I took a very interesting class about fermentation for health by Linda Conroy from Moonwise Herbs. I learned so much and got to try all different kinds of fermented food; very dense (on purpose) sourdough bread, fermented fruit, fermented pickles and other various vegetables, homemade ginger ale, and Piima cream. The fermented fruit was my favorite...it was so delicious! I didn't care for the vegetables, but Linda said that they could be an acquired taste. Everyone in the class was able to take home sourdough starters and a Piima culture.
My sourdough is growing strong in my kitchen. Although, I have yet to cook or bake with it.
It did take me 2 attempts to successfully make more Piima cream. Because it's winter here in Wisconsin, my house isn't really warm enough for the culture to grow well enough, so it was too watery the first time (I don't call it a failure, though because I turned it into cultured butter). Luckily, my mom also took the class and gave me her Piima culture. I was successful at making more Piima cream by keeping it in the oven with the light on.
Wait. What's Piima, you ask? Well, according to Moonwise Herbs, it's a Scandinavian Culture-this culture originated when it was noticed that cows who had grazed upon a northern European wild herb called Butterwort at the peak of its growth, milk would clabber at room temperature. It was then carefully cultured from this starter and fresh starter taken from each batch. Piima is similar to buttermilk acidophilus and kefir. You can make cultured cream, butter and buttermilk as well as a feta style cheese using this culture. So far, I've made cultured cream (which tastes a lot like sour cream and is just slightly thicker), cultured butter, buttermilk (the by-product of butter), and cream cheese with my Piima. And the great thing about Piima is that you can have a never ending supply. You just take some cream from your previous batch (about a tablespoon) and add it to 2 pints of heavy cream (raw or pasteurized, NOT ultra pasteurized), and in a day at 72-75 degrees you'll have more Piima! You can use the cream anywhere you would use sour cream...on baked potatoes, in dips, in cheesecake. And it's got beneficial bacteria in it! If you can't tell, I'm in love with my Piima right now! You can purchase a Piima starter from Moonwise Herbs for $12 (plus shipping) here. I can recomend this Piima because it is the one I have in my kitchen and I love.
There is also some great information on Piima at Cultures for Health here. You can purchase the Piima starter from Cultures for Health for $11.99 (plus shipping). I can't specifically recommend it because I haven't tried it, but I have heard great things in general about Cultures for Health.
One more great resource on Piima is Nourished Kitchen. You can go here and here to read about it.