View Full Version : Viili or "feelia"

13-03-07, 19:46
I would like to make "feelia" (sp?). My dairy farming aunt and uncle used to set a few bowls of fresh milk on the counter every night filled with that day's fresh milk and innoculated with a spoonful of the previous day's batch of "feelia." This was their breakfast. I did not like it then; it was sour and "stringy!" However, as an adult, liking yogurt, I would like to try this "feelia" again.

In a book called "Nutritional Traditions," I found mention of viili, and a source for viili starter at a company in California. I have not ordered any yet. Thought I would ask here first. Anyone know any other sources for the starter, know what I am talking about, or even have this tradition in their family?

Any idea how to get started? I live in a city, no cows.


13-03-07, 20:02
My mother , who lived on that "delicious stuff, needed some new starter
and a relative was due to come from Finland to visit and this person,
before leaving, took a clean cloth, immersed it in that "delicious stuff"
let the cloth dry completely and then wrapped securely, mailed the cloth
to our home and mother immersed the cloth in whole, non-pasteurized
milk, wihich is sometimes hard to come by, and waalaa "feelybunk", and
the moral of the story is,,,,,,,,always leave a little "for next time"
thin slices of cucumber add to the "taste"


13-03-07, 21:29
the last post inspired me to search a little.

Look at this site for lots of info

plus I found links to where to buy the viili starter. I just wonder if it will look and taste like what my aunt made.

Yes, I have heard of using cloth as a medium to move the culture before.


June Pelo
14-03-07, 00:17
We were raised on filbunke and it was made as described. We always saved some to make a new batch for the next day. Someone sent me this picture of the wooden bowls they used in which to make it, but we used a soup bowl and put it in the cupboard overnight. Our family put sugar over the top and ate it; some people put it on top of cereal. Many years ago one of my father's cousins was in Finland and she put a starter in a small jar, stuck it in her luggage and flew home. That was before the new security regulations on airplanes.


June Pelo
14-03-07, 00:22
The picture isn't there, so I'll send it again.


14-03-07, 01:21
Late in my teens I worked on a farm in Connecticut and my "boss" was a
tough old Swede named Chris who milked of a herd of six or seven big
Holsteins. Chris had two big bowls into which he "milked" the first milk out
of the udder and after filling two bowls with really "fresh" non-pasturized
Holstein milk with great care so as not to spill a precious drop, ignoring
th waiting cats, reached up to the overhead rafters, brushing away the
spiders and carefully placed those bowls to "rest and work" turning into
you guessed it, "feelabunk" and carefully handling a bowl that had rested
among the cobwebs "working" for a day or two, and ,oh
yes, reaching into his overalls for a cucumber to be sliced over "his
breakfast". I waited for that other breakfast of ham and eggs served in
the farmhouse kitchen, seated at the table with its red and white
checkered table cloth , a mug of hot Swedish coffee into which I
dunked fresh baked Swedish coffee bread. I prefered my "feelabunk"
served a;little closer to the kitchen


14-03-07, 23:25
The picture isn't there, so I'll send it again.


Wow, is that how they used to do it? wooden bowls? We have a wonderful history and it's great to learn about it.


14-03-07, 23:29
That's a very funny story.

Feelabunk - sort of like "feelia" - somebody make up this name? or is it a regional name? I think "feelia" is a sort of "Finglish" "feelia"

Sort of like in my part of the country, for the name of a town, instead of saying "Buhl", Finns would say "Buhlo" :) (pronounced "byul" or :) "byulo")


June Pelo
15-03-07, 00:38
Filbunke is the Swedish name for processed sour whole milk. The letter "i" is given an "e" sound so I guess that's why it sounds like feelabunka. The Finnish people call it viila, I think. Some people call it file or fil.

Many years ago it was possible to buy many wooden items in Finland. I have a collection of a small butter churn, bucket, plates, etc. that my aunt bought in Finland in the 1930s. I've never seen those items when I've been there and when I asked about them, I was told they don't make them any more. The only wooden objects I've seen are the sauna buckets and butter knives. I have a relative who decorates wooden items for her own use, but she doesn't sell them.

Here's a recipe, in Swedish and English, for filbunke:


15-03-07, 16:42
Hi Marian!
Nice to meet you here in Finlander. We have exchanged e-mails a few years back.
We Finns call feelabunka ´viili´ but in Southern Ostrobothnia with huge Swedish influence on spoken language and where I think you have some connections, they call it fiili. In the Finnish Viili products you can buy in any grocery store, the spelling in Swedish is ´fil´. There are many different products available, some seasoned with berries etc and products with different amounts of fat. I don´t like viili at all but my family likes to eat theirs with sugar and cinnamon. It is really easy to make yourself after you get the starter.
Greetings from your almost-namesake
Merja Syrjämäki

16-03-07, 04:01
Yes, I remember exchanging emails. It was through my son Josh that we met, I think. Or through my brother John?

How are we related? Is it that we mu

Is viili VERY similar to yogurt? We have yogurt and kefir in the stores. No viili though.


Alice Finnerty
17-03-07, 01:27
Hej Bert!
Is this the stuff I can't remember the name....LOL....that I had for breakfast on my corn flakes when I stayed with you and Svea?
If it is....this is most delicious...even sprinkle on a bit of sugar too:D

23-03-07, 16:39
"took a clean cloth, immersed it in that "delicious stuff"
let the cloth dry completely and then wrapped securely, mailed the cloth
to our home and mother immersed the cloth in whole, non-pasteurized

This was nice to read, because I was told that my grandmother sent the "root of viili" to her cousin the same way as you described (from Muhos Finland to Oregon USA).

More about Finnish viili http://www.valio.fi/portal/page/portal/valiocom/Company_information/Products_International_Sales/fresh_dairy_products18102006164541/snacking_products18102006164851/viili_fermented_milks29112006175154


23-03-07, 17:02
Hi Marian,
It was through your brother John that we had contact a couple of years ago. Even when having the same surname and our families coming from neighbouring parishes, we are not related as far as I know. Well, everyone from the area is usually related if you go back to the 17th century :)
Viili and yoghurt are a bit alike when it comes to the production process but they have different bacteria in them and taste different because of that.