The “yogurt” we ferment with two strains of Lactobacillus reuteri is thick, rich, and delicious while yielding extraordinary health benefits for most people that includes smoother skin/reduced wrinkles, accelerated healing, preservation of bone density, restoration of youthful strength and muscle, increased libido, and heightened empathy.
Recall that, according to FDA regulations, we really cannot call it “yogurt” because we did not use Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcu thermphilus, the microorganisms used to ferment conventional yogurt. We also ferment for much longer, 36 hours compared to the 4-6 hours used to ferment conventional yogurt. We also ferment in the presence of prebiotic fibers like inulin, raw potato starch, or acacia fiber that nourish bacteria. The end result is very high bacterial counts of around 90 billion CFUs per 1/2-cup serving, rather than the trivial counts obtained with conventional fermentation. We thereby obtain dramatic health effects, compared to the little to no health effects from consuming standard yogurts. Extended fermentation also maximizes the conversion of lactose to lactic acid that accounts for the tartness of L. reuteri yogurt. The plentiful lactic acid also reduces the pH to around 3.5, a range that also denatures, or breaks down, much of the casein (beta A1) protein. This means that our yogurt has less lactose and less immunogenic potential from the casein.
But there remains a potential problem ingredient in our “yogurt”: whey.
You likely noticed that there is both a solid and a liquid component to the yogurt, especially after you have removed some of the yogurt from the bowl that encourages separation. While both phases contain L. reuteri, the whey fraction poses some potential health issues, as the whey is insulinotrophic, i.e., it provokes release of insulin from the pancreas, just as carbohydrates and sugars do. This can, over time, contribute to insulin resistance and weight gain or preventing weight loss, as insulin is the hormone of fat accumulation. (This is why I advocate a period being dairy-free if you encounter a weight loss plateau.) I therefore pour off the whey when separation occurs. (You can save the whey to create your next batch of yogurt, however. Some people save the whey as ice cubes to start the next batch.)
But you can go one step further and create Greek-style L. reuteri yogurt by filtering out the whey. This yields an even thicker, richer yogurt while minimizing the potential for this whey effect. To make Greek-style L. reuteri yogurt, simply line a colander with cheesecloth, place the setup in a large bowl or pan, then put your batch of yogurt in the cheesecloth and allow the whey to drain, a process that typically requires around 4-6 hours. Cover the entire setup with another piece of cheesecloth, plastic wrap, or other cover to prevent contamination from airborne organisms.
Should you do this with some regularity, consider purchasing 90-grade cheesecloth, i.e., thicker and sturdier, as the heavier grade holds up better in the laundry to reuse for future batches.
Here was my end-result, left. Two cups of yogurt yielded about 1/2 cup of liquid. I set a little aside to make the next batch, while discarding the rest. The Greek-style L. reuteri was indeed thicker and richer, so thick that it practically stood upright in the bowl.