In my cheesemaking experience, I have been able to use both a home made starter, commercial bulk starters and commercial DVI. What are these I hear you ask? On this post I will go back a step and define the differences and what a starter culture is. A starter is a collection of bacteria that begin a fermentation process. In this case they are lactic acid producing bacteria or lactobacillus. There are many ways of making a starter culture as you are harvesting and using bacteria that are naturally present in raw milk anyway. Commercially, the most common starter type now is called DVI (Direct Vat Inoculation) and it comes in the form of a freeze dried powder which can just be sprinkled into a vat in big creameries and therefore is pretty hassle free.