Batches of boza were produced from maize, rice and wheat flours using Leuconostoc paramesenteroides, L. mesenteroides subsp. mesenteroides, L. mesenteroides subsp. dextranicum, L. oenos, Lactobacillus coryniformis, L. confusus, L. sanfrancisco, L. fermentum, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and S. uvarum previously isolated from boza as starter cultures. These lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and yeasts were inoculated separately or mixed into boza wort and fermented at 30 degreesC. During the fermentation period, pH, acidity, LAB and yeast numbers were determined. At the end of the fermentation, sensory evaluations were carried out in order to choose the best culture combination. S. cerevisiae plus L. mesenteroides subsp. mesenteroides plus L. confusus was selected as the appropriate starter culture combination for boza production. The gross composition and theological properties of the boza produced using this superior culture combination were determined. The paper highlights the potential for the improvement of a traditional Turkish beverage (boza) through the use of a starter culture. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.