Fermented Milk Products From All Over the World • Långfil and A-fil (fil is the short form of filmj
Långfil is a very interesting fermented product made out of milk. It has a soft yet elastic texture, like fine ropes of yogurt, have been formed during the fermentation process. This ropy appearance is due to the species of bacteria that are involved in the making process of the product, Lactococcus lactis var. longi. This particular bacteria take the carbohydrates contained in milk and transform them into chains of polysaccharides, making långfil have its specific gooey and slightly elastic form. The bacteria that turns milk into långfil is mesophilic, which means that it requires room temperature to start the fermentation process, which is a temperature ranging between 70 and 78°F.
So, if you have the right kind of bacteria and fresh milk, it is not difficult at all to make långfil. Unfortunately, this special dairy product is slowly disappearing from the shelves of stores in Sweden, so it is not known for how long it will be available. The secret of making långfil will remain in the households that continue to produce and e njoy it.
It is interesting to mention that the leaves of certain plants are used when making långfil in a traditional manner. Thus, the leaves of butterwort or sundew were usually placed on the bottom of the pot or bowl where långfil was going to be made. Their action was similar to the one of rennet, although there was no visible connection between the bacteria found on the leaves and the ones contained by the fermented milk product. Then, a batch of bacteria was preserved in order to be used for later batches of långfil. This involved soaking a clean cloth in the product and allowing it to dry, as it was easier to store it this way, so the bacteria could be activated later on.
“Fil” is the word Swedish people use to name a variety of fermented milk products, which are served for breakfast or lunch. Thus, A-fil is traditional, plain yogurt, which can be consumed as it is or with various toppings, such as fruits, jam, apple sauce, cinnamon, and others. While it is rather similar with regular yogurt, fil is somewhat different due to the bacteria strains involved in the fermentation process, which are specific to this part of the world, providing it a distinct flavor.