Homemade probiotic yogurt
The commercial probiotics capsules do not have the required amounts of friendly gut bacteria needed to repopulate your small intestine with Bifidobacteria, Lactobacillus and Saccharomyces. But there is a simple way of cheaply making your own powerful “living” kefir or yoghurt:
Take those capsules of probiotic cultures you have bought (ThreeLac, 5Lac etc.) and add them to a pint of any store bought organic whole milk “pro-biotic” yoghurt or kefir drink. verify that it is not pasteurized and that the label mentions “live active cultures”. Only use glass or stainless containers. Metals and plastics seem to harm the bacteria. Take care not to use fluoridated of chlorinated water with any living lactobacillus cultures.
Heat up two quarts of heavy cream (containing less lactose than whole milk) to 80°C / 180 °F for a couple of minutes to destroy any undesirable bacteria.
As an alternative, you can also use skim milk, powdered milk, whole milk, regular homogenized milk and even some types of soy milk – just as long as there are enough milk sugars or added sugars to feed the good lactobacteria.
Then let it cool to room temperature. Thoroughly stir in the store-bought probiotic yoghurt and the probiotic supplements.
Pour the mixture into a sealable container and close it off. Keep the yoghurt mix lukewarm at around 44 °C / 112 °F for at least 12 to 48 hours – in a large thermos for example. For best results, start incubating your brew at room temperature and increase the temperature gradually to 44 °C / 112 °F. This procedure is of course a lot easier with a yoghurt-making machine.
The kefir/yoghurt becomes “alive” after 6 – 12 hours, but remember: The longer you wait and let the yoghurt mature, the more lactose is eaten up by the bacteria and the more probiotics have been generated. Conversely, the longer you wait and let the mixture “brew”, the sourer and more acidic it becomes. Let your lactose-tolerance level and taste decide.
Save some as “starter” culture for your next batch.
After a few “generations” of yoghurt making, Lactobacillus Bulgaricus always likes to dominate the culture, so when making a probiotic yoghurt, make a fresh batch every couple of “generations” with a new starter mixture.
These beneficial bacteria can be used in your home-made kefir/yoghurt:
B. breve, B. longum, L. acidophilus, L. bulgaricus, L. casei, L. plantarum, L. rhamnosus, S. boulardii, S. thermophilus.
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This works with soy milk aswell, very useful for people with milk intolerance who need probiotics. I use a probiotic powder with several bacteria strains. I save a lot of money this way, as compared to taking the powder (or capsules) directly.
I never pasteurized the soy milk before fermenting, as it comes in a UHT container anyway. Also, I think the lactobacteria are usually very dominant and will quickly outgrow other bacteria. I toss in 1/4 teaspoon of probiotics, shake the container and put it in a warm place. (An oven with the lamp on is usually 30-40 °C).
The consistence won’t be perfect, but more like thick buttermilk, OK for drinking. For a thicker yoghurt, whisk in some psyllium husk powder (for gluten-free baking). For the taste, add a very small pinch of salt, some vanilla. And, if you want it more fat, some of the solids from a can of coconut milk, and it will be hard to tell it’s not real yoghurt.
I found the consistence tends to get rather thin by high temperatures (over 35°C). By even higher temperatures, it may curdle/separate. At room temperature it will eventually turn thick and quite pleasant. You need to keep it above 30 °C at least during the first 12-24 hours, but after that, it can be kept on your kitchen table. If it separates, whisk with a hand mixer.
I use a rice/soy milk from the Aldi supermarket (German chain in several European countries) which I find to be the best and cheapest, but other rice or soy milks will probably work too. Check the nutrition label, it must have some amount of carbohydrates for the bacteria to grow. If it’s very low in carbs, add any type of sugar. I have used lactose but it doesn’t seem to make a difference. Now I prefer honey.
Homemade soy yoghurt will also work fine for making a batch of sourdough (use any gluten or glutenfree flour type, keep it warm, and it will be sour fermented within just 8-12 hours).