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Ayran yoghurt starter culture | for home made Turkish yoghurt



Ayran is a creamy savory yoghurt drink, originally from Turkey. Enjoyed chilled and with ice, this is always served with meals at home and restaurants in Turkey. Make this yoghurt drink at home with this Ayran starter culture.


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Ayran is a creamy savory yoghurt drink, originally from Turkey. Enjoyed chilled and with ice, this is always served with meals at home and restaurants in Turkey.  Ayran is also known in other regions under the names doogh, dhallë, daw, xynogala or tan.  Make this yoghurt drink at home with this Ayran starter culture.

What is yoghurt?

Yoghurt, also spelled yogurt, yogourt or yoghourt, is a food product produced by bacterial fermentation of milk. The bacteria used to make yoghurt are known as yoghurt cultures. Fermentation of sugars in the milk by these bacteria produces lactic acid, which acts on milk protein to give yoghurt its texture and characteristic tart flavor.  Cow’s milk is commonly available worldwide and, as such, is the milk most commonly used to make yoghurt. Milk from water buffalo, goats, ewes, mares, camels, yaks and plant milk are also used to produce yogurt. The milk used may be homogenized or not. It may be pasteurized or raw. Each type of milk and each type of starter produces substantially different results.

What is Ayran?

Ayran is a yoghurt drink from Central Asia that people have been drinking since 1000 BC.  It is believed to originate in Turkey, and has the status of national beverage there. It is  also very popular in the Balkans. Ayran is made by diluting regular yogurt with the same amount of water, adding a small amount of salt, and then blending the three ingredients. The drink goes perfect with meats, but it is especially seen as a cold and refreshing drink during the hot summer.

The major health benefits of Ayran include:

  • Since Ayran is a type of fermented dairy it also contains various strains of probiotics.
  • Reduces tooth decay.
  • Ayran contains electrolytes, which help us to prevent dehydration.
  • A study found that participants using daily probiotics had fewer absences from work/school and recovered from infectious respiratory conditions approximately one day faster than participants who were given a placebo- a good reason to make Ayran part of your daily diet!

Ayran starter culture is a thermophilic starter

Please note, this is a thermophilic culture that can requires a yoghurtmaker, or any apparatus that can create and hold a temperature of around 40-45 degrees Celcius.

Contents Ayran starter culture

  • 2 grams of heirloom thermophilic dry Ayran starter (enough for 30 liters)
  • This is a very powerful starter, and quite unique- you won’t find it anywhere else!
  • Enough for the rest of your life, check the instructions below
  • Made in Spain
  • Allergens: milk
  • Contents: milk, starter cultures
  • Contains no preservatives, artificial colors and flavors. Gluten, soy and GMO free. Halal & Kosher.


Contains a stringy strain of Streptococcus thermophilus which aims to increase the proteolytic potential and smooth texture

Why a dried starter?

  • dried starters have a long shelf life
  • easy to ship/take with you, also abroad
  • does not deteriorate due to transportation
  • light in weight (shipping)
  • you can keep some in hand in case your fresh yoghurt gets worse in quality
  • after activation, the action of dried yoghurt as a starter is identical to fresh yoghurt

Like yoghurt?

Check out our other yoghurt starters.

Storage instructions Ayran starter culture

In the fridge or freezer. Also, store the yogurt starter in a Ziploc bag after use or in a vacuumed container. The starter is very hydrophilic – if moisture gets into the pack it will degrade the quality. Shelf life at least one year in the freezer, but longer in practice.

Activating your Ayran starter culture

  1. Warm 1 liter of UHT (sterilized) milk up to around 43 ° C.
  2. Add half the starter (1 gram) to the milk and stir until it dissolves. Please do not whisk, as this introduces air bubbles into the milk which slows down incubation.
  3. Cover the jar with a cloth, or plastic, to keep the milk clean from dust and airborne particles.
  4. Let ferment at around 38-43 °
  5. Check after 5 hours if the yoghurt has thickened. Leave for up to 12 hours and check every 30-60 minutes. Once it is firm, or after 12 hours, switch off the yoghurtmaker and let the yoghurt cool for 2 hours at room temperature.
  6. Allow the yoghurt to cool down for at least another 6 hours in the refrigerator.
  7. You can now eat this 1 L batch yoghurt directly, and leave a spoonfull for the next batch, but it’s recommended to freeze it ice cube bags as a ‘mother starter’. Each ice cube can be used as a starter for a liter of milk.

How to make Ayran

  1. From now on you can use other types of milk as well: cows, sheep, goats, skimmed milk, whole milk, raw, etc.
  2. Please note that it works best to heat raw or pasteurised milk to around 90 ° C for around 10 minutes and let it cool when making yoghurt. Otherwise, the yoghurt will stay thin. When you use UHT this is not neccessary.
  3. You can use the full batch of 1 L ‘mother starter’ from the previous step to make up to 15 L of yoghurt. Or, add  a few tablespoons of your activated starter per liter of milk.  The milk can be 43 ° C, room temperature or cold, straight from the fridge. It doesn’t really matter. Or mix an ice cube from your yoghurtstarter per about a liter of milk, stirring several times until fully dissolved.
  4. Stir gently until the active starter is completely dissolved.  Please do not whisk, as this introduces air bubbles into the milk which slows down incubation.
  5. Distribute the milk into culturing containers
  6. Ferment for 5-12 hours at 38-43 ° C in a yoghurt maker or similar device.
  7. Once it is firm let the yoghurt cool for at least 6 hours in the fridge.
  8. Now take around 1 part Ayran, 1 part of (sparkling) water, a pinch of sea salt (to taste), and optionallt some of ice cubes and put them in the blender until the Ayran has a consistent liquid texture. Taste and adjust. Delicious!

Buying a Ayran starter culture?

Order your Ayran starter culture at startercultures.eu, the European webshop for all your fermentation needs. By Meneer Wateetons, renowned Dutch fermentation expert and author. Order on weekdays before  3 pm and we’ll ship the same day.  Questions on the usage? Ask them in our chat, we’ll here to help!

Online on demand workshop ‘how to make vegan cheese at home’ (subtitled)

During this English subtitled workshop you will learn the theory and practice of making vegan cheesevegan blue cheese starter kits at home, with a focus on vegan camembert and vegan blue cheese . Foodwriter ‘Meneer Wateetons’, author of several books on fermentation and alternative food preparation techniques,  will teach you all about fermentation, curing salts, food safety, pH, starter cultures, molds and drying conditions. Click here for more info.


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