It’s been a few years since we first posted about Lactobacillus Reuteri, the species of bacteria that cardiologist and author Dr. William Davis found to have amazing health benefits. Lactobacillus reuteri (L. reuteri) is a superstar in the world of intestinal microbes but modern life has eradicated the species from 96 percent of us. Davis believes restoring L. Reuteri into your gastrointestinal tract, via food, to be one of the most powerful strategies we can do for our health, both physically and emotionally. We’ve written about the benefits in this post.
Homemade yogurt (or a yogurt-like fermented food) is the vehicle he uses to accomplish this. L Reuteri strains however, were never designed to make yogurt. In fact, yogurt manufacturers told him that making yogurt with L reuteri couldn't be done. Mastering a method was really a food hacking exercise for Davies. Unlike conventional yogurt making methods, his approach maximises bacterial counts by fermenting for 36 hours and adding prebiotic fibre to the yogurt mixture to provide food for the microorganisms.
Dr Davis's method uses 10 crushed L reuteri probiotic tablets as a starter culture – the process is like trying to get the bacteria in the tablets to do something they were never designed to do. The results can be inconsistent and sometimes massive fails. Thankfully the cultured food enthusiasts at Cutting Edge Cultures have simplified the method. Their unique LR Superfood starter culture provides a high concentration of Lactobacillus Reuteri in convenient sachets that is much more affordable and saves you the trouble of having to crush tablets to create a starter. Following Davis's method, the 36-hour fermentation of this starter culture with prebiotic fibre enables the L. Reuteri to proliferate many times over, until there are hundreds of billions of live bacteria in the jar. The resulting concentrations of L. Reuteri are much higher than can be obtained from any currently available supplement or yogurt (including homemade ones) that we know of.
Cutting Edge Cultures had their superfood yogurt analysed in a lab with impressive results. LR Superfood starter culture packs at least ten times the punch of supplements. Half a cup of L. Reuteri Superfood yogurt contains just over 67.2 billion live bacteria. For comparison, the highest potency L. Reuteri probiotic supplement currently on the market has a count of 5 billion per capsule.
Reuteri Superfood is not technically a yogurt, although it may look, taste and smell like one. It will be thick, rich, and pleasantly tart, depending on the dairy used it may also look and taste very differently, like cheese, for example. Separation is very common. A hint of a light "fizz" is also possible, as a natural result of the long and active fermentation.
Separation is very common. To yield a thicker Greek-style result you can pour off or strain the whey followingthis method. Whey is often dubbed ‘liquid gold’. It's highly nutritious and can be used in a variety of health-giving ways. Adding it into smoothies is a delicious way to get a probiotic boost. For more creative ideas refer to this post.
Dr Davis created his method using ultra-pasteurized half and half milk, which is a full-fat milk commonly available in America. It is not available in Australia, in the UK and Europe, it’s known as ‘half cream’.
If half and half milk is available in your area, we recommend you use it because from our feedback, this milk produces reliable results. Where half and half milk is not available, we recommend the following options:
Separation is mostly a cosmetic thing, and not usually a sign of a problem. A separated batch is usually perfectly good and delicious. In terms of bacterial counts, the texture doesn't matter. A separated jar contains the same quantity of beneficial bacteria as a non-separated jar. The L. Reuteri are present in both the solids (curds) and the translucent liquid (whey), and therefore both should be consumed.
If separation in recultured batches is very strong and happens repeatedly, it could be a sign that it's time to begin over with a starter from a sachet, rather than keep using the yogurt as a starter.
The separated yogurt pictured below was made with whole milk that was not heated. We tipped out the whey and enjoyed a thicker and creamier version.
One sachet of L. Reuteri starter is will ferment up to 2 litres of milk. There are 4 sachets in each packet. Once you’ve made a jar of LR Superfood yogurt, you can use some of it to re-ferment subsequent batches. Reculture for as long as your batch comes out thick and pleasantly tart. Assuming you are using the same milk, batches should come out pretty similar to one another. When significant changes begin to occur (not tart enough or conversely, too pungent), although you're doing the same thing – begin with a new sachet.
Reuteri are living bacteria and need to eat. The food that they like to eat are known as prebiotics. These prebiotics will encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria already living in the body and can also aid in the growth and maintenance of probiotics. Cutting Edge Cultures have formulated ‘Prebio Plus’, a custom blend of three different organic prebiotic fibres to maximise the benefits of the L reuteri strains.
Reuteri takes 36 hours to ferment. It's best to start early in the morning or later in the evening. Otherwise, if you start in the afternoon, for example, fermentation will finish 36 hours later, in the middle of the night.
Before you begin it is important to sterilise the Luvele yogurt making glass jar and any utensils you use, in boiling hot water. Do this by boiling a kettle and carefully pouring the hot water in the jar and over the equipment. The danger of not sterilising is that other bacteria may overpower your culture and affect the quality of your ferment.
1-2 litres ultra-pasteurized half and half, or whole milk – see notes
1 sachet of LR Superfood Starter (or 2 tablespoons from your previous batch)
2 scoops Prebio Plus probiotic fibre (spoon is provided)
1. If you would like to denature the milk start by heating the milk. If you are using half and half or UHT milk move to step 5.
2. Pour the milk into a large clean saucepan. Place the saucepan on the stove top and heat the milk to 82° C (180° F) Use a thermometer for an accurate reading.
3. To hold the milk at this temperature for 20 minutes is an optional step. It can be a challenge to hold the milk at a high temperature for so long. We recommend using a double boiler pot filled with boiling water. Don’t get too caught up on the precise temperature. If the milk accidentally boils briefly, don’t panic – reduce the heat and continue.
4. Remove from the stove and let cool to below 42° C (107° F). You can actively cool it by filling a sink, or bowl with cold water and ice cubes and setting the pot of heated milk in the cold water. It is fine if the milk cools down below 42° or even goes cold, it just mustn't be hot. Temperatures above 43° C will kill the L. reuteri strains. As the milk cools, a layer of skin will form on the top. There is no harm leaving it in. It does not produce lumpy yogurt.
5. Open the sachet of LR superfood starter and pour it into the Luvele glass yogurt maker jar or add 2 tablespoons of LR superfood yogurt from your previous batch.
6. Add 2 scoops of Prebio Plus prebiotic powder.
7. Add 1.5 cups of milk (or pre-heated and cooled milk).
8. Whisk well to avoid clumping.
9. Pour in the remaining milk and whisk well for even distribution. Do not blend.
10. Put the lid on the yogurt making jar and place into the yogurt maker.
11. 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.
12. The milk is now ready to begin fermentation. Use the digital control panel to set the temperature to 36°C and the time to 36-hours and then press ‘confirm’ to begin incubation. If you have an older version Luvele yogurt maker set the timer to 24-hours and then when that is complete, set the maker for a further 12-hours.
13. 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.
14. Switch the yogurt maker off and remove the yogurt jar. Straight from the maker the L. reuteri yogurt will be warm. Do not stir the yogurt while it is warm or else is will not set in a perfect mass.
15. Depending on the milk you used, your yogurt may have a thin layer of cream on top. Bonus, this is delicious!
16. Place the yogurt in the fridge for at least 6 hours to set, then enjoy.
17. Don’t forget to reserve 2 tablespoons of yogurt or whey for your next batch of superfood!