Advanced Topic: Probiotic Yogurt Recipes

View these “yogurt” fermentation projects as much like going to a restaurant. The waiter hands you a menu—do you panic, thinking that you need to order every appetizer, entree, and dessert on the menu? Of course not. You simply pick and choose the few dishes that suit your tastes.

Approach these fermentation projects in the same way: pick and choose among them to obtain the benefits you desire. If you would like smoother skin with reduced wrinkles, choose the L. reuteri yogurt. If you want to shrink visceral fat, choose L. gasseri BNR17 yogurt. If you want to provide a pregnant mother with B. infantis to help her newborn experience less colic, fewer bowel movements (and thereby fewer diaper changes), and greater likelihood of sleeping through the night, then make yogurt with this microbe (for the mother, not the baby) to consume.

Why even bother making yogurt and why not just take the probiotic directly? Think of yogurt making as a bacterial count amplification process. If we start, for instance, with the 200 million bacterial counts of the two stains of L. reuteri sourced from the BioGaia Gastrus product, you should not expect much in the way of results, as the dose was low, intended for infants. But ferment as “yogurt,” especially using the modified process we use that includes prolonged fermentation times and addition of prebiotic fiber, and we typically obtain a thousand-fold greater bacterial count. While our flow cytometry measurements have revealed variation in bacterial counts, 36 hours of fermentation typically yields 260 billion counts (CFUs). Bigger bacterial numbers are more likely to generate meaningful health effects when we consume them.

The best and most forgiving results are obtained by starting with organic half-and-half. Be sure to choose brands that have no added emulsifiers or mixing agents such as gellan gum, xanthan gum, carrageenan or others; the dairy-sourced liquid should be the only ingredient aside from any added vitamin D. Other choices, especially for anyone with any form of dairy intolerance, include A2 whole milk, goat, or sheep milk, all of which contain the casein beta A2 protein, rather than the more immunogenic A1 form found in most North American dairy products; the A2 protein is identical to that found in human breastmilk. While dairy products do have some health consequences, the method of prolonged fermentation we use minimizes these issues, since prolonged fermentation maximally converts lactose to lactic acid, the drop in pH (typically around 3.5—acidic) that denatures, or breaks down, the casein protein, and you can pour off or strain the whey (yielding a thicker Greek-style end result) to minimize the insulin-provoking effect of the whey protein.

We also know from our flow cytometry studies that, because the high bacterial counts of monoculture yogurts are so high, it means that we can still obtain substantial effect and bacterial numbers by fermenting with two, three, perhaps even four species together. This allows you to combine various species/strains to obtain the effects you desire.

Lactobacillus reuteri yogurt

Lactobacillus reuteri is our star yogurt that can yield spectacular effects such as smoothing of skin wrinkles, increased skin moisture (sebum), increased dermal collagen, accelerated healing, and restoration of youthful muscle. The oxytocin boost you receive with this yogurt also increases feelings of empathy for other people, while the upper GI tract-colonizing effect of this species also provides protection against SIBO or SIBO recurrence. If you are an actively menstruating or pregnant female, we recommend that you not consume this high bacterial count yogurt but make the L. reuteri mixed culture yogurt from the recipe below that yields lower bacterial counts.

Note that, when fermented alone, we use human body temperature that is “preferred” by L. reuteri. When combined with other species that have higher temperature “preferences,” such as 115-122°F of B. coagulans, we use a temperature of around 106°F—not the ideal temperature for B. coagulans, but below the temp that kills L. reuteri of 109-110°F and higher.

  • 10 Gastrus tablets, crushed (or the contents of one capsule of Osfortis)
  • 2 tablespoons prebiotic fiber (inulin or raw potato starch)
  • 1 quart half-and-half
Crush 10 Gastrus tablets by placing in a plastic bag and crushing with a heavy jar, thick drinking glass, or rolling pin. If in capsule form, simply open capsule and pour into bowl.

In medium to large bowl, combine crushed tablets, prebiotic fiber, and 2 tablespoons of half-and-half or other liquid. Note that we begin by making a slurry to make sure the prebiotic fiber does not clump. Stir until well-mixed. Stir in remaining half-and-half or other liquid. Cover lightly (e.g., plastic wrap) and place in your fermenting device and ferment at 100°F for 36 hours. To make future batches, use two tablespoons from a prior batch, curds and/or whey.

Bacterial source: BioGaia for their Gastrus tablets (L. reuteri strains DSM 17938, ATCC PTA 6475) or Osfortis capsules (6475 strain only). In addition to Amazon, these products are available through the U.S. distributor, Everidis: https://biogaiausa.com/products/biogaia-gastrus/.


Bacillus coagulans yogurt

The GBI-30,6086 strain of B. coagulans can reduce inflammation, reduce arthritis pain, reduce symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome, and accelerate muscle recovery after strenuous exercise by limiting muscle breakdown during exertion. B. coagulans yields a delicious, milder yogurt that is less tart than L. reuteri yogurt. In fact, many people who have made yogurt with this species/strain report that it yields the most delightful and tasty yogurt they have ever had.

  • 2 capsules Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086
  • 2 tablespoons prebiotic fiber (inulin or raw potato starch)
  • 1 quart half-and-half
In medium to large bowl, combine contents of 2 capsules, prebiotic fiber, and 2 tablespoons of half-and-half or other liquid. Note that we begin by making a slurry to make sure the prebiotic fiber does not clump. Stir until well-mixed. Stir in remaining half-and-half or other liquid. Cover lightly (e.g., plastic wrap) and place in your fermenting device and ferment at 115-122°F for 36 hours. To make future batches, use two tablespoons from a prior batch, curds and/or whey.

Bacterial source: The Digestive Advantage product from Schiff is available in many major retail stores and pharmacies. Other sources of B. coagulans do not specify strain and we therefore avoid.


Lactobacillus gasseri yogurt

The BNR17 strain of L. gasseri can reduce waist size by about one inch, reduce cross-sectional abdominal fat by around 13 square centimeters when consumed over 90 days even in the absence of any change in diet or exercise. It can also reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, reduce blood and urinary levels of oxalate that lead to kidney stones, and can be instrumental in protecting against SIBO or SIBO recurrences due to its vigorous bacteriocin-producing properties. L. gasseri BNR17 may be sufficiently potent to serve as a SIBO-eradicating strategy, though this has not yet been formally explored.

A U.S. company, UAS Labs in Wisconsin, has purchased the rights to manufacture, but has only sold to retailers who combine L. gasseri BNR17 with other microbes with the typical problem of unspecified strains and too many other species that compete when fermented, reducing bacterial numbers and likely limiting benefits. We shall update if/when a U.S. retailer makes this species/strain available.

  • 1 capsule L. gasseri BNR17
  • 2 tablespoons prebiotic fiber (sucrose or raw potato starch)
  • 1 quart half-and-half
In medium to large bowl, combine contents of 2 capsules, sugar or prebiotic fiber, and 2 tablespoons of half-and-half or other liquid. Note that we begin by making a slurry to make sure the prebiotic fiber does not clump. Stir until well-mixed. Stir in remaining half-and-half or other liquid. Cover lightly (e.g., plastic wrap) and place in your fermenting device and ferment at 109°F for 36 hours. To make future batches, use two tablespoons from a prior batch, curds and/or whey.

Bacterial source: For the present, we source from the South Korean company that developed the science and markets the bacteria, AceBiome: http://global.gmarket.co.kr/item?goodsCode=1830626470

Each capsule provides 10 billion CFUs L. gasseri BNR17.


Lactobacillus casei Shirota yogurt

This species/strain provides unique immune system-boosting effects, particularly effective against viral respiratory illnesses. There are three human clinical trials that demonstrate that intake of this microbe, 100 billion CFUs per day, reduces potential for viral illnesses by around 50% and, should you develop a viral illness, the illness is abbreviated by 50%. Because this effect appears to require high bacterial counts and the commercial source of the bacterial species/strain provides only 6.5 billion per bottle (sold as a product called Yakult), our prolonged fermentation with prebiotic fibers provides the higher numbers for this effect. The Yakult product is also a non-fat milk sweetened with sugar, all the more reason to ferment in our preferred media (higher fat dairy with no added sugar).

  • 1 2-ounce bottle Yakult
  • 2 tablespoons prebiotic fiber (inulin or raw potato starch)
  • 1 quart half-and-half
In medium to large bowl, combine contents of Yakult, prebiotic fiber, and 2 tablespoons of half-and-half or other liquid. Note that we begin by making a slurry to make sure the prebiotic fiber does not clump. Stir until well-mixed. Stir in remaining half-and-half or other liquid. Cover lightly (e.g., plastic wrap) and place in your fermenting device and ferment at 109°F for 36 hours.

Bacterial source: Yakult. You can find the Yakult product in Walmart, Meijer, and several other major retailers in the refrigerated dairy section next to yogurts and kefirs. The manufacturer provides a store locator on their website: https://www.yakultusa.com.


Bifidobacteria infantis yogurt

The EVC001 strain of B. infantis has been lost by many expectant mothers who thereby cannot pass it onto their newborn babies, putting their children at a disadvantage for growth and long-term health. When restored in an infant as a probiotic, there are fewer bowel movements (fewer diaper changes), less colic, less eczema, less diaper rash, and less risk for asthma, type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune disorders later in childhood. But how about a better strategy: Why not make yogurt with this species/strain that the pregnant mother can consume and thereby pass B. infantis onto the newborn by passage through the birth canal or breastfeeding, the way it was supposed to happen? This may provide advantage in that the mom delivers this species/strain in the context of a broader microbiome. It also saves money because the yogurt can be propagated over and over again starting with a single sachet. (The Evivo B. infantis product comes in a sachet rather than capsule.) The baby can also take the probiotic, of course, to ensure that the microbe is passed on.

Note that the yogurt is for the mother’s consumption only, not for the baby. We also adjust our yogurt making methods. Because this microbe is somewhat slower in growing, we extend fermentation time to between 36 and 40 hours. B. infantis is unable to metabolize inulin and will not ferment as vigorously, so choose raw potato starch or sucrose as the prebiotic “fiber.”

  • 1 envelope Evivo B. infantis EVC001 (8 billion CFUs)
  • 2 tablespoons prebiotic fiber (sucrose or raw potato starch)
  • 1 quart half-and-half
In medium to large bowl, combine contents of one envelope Evivo, prebiotic fiber, and 2 tablespoons of half-and-half or other liquid. Note that we begin by making a slurry to make sure the prebiotic fiber does not clump. Stir until well-mixed. Stir in remaining half-and-half or other liquid. Cover lightly (e.g., plastic wrap) and place in your fermenting device and ferment at 100°F for 36-40 hours. To make future batches, use two tablespoons from a prior batch, curds and/or whey.

Bacterial source: Evivo. Obtain from the manufacturer: evivo.com.


Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum yogurt

This is the combination of species/strains that has been shown to reduce anxiety and lift mood. Once again, we put our microbes to work with prolonged fermentation and prebiotic fibers to obtain bigger bacterial numbers for bigger and faster effects. This combination may propagate a little more slowly than other species, so we ferment at 100°F for 36-40 hours.

  • 1 capsule Mood Probiotic
  • 2 tablespoons prebiotic fiber (sucrose or raw potato starch)
  • 1 quart half-and-half
In medium to large bowl, empty contents of one capsule, add prebiotic fiber and 2 tablespoons of half-and-half or other liquid. Note that we begin by making a slurry to make sure the prebiotic fiber does not clump. Stir until well-mixed. Stir in remaining half-and-half or other liquid. Cover lightly (e.g., plastic wrap) and place in your fermenting device and ferment at 100°F for 36-40 hours. To make future batches, use two tablespoons from a prior batch, curds and/or whey.

Bacterial source: InnovixLabs Mood Probiotic. Obtain from the manufacturer: InnovixLabs.com


High-potency probiotic yogurt

This is how to create a high-potency probiotic yogurt that saves you money while providing super-duper high bacterial counts with all the benefits of commercially produced high-potency probiotics.

Start with either a capsule of probiotic with at least 2 billion CFUs of one or more species, preferably 10 or more, or 2 tablespoons of a commercial kefir with 10 or more species. You can also combine different brands of kefir with different bacterial species to increase the number of fermenting species. I paid around $4 for each of the commercial kefirs. It means that a couple tablespoons of store-bought kefir can yield months and months of probiotic and save you a lot of money by not having to buy costly commercial probiotics. The end-result will be thicker than the original kefir, given our prolonged fermentation to increase bacterial counts, more like yogurt in consistency and no longer the thin drinkable liquid of kefirs.

  • 1 capsule probiotic or 2 tablespoons of kefir (If combining kefirs, use two tablespoons of each product.)
  • 2 tablespoons prebiotic fiber (inulin, sucrose, or raw potato starch)
  • 1 quart half-and-half
In a medium-sized bowl, empty probiotic capsule contents or kefir(s), prebiotic fiber, and two tablespoons of organic half-and-half or other dairy. Note that we begin by making a slurry to make sure the prebiotic fiber does not clump. Stir until well-mixed. Stir in remaining half-and-half or other liquid. Cover lightly (e.g., plastic wrap) and place in your fermenting device and ferment at 106°F for 36 hours. To make future batches, use two tablespoons from a prior batch, curds and/or whey.


SIBO yogurt

Rather than fermenting three different species/strains separately, we are going to ferment all three together to generate our potentially anti-SIBO mix of probiotic species. While this will reduce the final bacterial counts of each species, it will still amplify bacterial counts from the much smaller starting numbers. (Should we have success with our formulation, then we will need to submit a sample for formal bacterial quantification.)

While the recipe is written as if started with raw probiotic product, you can also use 1-2 tablespoons of a yogurt made with each individual species.

  • 10 tablets BioGaia Gastrus tablets, crushed (total 2 billion CFUs), or 2 tablespoons of L. reuteri yogurt (curds and/or whey)
  • 2 capsules Lactobacillus gasseri BNR-17
  • 2 capsules Bacillus coagulans GBI-30,6086 (total 5 billion CFUs)
  • 2 tablespoons prebiotic fiber (inulin or raw potato starch)
  • 1 quart half-and-half or other liquid
In a medium-sized bowl, combine probiotic contents, prebiotic fiber, and two tablespoons of organic half-and-half or other dairy. Note that we begin by making a slurry to make sure the prebiotic fiber does not clump. Stir until well-mixed. Stir in remaining half-and-half or other liquid. Cover lightly (e.g., plastic wrap) and place in your fermenting device and ferment at 106°F for 36 hours. To make future batches, use two tablespoons from a prior batch, curds and/or whey.

Bacterial sources:

L. reuteri: BioGaia Gastrus tablets, amazon.com or everidis.com.
L. gasseri:
http://global.gmarket.co.kr/item?goodsCode=1830626470.
B. coagulans: Schiff Digestive Advantage available in most major department stores and pharmacies