Sunday, September 21, 2008

Homemade yogurt with VSL#3 culture (Yes, I know it sounds sort of like some Sci-Fi 50s film version of Yogurt...)

I made yogurt a lot when I was in Germany--I also bought a lot of yogurt, but I could never find a place that had yogurt starters. So, when I moved home a few months ago, I continued to make yogurt the same old way...Using purchased yogurt to start the new yogurt culture. It wasn't until I started taking the VSL#3 probiotic (about a month and a half ago) that I wondered if I could make yogurt with it, but then, I read on the "Trying Low Oxalates" forum at Yahoo that some of the moms had tried it and it worked. So, I thought, why not try? I much prefer yogurt to capsules...

Here is my recipe for making yogurt with no added equipment--it is really very easy:

I took 1/2 gallon of organic milk, and heated it up until bubbles started to form around the edges--That is at about 165-175 degrees Farenheit. Then I removed the yogurt from the heat and let it cool to between 110-115 degrees Farenheit. While it was cooling, I took three capsules of the VSL#3 probiotic and emptied them into about 1/2 cup of cold milk. Once the heated milk had cooled, I whisked in about 1/4 of a cup of warm milk into the cold milk, and then another 1/4 cup, then, I slowly stirred the mixture together, and gradually added it to the hot milk a little at a time--mixing it thoroughly each time. Then I poured it all into a glass container and covered it with foil, and wrapped it in a towel and left it on top of the oven which I had turned to low. I left it to sit all night (about 12 hours) and in the morning I had a very good yogurt. It was a bit chunky, but fairly thick and had an excellent taste. I eat it plain in the morning with either fruit and honey, or lately with a little tiny bit of stevia since I am trying to control my sugar intake also (I use about one packet of stevia over the course of a week--so just a slight dusting on the yogurt). Stevia is high oxalate in its pure form, so if you are trying to avoid oxalates make sure you get one of the "watered down" versions if you do that.


jkehoe said...

Are you still making yogurt with the VSL3. If so I wonder if you have tried using less VSL3. One of the capsules has 125billion bacteria. Commercial yogurt and other probiotics contain less than 20billion, so I wonder if a lower amount would give an equal or better result.

ecureuil77 said...

I have been making VSL3 yogurt for years and you definitely don't need to use so much. I just open up the capsule and sprinkle a tiny bit in the cold milk (a sprinkle per litre/quart in the US). I stir it a bit and then put it in my yogurt maker directly (it takes around 11-12 hours, less if you don't like it tart).
If you don't have a yogurt maker, then just bring the milk up to the right temperature and add it then.
VSL3 is really powerful and a little goes a long way. I think 3 capsules would make a lot of yogurt. I make 1 quart of yogurt a day for my family and I need approximately 1 capsule a week.
I hope this helps you save some VSL3, which is rather expensive.

gg555 said...

This doesn't work the way you think it does, unfortunately. You're just ending up with some of the strains in VSL3, which outcompete the others in the yogurt culture. In other words, you're ending up with plain old normal yogurt that could be made with much cheapers starters. You should read this article:

And this scientific study:

They discuss what actually happens when yogurt cultures. They discuss how making yogurt with other strains in them is a complicated process that can't be reproduced without sophisticated equipment.

If you want all the strains that are in VSL3 in the proportions they come in you have to consume the packets. This would also be true of any other probiotic capsule.

Sorry for the less than great news about this idea. I was excited about using VSL3 as a starter until I researched the idea further and saw the technical problems with attempting to do this at home.

Unknown said...

P.S. You also might not end up with just plain old yogurt, but with something that you don't even know what you have. Depending on which bacterial strains outcompete the others.

For more discussion and explanation of the problems read the articles I link to above and look at my comments in this forum thread:

stentor said...

On the other hand, rehydrating dry bugs in filtered water awhile before dropping them right into stomach acid couldn't hurt, could it? But the yogurt I made with one VSL3 cap in a cup of milk (with a pinch of crushed up multivitamin as bug nutrient) and allowed to sit for 2 days, no special preps, was delicious.