Tweaks To The Not-Yogurt

      82 Comments on Tweaks To The Not-Yogurt

I’ve experimented a couple of times with the ingredients for the not-yogurt. The last four batches have been great – thick and creamy through-and-through, with no runny stuff to pour off or mix in, and no cottage-cheese chunks. So here’s my current process:

I make just over two quarts at a time. I prefer to mix, incubate and store without changing containers, so I use these 32-oz. cups for the NutriBullet. I ordered four of them from Amazon.

I divide two quarts of organic half-and-half into three of the 32-oz. cups, then add a little more until I’ve reached the Max line. Next I add two tablespoons of yogurt from the previous batch to each cup. Then I crush one additional BioGaia tablet for each cup.

That may not be necessary, of course. Could be the previous yogurt is all it takes. But what the heck, I’m doing this to make sure I get the L. reuteri into my system, so I’m willing to use three tablets per batch. Perhaps I’ll experiment with some future batch and skip the additional tablet for one of the three cups, then compare the results.

Someone mentioned in comments that if the not-yogurt is runny, it likely means the bacteria ran out of food during incubation. Well, we mustn’t let that happen. Potato starch is dirt cheap, and I’d rather give the bacteria too much food instead of too little. So I add two full tablespoons of potato starch to each cup. Haven’t had a runny batch since I started doing that.

Sometimes when we reach the bottom of a cup, there’s a thick, white layer.  I assume it’s mostly leftover potato starch the little critters didn’t eat. Since potato starch is a probiotic (don’t let the word starch scare you), I just scoop it out and add it to my yogurt shake.

Once all the ingredients are in the cup, I plop it on the NutriBullet to mix everything – no need to make a slurry first. Then I cover each cup with a coffee filter held in place by a rubber band. Then it’s off to the Sous Vide pot to incubate for at least 36 hours.

I took a picture of the not-yogurt after a recent batch was fully incubated, then realized it just looked like a cup of cream. To demonstrate how thick this stuff is, I plunged a butter knife into the yogurt, then took another picture.

Now that’s thick.

When we finish off two of the cups, I open the third cup and spoon out what I need to start another batch. That seems to work out well as far as timing. The next batch is done just about the time we reach the bottom of that third cup.

How are the rest of you doing with your batches?

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82 thoughts on “Tweaks To The Not-Yogurt

  1. Megan

    My not-yogurt is turning out wonderfully! My first batch (from the crushed tablets) failed spectacularly (I cooked it for 36 hours and I think that was too long) and I got some hard grainy cheese and about a pint of whey. I strained out the whey and have been using 2 tablespoons of that and 2 tablespoons of inulin in 1400cc half Half-and-half, half whole milk, cooked at 100 degrees for 32 hours in a yogurt maker I got on Prime Day. It’s nice and thick with a mild flavor.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      We’ve cooked ours up to 40 hours, mostly so we wouldn’t have to wake up 5:00 AM and take it out of the pot. Never seemed to harm the stuff. Our batches got better over time as well.

      Reply
  2. Brandon

    Thanks for sharing! I do not use new tablets with each batch, just some of the previous and the potato starch in the Instant Pot. I still find mine pretty runny, and I use a greek yogurt strainer to thicken it up. I’ll try adding more starch and see if it improves future batches, although I have found the flavor of the yogurt has improved over time.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Next batch, I might try skipping the tablet for one cup and see what happens. I found adding the extra potato starch eliminated the runny stuff almost entirely.

      Reply
  3. Roy

    If your making this from previously made “yogurt”, it shouldn’t take more than 6 hours to get the next batch. I made a batch today with a sous vide using inulin as the prebotic. I put the half and half in containers, heat it to about 100 degrees (so the inulin will dissolve well), then add the inulin and stir so the inulin disolves. Then. let it go for 6 hours. Comes out nice and thick! Once you make the initial batch with the crushed tablets, I don’t think you need 36 hours.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Dr. Davis explained on his site that while the yogurt will be firm in six hours, the number of L.Reuteri bacteria double every few hours or something like that. The 36 hours is to get a high bacteria count.

      Reply
      1. Mike Cortopassi

        Tom,

        I got my Osfortis capsules yesterday (10 billion CFU each). 2 quarts milk (whole), scalded to 185 (like how I do regular yogurt) then cooled to 100. Made a slurry of 3 tbsp of potato starch and 4 capsules. Have had it all sitting in a sous vide setup at 100F. It is now 13 hours later and I am seeing absolutely zero thickening so far. I added another tablet for the heck of it.

        I see at least one poster who says it didn’t thicken unti 24 hours.

        I actually called up the company (Everidis) in St. Louis to explain my concern about transport and what if they get to too high a temperature. They said with 1 day delivery to the Chicago area it would not be an issue.

        Anyway, I will certainly let this go to 36 hours, but as of yet there’s no signs that this is going well.

        Reply
        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          I’m wondering if perhaps it’s an issue with proportions. Dr. Davis’ recipe called for 10 tablets crushed into one quart of milk or half-and-half. I’m not at home and can’t check the bacteria count on the BioGaia tablets we used. I also haven’t checked the thickness before the 36 hours are up. I hope yours thickens over the next several hours.

          Reply
          1. Mike Cortopassi

            100M CFU per the Gastrus tablets, 5B CFU per capsule of the Osfortis, so theoretically 50x the bacteria. My 4 capsules should equate to 200 tablets!

            We’ll see.

            Reply
  4. Lori Miller

    I have to use coconut milk, so the process is harder. I’d been putting in a variety of feed for the bacteria since I didn’t know what they preferred, but I might get some potato starch when I run out of coconut flour, prebiotic fiber and sugar (kept around because I can vegetables).

    Reply
      1. Lori Miller

        Creamy and somewhat tart. It’s kind of runny, even with gelatin added. (Maybe I should try more sugar or starch instead of gelatin.) It separates, but stays homogenized after I shake it and put it in the refrigerator. I made the latest batch with yogurt from the previous batch, and even after 12 hours’ fermentation, it’s definitely not ready. The “yogurt” expands so much that I can’t snap the lids onto the jars during fermentation: they pop off.

        Reply
        1. Lori Miller

          Now that I’ve made a batch with previous yogurt starter instead of tablets, it’s a lot thicker. Next time I’ll try skipping the gelatin since I prefer yogurt to be more creamy than gelatinous.

          Reply
      1. Howard Harkness

        Our Instant Pot brand sous vide controller would not go below 109F, so we went to Target last night to pick up a newer model of the same brand, which says it can go down to about 68F (not sure I believe that — we don’t keep the house that cold this time of year). Got two batches going now — one at 109F, and the other at 100F, to see how much difference there is.

        Reply
  5. ralph

    i first tried making the yogurt in my instant pot, but the temperature was too hard to keep accurate, so i got this great little yogurt maker which keeps it at a perfect 100 degrees:
    https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07F41XZJ9/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    I found the first batch I make with the tablets comes out somewhat runny but successive batches come out perfect with no extra tablets or innulin added, just a spoonful of the last batch to each jar. And usually just overnight is long enough for it to get nice and thick. My speculation is that the bacteria multiply to greater and greater numbers after the first couple batches so there is no need to add any more tabs.
    We both love the taste and texture, but I am still trying to figure out if my body like it or not – a couple times I didn’t feel so good the next day but that could have been chance, or maybe my gut is taking some time to get used to it. No improvement in my BPH symptoms yet, maybe i will try the CandiBactin next.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      According to Dr. Davis, the number of bacteria doubles every few hours or something like that during incubation. That’s why he recommends 36 hours even though the stuff will be firm in 6-8 hours.

      Reply
  6. Firebird7479

    I haven’t started yet but I did have two questions:

    1) The Gaia l. reuteri tabs that I keep finding are orange flavored. Is there an unflavored? If not, does the orange flavor come through?

    2) Would adding vanilla bean to the batch during the process ruin the batch or is it best to add that flavoring after the process is over?

    Reply
      1. Renee

        Mine are mint flavored and it doesn’t effect the taste.

        I made my first batch and it’s a little curdly and chunky and wet looking. I made the mistake of stirring it before I drained the whey. I’m almost out and I’m going to make another batch this weekend. I’ll try adding a bit more potato starch in my next batch.

        I bought the Luvelle yogurt maker off eBay and was able to use a $10 coupon off Wiki Buy. I didn’t want to have to monitor my oven.

        My weight has been stuck and I don’t know if it’s the yogurt, but I’m finally down 2 lbs this week.

        Reply
      2. Ed Carter

        … says right in the description on that page, “Mandarin flavoring.” That was the same Amazon item I purchased. Though, the orange flavor is barely noticeable if you eat a tablet, and nonexistent in the not-yogurt.

        Reply
      3. Firebird7479

        Thanks. I went directly to Gaia’s website and that’s the orange flavor are the only ones they have available.

        Reply
        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          Hmm, interesting. Well, other people have mentioned in comments the orange flavor doesn’t come through, so I’d give those tablets a shot.

          Reply
      4. Kathy from Maine

        My tablets were orange flavored, but there’s not even a hint of orange in the finished product.

        I’ve made 3 batches so far, and it’s true that it’s the most wonderful yogurt I’ve ever had. I bought a yogurt maker for $35 and it has 8 smaller containers with lids. I ended up buying 8 more containers so that when I have two or 3 containers left, I start another batch (48 hours at 100 degrees).

        I added another tablet and a Tbsp of tapioca starch to the second batch, but not to the subsequent ones (though I do add at least one Tbsp of starch with each new batch). Nice a thick with a pleasant tang.

        Really glad I started doing this. I don’t have the bit of a yeasty rash now, but then didn’t really have it when I started. Maybe it’s keeping it at bay.

        Reply
    1. Lori Miller

      The orange flavor doesn’t come through.

      I don’t know about vanilla bean, but I’d carefully think through adding extracts or essential oils to the mix. Some of those are antimicrobial and might kill the bacteria in the yogurt.

      Reply
  7. Ed Carter

    Pro tip for the first batch: don’t make more than a pint or so, then use that to make future batches. Lots of people report the first batch being grainy (mine was) so better to make a small amount, just enough to use as a starter for the next batches. (Uses fewer tablets, too.)

    I use the lightbulb in the oven method, seems to work well. I also place the jars into a water bath in the oven, which acts like a buffer if you open the door, since it takes a bit for the oven to reach temp. Plus, you can leave a thermometer probe in the water and get a more stable reading. It’ll hold the temp for quite a while with the light off, too, in case the power goes out.

    My batches (organic half and half, potato starch) don’t seem to thicken until around the 24 hour mark. I have discovered it is possible to refrigerate it mid-process and then bring it back up to temp. I had to leave unexpectedly, and though probably safe, I didn’t want to leave the light bulb on when I wasn’t home. Came out fine.

    Reply
  8. smgj

    2) Would adding vanilla bean to the batch during the process ruin the batch or is it best to add that flavoring after the process is over?

    Probably not, BUT it could introduce mold. I’d rather start by adding a couple of drops of real vanilla extract after the batch finished to see if you like the taste …

    Another approach to try would be to make vanilla potato starch (dry the pods in a box with the potato starch and then use this starch in the -gurt-process). I make my own vanilla powder from pods + icing sugar and don’t see why it wouldn’t work with potato starch. (It would reduce the danger of introducing mold in the -gurt not to use the pod directly in the batch.)

    Reply
  9. Deborah Lorraine

    Tom, what exactly is your sous vide maker? I’m leaning toward investing in one. My two attempts have both been runny. First batch I used heavy whipping cream, the second batch was whole milk. I don’t know if it’s because they were both ultra pasteurized? I also suspect my yogurt maker (Dash Bulk Yogurt Maker Machine https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EUVVTM8/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_jcLvDbG62XYE3). Even the Gaia and Inulen were from different purchases (I took my yogurt maker on the road with me to my other house but forgot to bring those 2 key ingredients, so Amazon to the rescue. The first batch tasted pleasant, but the second batch was sour and I could taste the minty flavor of the Gaia (which does come with random flavors even though it isn’t indicated on the packaging). Dr. Davis says the flavor shouldn’t come through after the fermentation process. I don’t know what to try next: buy a sous vide appliance (I love the idea of using NutriBullet jars) or try not ultra pasteurized half and half. I did test the temperature of my yogurt maker with an infrared thermometer, and it wasn’t quite 100°, so I covered it with a kitchen towel (like I used to do with my plastic-lidded crockpot to bring up the temp). Not ideal.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I don’t recall the exact brand (and I’m not at home so can’t look), but it was a wand from WalMart, something like this one:

      https://www.walmart.com/ip/Monoprice-Strata-Home-Sous-Vide-Precision-Cooker-800W/669203396?wmlspartner=wlpa&selectedSellerId=1391&adid=22222222227076953039&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=c&wl3=192856166116&wl4=pla-333883734644&wl5=9013184&wl6=&wl7=&wl8=&wl9=pla&wl10=112561730&wl11=online&wl12=669203396&veh=sem&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI_MKz2vKH5AIVDp-fCh2qcQ8LEAQYBSABEgIC6_D_BwE

      Instead of buying a big appliance and having to find a place for it, you just stick the wand in a big pot of water.

      I don’t see the need for heavy cream, since the bacteria eat carbohydrates. Half-and-half with potato starch for the bacteria food has worked best for us.

      Reply
  10. Jayne M

    This is interesting (I have no affiliation and haven’t tried the actual gadget but the interesting bit is the method). I use a heated seed tray to keep my fermentation jar at about 36C and add tea towels to insulate the batch depending on ambient temperature.
    https://www.luvele.co.uk/blogs/recipe-blog/recipe-for-the-thickest-tub-set-homemade-yogurt-ever
    Turns out nice and thick!

    Sous vide is the way to go I believe. I’ve been trying to find a well priced wand.

    I have made a coconut milk batch and badly miscalculated the gelatin required because I could only get gelatin leaf (recipe from same website as above link) and ended up with a very very thick rubbery mouse like substance (after blending because the gelatin separates). Taste wasn’t bad but I’ll stick to cream. Did it for dairy intolerant husband but he didn’t like the taste lol!

    Reply
  11. Sam

    I don’t own a sous vide cooker or anythink like it, so I just made the whole stuff at room temperature.
    The Joghurt is runny and only partly creamy, but the taste is good and the effect to my bowel movements is good, too.
    I’ll check for some heater later, lazy as I am 🙂

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      The Souse Vide stick from WalMart was inexpensive, as I recall. We use it to souse vide meat too, of course.

      Reply
  12. Desmond

    I do about a half gallon at a time. I have been using a little of the last batch as a starter, a few tablespoons of potato starch, a couple teaspoons of sugar, and an extra tablet. Then I mix with a whisk and put it in mason jars. Sous vide at 100°F.

    For my first batch I closed the mason jar lids tightly, and left for 18 hours. The result was thick milk texture. For other batches I put the lids on loosely, and the yogurt separates into almost a clear liquid and almost cottage cheese (happens both with whole milk and half&half). Last time I heated the plain milk to 180°F first, chilled to 100°F, added the “stuff”… in just 6 hours it was beginning to separate. I was going to try 5 hours next.

    What is the particular benefit of covering with a coffee filter? (versus a lid?)

    Reply
      1. Desmond

        I made another batch, this time adding no sugar, putting in extra potato starch, and covering with coffee filters rather than loose metal lids. I took some jars out after 5 hours, 7 hours, and 10 hours. Each one is quite “yogurty” in texture, with almost no separation after 5 hours, and maybe a quarter of an inch of clear liquid near the bottom after 10 hours. Before I had gotten over an inch of clear liquid. I may experiment with longer setting times later, but I will stick with the coffee filter tops from now on. Thanks for the tip.

        Reply
    1. Ellen Wells

      Just made our first batch using a sous vide in 2 mason jars. One jar came out runny like milk. The other jar separated with liquid on the bottom and ‘cottage cheese’ on top. Not sure why they turned so different. Is it ok to use the ‘cottage cheese’ as the starter for the next batch without the liquid? Also I used organic half and half but it is ultra pasteurized.

      Reply
      1. Tom Naughton Post author

        Our first batch had a lot of liquid and cottage-cheese chunks as well. The subsequent batches were better. Yes, you can use the cottage cheese or the liquid as a starter, from what I’ve read online.

        Reply
  13. MAC

    I’ve done the L. Reuteri non-yogurt 3 or 4 times now and I’ve done it with organic half-and-half and also grass milk from Organic Valley. I use an Instant Pot and inulin as the starch. Both come out fine. The milk version is not as thick but still good. This L. Reuteri yogurt has an off taste compared to the 24 hour GAP yogurt I used to make basically the same way from plain yogurt with live cultures like Fage Total 5% as the starter culture. Since it is a different bacteria for the L. Reuteri yogurt it has a different taste compared to standard yogurt. Just as cheeses taste different due to different bacteria. Not sure I like it as much. Yet to feel any difference from consuming the L. Reuteri yogurt.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I’m making it more for the benefits than the flavor, but I like my yogurt-protein shakes just fine: some yogurt, ice, water, vanilla protein powder, a few berries and a bit of stevia.

      Reply
  14. Firebird7479

    Thanks for the tips RE: Gaia L. Reuteri.

    I am making a regular batch of yogurt as I type. I want to see how it goes with this before I move on to inulin, L. Reuteri, etc. I am using my pressure cooker (No yogurt making option).

    A lot of babysitting. Seems to take longer to cool than to heat!

    Reply
  15. Pam Forrester

    I have been low carb/keto since 2011. I made regular yogurt for years, a gallon of whole milk, at a time in my crock-pot:
    1) to pasturized then once milk cools to 110º
    2) add live yogurt and let ferment covered with a blanket for 8-24 hours.
    3) Strain for Greek yogurt

    I make Reuteri yogurt in my Instant Pot. It doesn’t get above 104ºF and turns out just fine. It does have a yogurt setting. I use NORMAL. But it also has another LOWER yogurt setting. Since Normal works I have not explored the Lower setting. I also make a gallon of yogurt in the Instant pot and strain for Greek to get rid of carbby, sour whey. After straining I add potato starch.

    Reply
      1. Pamela W Forrester

        Yes.13 gm/cup. When i make Greek yogurt i usually get 2 quarts of whey out of the gallon of yogurt.

        Reply
      2. Judy

        Hey all
        May I ask, is the “yogurt” sour tasting? I have only tasted it once, made by a friend and am about to try making it myself. Hers wasn’t sour as yogurt is and was more cottage cheesy. However, Dr William
        Davis mentions that his is quite sour so I’m concerned that she isn’t getting the right result.
        Grateful for comments! Cheers

        Reply
  16. Jennifer Snow

    Mine seem to be working out okay. After the first batch they seem to be done after 6 hours. It’s a bit curd-y, more like cottage cheese than ultra-smooth store yogurt, but it tastes and smells fine.

    Reply
      1. Firebird7479

        My first batch came out pretty good, as I showed you in an e-mail. The real test was my eldest sister. Since I have about a gallon of yogurt, I passed some around to family. She loved it! So there you go. I’m pretty confident now to add the other things like L. Reuteri, potato starch, etc. I have inulin which I mix in with my breakfast and I know people are using it in the yogurt making process. Any suggestions on how much? It looks like I may reduce the size of the batch down to 1/2 gallon as babysitting a gallon takes too long. I am guessing that heating/cooling 1/2 gallon will take less time.

        Reply
        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          I’m getting good results with just the potato starch for incubating. Two tablespoons per 32-oz cup (actually less if you observe the MAX line) is probably more than it needs, but whatever is leftover seems to settle at the bottom, so I’d rather use a bit extra. I add Gut Garden probiotic mix, which includes inulin, to my yogurt shake.

          Reply
  17. Mike Cortopassi

    Woo Hoo! I almost wish I had a video running. At 23 hours, it was a little thicker, like runny Kefir. At 26 hours, the whey has separated out and I have what appears to be very thick yogurt underneath. Will be taking it out tomorrow morning.

    It is interesting that there seemed to be such a defining moment vs. just slowly thickening.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Cool. Here’s to an even better next batch. We had a lot of whey in the first batch, but after a few batches and my tweaks to the process, there’s very little liquid now.

      Reply
  18. Rusty

    My first batch had too much whey and so did the second batch. I used a different brand of milk that is cold pressed instead of being homogenised and it worked way better. Little to no whey after being in the yogurt maker for 36 hours. It feels like the middle of winter at the moment here in Victoria Australia, so I need to keep reheating the water every 8-10 hours for best results.

    Reply
  19. Mike Cortopassi

    Question about saving some off for the next batch — when I do regular yogurt, I freeze a few tablespoons and used that as the starter. Any reason the same couldn’t be done with this? There may be weeks we just don’t feel like yogurt.

    Another thing I’ve never seen talked about, say you’ve been doing this for a while. shouldn’t your gut now be colonized by these strain(s) and reproducing on their own giving a continuing benefit? Does this need to be some long term consumption because they can’t survive?

    I’ll update in a couple weeks if I notice any changes on anything significant.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I’m pretty sure you can freeze yogurt without killing the bacteria. Yes, the L. reuteri as supposed to colonize the gut, so I don’t think this needs to be a daily thing after a while. I happen to like the shakes I make with the yogurt, protein powder and berries, so it’s become my default breakfast.

      Reply
  20. Marion

    Potato starch might be dirt cheap, but isn’t the required starch the resistant kind. Resistant starch as in inulin or unmodified potato starch? The difference between unmodified potato starch and run-of-the-mill potato starch is that dirt cheap run-of-the-mill potato starch has been heat treated, and that changes the … thingies. Anyway, I thought that the unmodified starch was a prebiotic and not the run-of-the-mill potato starch? Thoughts?

    Reply
  21. Bryan Harris

    Lately I have been having the worst success making the yogurt. In the beginning it seemed easy, now I can’t make it to save my life.

    It seems like I’ve tried everything. Latest batch I added 6 tablespoons of tony’s organic potato starch. Every batch comes out like water and cottage cheese. I can eat it but it doesn’t taste like anything. It just tastes like old half and half. Latest batch blew the lid off the luvele yogurt jar. I guess it expanded a bunch of gas in there.

    I’ve just read your message about using **unmodified** potato starch and my bag does **not** say unmodified. I’m hoping that’s the reason for my failures. I will order a bag of the correct kind and see if that fixes it.

    I have tried Sous vide supreme, InstantPot yogurt maker, Luvele yogurt maker. It always comes out cottage cheese. This last batch was cottage cheese after only about 6 hours.

    When I had success, it was so great.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I think perhaps not using unmodified explains it. We use Bob’s Red Mill unmodified, and we’re still getting good results.

      Reply
      1. Bryan Harris

        The other day I made two batches side by side. One batch used store-bought yogurt for starter, the other used the BioGaia tablets. The store-bought came out perfect yogurt and the tablets turned to cottage cheese—I was convinced these tablets have no bacteria in them.

        I decided to buy tablets directly from BioGaia instead of Amazon. I had them overnighted ($30 bucks). This time I made 2 batches, one using the Luvele yogurt machine and the other using sous vide and magic bullet cups. The temperature on the day they were delivered was in the 60s, so I don’t think they overheated during shipping.

        This morning the magic bullet cups had exploded into cottage cheese and the luvele **appeared to be** yogurt but I didn’t smell the bacteria. I am worried it’s not yogurt, because that has happened before where the milk just sort of solidified but there was no bacteria growing.

        I am about to go home and check on it. If it turned into yogurt I’m going to make more out of that batch instead of eating it.

        Reply

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