).

NW Ferments offers many types of starter cultures. It’s a bacterial jungle out there, let us help you navigate.

Kombucha: a popular and delicious probiotic beverage that is made with tea and sugar.
Reusable- each batch creates another new starter, or SCOBY.


Water Kefir is made with sugar and water. It’s good for the gut, delightfully bubbly and easily flavored. Non-dairy. Reusable- over time, the amount of grains will increase.

Milk Kefir is made using milk. It’s very high in beneficial bacteria, and makes a great base for smoothies. Reusable- over time, the amount of grains will increase.

Kefir Starter is a quick, easy way to make kefir without the maintenance of a starter. Intended for single use, this comes with 2 packets. Great for travel.

Yogurt Starters

We offer several varieties; Viili, Filmjolk, Matsoni and Piima are Mesophilic-type. Mesophilic means that they culture at room temperature. The easiest way to make yogurt.

Greek and Bulgarian yogurts are Thermophilic-type. Thermophilic means that they culture with higher heat, and require a yogurt maker.

Both Thermophilic and Mesophilic types are reusable. Reserve a bit back each time as the starter for your next batch.

Vegan Yogurt starter is a direct-set culture. This means it is intended for single-use. Each package comes with 4 packets. This culture requires a higher culturing temperature- a yogurt maker helps ensure success.

Buttermilk Starter:

Make your own healthy, cultured Buttermilk! Easy to make and useful in many ways. Reusable- reserve a bit back each time as the starter for your next batch.

Sourdough Starters

We offer several varieties: San Francisco, Yukon, Camaldoli, Whole Wheat, Danish Rye and Brown Rice (for gluten free baking). Sourdough starter is very easy to make. All you need is starter culture, the flour of your choice, and water. Reusable- save a bit back each time for your continued starter.

Cheese Cultures

We have both Mesophilic (MA11 and Flora Danica) and Thermophilic (TA61) cheese cultures, depending on the type of cheese you’d like to make. Fresh, soft, firm, aged- take your pick!

Tempeh Starter

Make your own protein-packed, fermented Tempeh! Easier than you might think. Add starter to partially cooked beans and/or grains, and incubate. A food dehydrator or other means of maintaining an 85-90 degree temperature is needed.

Add a little culture to your life!