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Barb Hodgens
Barb Hodgens

Barb Hodgens loves to cook alternative, healthy whole food cooking with a focus on gut health, SCD & GAPS diets. Barbs has also been able to overcome her own gut health issues through her journey into alternative eating. Please share your ideas, comments and photos at the end of this post :)

HOW TO MAKE L. REUTERI YOGURT IN A LUVELE YOGURT MAKER

We love to make yogurt here at Luvele and we love to experiment, so when queries and feedback started coming in from our customers about using our yogurt makers for ‘Undoctored’ L.Reuteri yogurt, we naturally got curious.

As it turns out, your Luvele yogurt maker has all the features you need to take all the guesswork out of making L Reuteri yogurt simply and reliably. Whether you have been struggling to make it or whether this is the first time you’ve heard about L. reuteri yogurt, our maker, step by step method and trouble-shooting tips are sure to help. But first, what exactly is L.Reuteri yogurt?

It is a type of yogurt that is abundant in a particular species of bacteria that cardiologist and author Dr. William Davis has found to have many amazing benefits. Dr. Davis (author of the ‘Wheat Belly’series and 'Undoctored - Why Health Care Has Failed You and How You Can Become Smarter Than Your Doctor’) has started a movement of sorts, and his readers and followers believe that real, powerful solutions for health already exist and the starting place is with food!

Dr Davis followed up on initial research into the benefits of Lactobacillus bacteria found in fermented foods like kefir and yogurt. Of the nearly 200 known species of Lactobacillus, however, one species stood out: Lactobacillus reuteri.  Studies have demonstrated that large dose L. reuteri probiotic supplementation provided a ton of amazing health benefits.

Davis began experimenting with fermenting this species and ‘Undoctored’ L. reuteri yogurt was born. He stresses however, that it’s not about eating yogurt; and that none of the specified benefits come from consuming conventional yogurt or the yogurt of other homemade yogurt recipes, including methods found on the Luvele website. Davis’s formula is specifically about increasing the counts of ATCC PTA 6475 and DSM 17938 strains of L. reuteri bacteria and homemade yogurt is just the vehicle he uses to accomplish this. And unlike conventional yogurt making methods, his approach maximises bacterial counts by adding prebiotic fibre to the yogurt mixture before fermentation to provide ‘food for the microorganisms’.

LACTOBACILLUS REUTERI ATCC PTA 6475 & DSM 17938 

Studies that experimented with L. reuteri yogurt consumption in animals & humans suggested dramatic health benefits for both. These include the ability to:

  • Assist with weight loss and shut-down appetite
  • Improve skin youthfulness, increases collagen & reduces wrinkles
  • Accelerate skin healing
  • Promote thick and shiny hair
  • Increase testosterone levels in men
  • Increase the ‘feel good’ hormone oxytocin
  • Lower stress
  • Reduce acid reflux and infantile colic
  • Suppress H.pylori & C.difficile and protects against intestinal infections
  • Lower pain perception
  • Increase vitamin D3 levels by up to 25.5%
  • Decrease incidences of diarrhoea but also increase bowel frequency
  • Fight candida
  • Prevent and treat small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) 
  • Promote thyroid health and oral health
  • Protect against certain infections
  • Reduce insulin resistance
  • Increase muscle mass and bone density

Dr Davis says; “Put all these effects together—caloric reduction, increased skin health, increased bone density, fat loss, muscle gain, reduced insulin resistance, etc.—and you have one of the most powerful anti-aging, youth-preserving strategies I have ever come across.”

Dr Davis has a large community of followers experimenting and making L. reuteri yogurt at home. Although there are no formal bacterial counts on this yogurt per CFUs (colony forming units) to date, people who consume 1/2 cup per day are reporting many of the beneficial effects listed above. For further reading, visit his website.

STRAIN SPECIFITY & AMOUNT

Strain specificity is important. While there are other strains of L. Reuteri available, Dr Davis has no evidence to suggest they will produce the same health benefits. His recipe specifically uses the bacterial strains, L. reuteri ATCC PTA 6475 and DSM 17938 that are available in chewable tablet form from BioGaia. Just Google “BioGaia Gastrus” to find a retailer or company that can ship them to you.

The yogurt requires 10 crushed BioGaia Gastrus tablets. Why so many tablets? There are only 200 million CFUs (live organisms) in each tablet and Dr Davies has not observed any substantial health benefits ingesting the tablets. Studies into L. reuteri probiotic demonstrate that supplementation must be around one billion CFU in a dose. One BioGaia probiotic tablet does not have these bacterial numbers and taking multiple tablets (5 or more) a day would quickly become a very expensive habit.

By making yogurt with the probiotics, you are essentially creating the right environment for the live organisms to multiply into the trillion (1000 billion) CFU range. The first tub of yogurt made, using 10 tablets, may seem expensive, but this ‘mother batch’ can go on to re-inoculate or seed further batches.

PREBIOTIC FIBRE

Prebiotics are indigestible plant fibres that feed the probiotics or good bacteria already live inside the large intestine. The more food, or prebiotics, that probiotics have to eat, the more efficiently these live bacteria can work for us and or health. Dr Davies applied this concept to his yogurt experiments and added a small amount of prebiotic fibre to the milk as food for the L.reuteri strains while in their long fermentation. Good, neutral tasting sources of prebiotic are:

  • Organic unmodified potato starch, (watch out for added preservatives)
  • Organic pure inulin powder
  • Partially hydrolyzed guar gum (PHGG), not to be confused with guar gum which does not have the same prebiotic effect.

Use 2 tablespoons per quart (or litre) of milk. Prebiotic fibres become viscous when mixed with liquid and help to thicken the milk into yogurt consistency. We used PHGG in our yogurt samples below.

Update July 2019: We have had better results using pure organic inulin powder.

TEMPERATURE

L.reuteri grows best at a lower temperature of around 100 degrees F / 37.7 degrees C. Many yogurt makers on the market (or other methods for making yogurt at home) either do not specify the temperature they heat to or incubate at a hotter baseline than required for L. reuteri yogurt. The Luvele Pure yogurt maker has 3 temperature settings - 97, 100, and 104 degrees F. (36, 38 & 40 C). Furthermore, the unique water-bath technology evenly distributes and regulates the temperature over a long period of time making it the perfect environment for this strain of bacteria to happily proliferate.

FERMENTATION TIME

L.reuteri yogurt requires a long fermentation. After 12 hours in the maker the milk will have turned to yogurt but much more time fermenting is necessary to generate the bacterial counts that Dr Davis desires for therapeutic benefits. He recommends that L. reuteri yogurt ferment for 30 to 36 hours. The digital timer on the Luvele pure yogurt maker makes this long incubation stress free and can be set over 2 incubations. Set the first, at the maximum ‘24 hour’ setting, then when the timer goes off, simply reset the maker for another 6 - 12 hours. Then refrigerate. 

THE BEST MILK TO USE

Dr Davis’s method recommends ‘half-and-half’ cow’s milk. Half-and-half (also known as ‘half cream’ in the UK) is a blend of equal parts whole milk and cream and has a 10 - 18% fat content. If half-and-half is not available in your country, we have explored other options:

It is best to choose organic milk, that is free of pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, fertilisers and GMOs. For thickest results also choose full cream milk. Do not use skim or low-fat milk varieties.

1.   You can make your own creamy blend by combining organic full cream milk with 100% organic pure cream. Be sure to watch out for added ingredients in the cream though. Cream can often have thickeners added which may interfere with the fermentation process. For smooth results we recommend ¾ milk to ¼ cream. See our results below.

UPDATE: July 2019 – We found pouring cream (that does not whip) produces better yogurt. If ‘half and half’ milk is not available in your region, click over to our latest failsafe L reuteri method made with pouring cream and milk. The results are fantastic!

2.   Regular organic, full cream milk may be used without adding cream, but the end product won’t be the thick cream-cheese like yogurt Dr Davis enjoys. Note, that if you use unhomogenised full cream milk, there will be a thin layer of cream on top of the yogurt anyway. With consecutive batches the percentage of cream increases. See our results below.

UPDATE: July 2019 – We have continued to experiment and have had great success with a new method only using full cream milk. You can see that here.

3.   Goat and sheep milk may also be used with thinner results.

LACTOSE FREE & VEGAN YOGURT OPTIONS

The best plant-based milk option for L.reuteri yogurt is additive free canned coconut milk or a combination of coconut milk and coconut cream. Click here for the method.

SEEDING THE NEXT BATCH

A portion of your first jar of yogurt – the ‘mother batch’ of yogurt (with 10 crushed probiotic tablets) can then be used to re-inoculate your next jar of L.reuteri yogurt. Simply follow the method detailed below but replace the 10 crushed tablets with a third a cup of L.reuteri yogurt.

To ensure the L reuteri strains stay pure and uncontaminated in homemade yogurt, we recommend re-inoculation be keep to a minimum. To ensure that the yogurt stays abundant with the L. reuteri strains and not a breeding ground for other, unwanted bacteria, we recommend starting a fresh mother batch after 4 re-inoculations. This may be sooner if you notice any significant changes to the texture, smell or taste. Note that with each re-inoculation the yogurt will thicken. Some people report yogurt firm enough, to stand a spoon upright!See our results at the end of the post.

UPDATE: July 2019 – Because we err on the side of caution with re-inoculation and prefer guaranteed healthy bacteria over time, we have experimented with using less capsules to make the l.reuteri yogurt less expensive to make. Our new method follows more traditional yogurt making practises and produces better textural results. See the new method here. 

THE TASTE!

Don’t expect L.reuteri yogurt to taste anything like Greek or plain, unsweetened yogurt. BioGaia Gastrus chewable probiotic tablets are mandarin flavoured, so this hint of citrus, combined with cream, tastes a lot like cheesecake! So be careful, when this yogurt becomes thick and creamy. OMG yogurt has never tasted so much like a dessert!

STEP BY STEP HOW TO MAKE L.REUTERI YOGURT 

UPDATE: July 2019 – The method below is true to Dr Davis’s original recipe however because half and half milk is not available in Australia the results we share may be different to what you are experiencing using the appropriate store bought milk. We have continued to experiment and are pleased to report that we have developed a new method that produces consistent, thick and creamy yogurt every time. You can find new method here.

INGREDIENTS

1 quart or 1 Litre of half-and-half cow’s milk (or see suggestions above)
2 tablespoons prebiotic fibre (inulin powder, unmodified potato starch, PHGG or other prebiotic fibre)
10 tablets of BioGaia Gastrus, crushed or 1/3 cup of L.reuteri yogurt from a previous batch

PREPARATION

Before you begin it is important to sterilise the Luvele yogurt making glass jar, lid and any utensils you use, in boiling hot water. The danger of not sterilising is that other bacteria may overpower your culture and affect the quality of your yogurt.

METHOD

1.   Pour the milk (or milk & cream) into the Luvele yogurt making jar – leaving approx. 1/3 a cup aside.
2.   Spoon the prebiotic fibre into a small bowl.
3.   Add 1/3 cup of milk to the fibre and mix to form a ‘lump-free’ slurry.


4.  (a) TO MAKE THE MOTHER BATCH: Crush 10 probiotic tablets into a fine powder using a mortar and pestle, or other hard object on a clean, dry surface. Add the crushed probiotic powder to the milk & prebiotic slurry and mix it in.
(b) TO MAKE SUBSEQUENT BATCHES: Add 1/3 cup of L.reuteri yogurt (from a previous batch) to the slurry and mix in.

5.   Pour the slurry into the jar with the milk and stir to incorporate.

6.   Put the lid firmly on the yogurt making jar and place into the yogurt maker. Pour water slowly into the base. The water must not be filled over the ‘tall line’ indicated on the inside wall of the maker. Place the cover lid on top. The milk is now ready to begin fermentation.
7.   Use the digital control panel to set the temperature to 36°C or 38°C, (we used 36°C) and the time to 24-hours and then press ‘confirm’ to begin incubation.
8.   After 24 hours the timer will go off. Reset the timer for another 6-12 hours.
9.   When the timer goes off a second time the fermentation is complete. Please note, that condensation will have collected under the cover lid during fermentation. Take care removing it and allow the water to drip into the water bath, instead of your bench.
10.  Switch the yogurt maker off and remove the yogurt jar. Straight from the maker the L.reuteri yogurt will be runny and warm, it may also have separated into layers. Don’t be alarmed, this is normal. Do not stir the yogurt while it is warm.
11.  Place the yogurt in the fridge for at least 6 hours to set then enjoy.

Don’t forget to reserve a third of a cup for your next batch of yogurt!

OUR RESULTS

THE MOTHER BATCH MADE WITH MILK 

After chilling, the consistency and thickness of the first batch of yogurt will depend on the milk you used. The yogurt picture is our 'mother batch' and was made with biodynamic unhomogenised milk, which does not have the cream removed from the milk. If the milk you use has a high fat content, (like ours) the yogurt will have set into layers, with fat (cream) at the top and thin yogurt underneath. There may even be a layer of whey under the cream. Stir the cream into the yogurt (and enjoy the clumps) or prize off and indulge. 

L.reuteri yogurt

It’s not unusual for the first batch to have the consistency of drinking yogurt. Subsequent batches will be thicker and smoother. Tip: Dripping the yogurt through a cheese cloth is a good way to remove the whey and thicken early batches of L.reuteri yogurt.

SUBSEQUENT BATCH MADE FROM MILK

The consistency of your second batch of yogurt made with only milk should be thicker but, again, this will depend on the milk you are using. We used organic full cream milk. Our second batch of yogurt (innoculated with 1/3 cup of L.Reuteri yogurt from a previous batch) was very thick, creamy and smooth at the top where there was a higher percentage of cream. However, under the creamy layer the yogurt was still thin in parts. It was easy to pour off some of the whey.

THE MOTHER BATCH MADE WITH CREAM & MILK 

Results will depend on the brand of milk you use and the fat content of your cream. We used 1 litre of organic cow’s milk plus 300mls of organic pure cream. After fermentation and chilling our yogurt separated into two distinct layers - with cream at the top and a large portion of whey at the bottom. We poured out the whey leaving only the cream in the jar. The yogurt was very thick - after stirring, it became lumpy, like buttery – cheese. We used a stick blender to briefly whip the cream and remove the lumps. The results were smooth, thick and delicious. If you choose to whip, BE CAREFUL - DO NOT OVER-WHIP or else the cream will turn to butter!!

DISCLAIMER

Because L.Reuteri bacteria are not traditional yogurt culturing strains we have chosen to add the following disclaimers: 

  1. L. Reuteri are probiotic bacteria of human origin that thrive and grow in the human GI tract not in dairy milk or other food. 
  2. Biogaia; the manufacture of L. Reuteri probiotics are not convinced that L. Reuteri will produce yogurt, nor do they recommend it.
  3. We have not seen any official CFU counts other than those stated on the BioGaia’s probiotic tablets. To our knowledge, no clinical trials or CFU testing has been done on any L. Reuteri yogurt formulation.
  4. Recently Dr. Davis changed his method suggesting to add a small amount of traditional yogurt starter culture to L.Reuteri yogurt to help thicken and improve the texture. Without clinical trials, we are not certain L.Reuteri bacteria will reproduce or survive in the same environment as the more dominant, traditional yogurt making bacteria. Adding traditional strains will however produce satisfying thick yogurt.
  5. Luvele has not lab tested any yogurt formulation and can not make accurate health or CFU claims.
  6. Luvele can not take responsibility for the safety of yogurt-like products produced with L. Reuteri strains. 
You might also like our dairy-free coconut yogurt l.reuteri method.

PIN THIS RECIPE

L.reuteri yogurt

 


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