Barb Hodgens
Barb Hodgens

Barb Hodgens loves to cook with alternative, healthy whole food ingredients, with a focus on gut health. Barb has overcome her own gut health issues through healthy eating. Share your ideas, comments and photos at the end of this post :)

l.reuteri yogurt

Improve the texture with one extra step!

Mastering Dr William Davis’s homemade yogurt made with the probiotic ‘Lactobacillus Reuteri’ has been no easy feat. We empathise with your failed attempts because we’ve had plenty along the way too. No one really wants to eat thin and separated yogurt, do they? As we always do, the Luvele kitchen has continued to experiment and we have now discovered a key step that makes all the difference.


Dr Davis created his method using half and half milk, which is a full-fat milk commonly available in America (in the UK and Europe, it’s known as ‘half cream’). Half and half is a blend of equal parts whole milk and light cream. It averages 10-12% fat, which is more than regular milk but less than regular cream (and it can’t be whipped).

Half and half isn’t available in Australia, so, in our first L. reuteri yogurt post, we did our best to recreate half and half by combining full cream milk and full fat pure cream. We produced a unique, yogurt-like end product but had our suspicions that it wasn’t quite right. Our customers confirmed that our homemade half and half looked different to yogurt made with store bought half and half milk.

After further experimentation, the Luvele test kitchen has found a method that results in a creamy, consistent yogurt that tastes great. And it just requires one extra, but significant, step that has traditionally been used in yogurt making. 


Traditional yogurt making practises have always heated the milk first. Heating and holding milk at 82° C (180° F) for 20 minutes (or longer) denatures the milk proteins so that they bind and set together. In addition to this, the little bit of evaporation and concentration that occurs during the extended heating helps to improve the texture.  

Including this step before adding the probiotic bacteria and prebiotic powder made a profound difference to the structure and texture of our L. reuteri yogurt. Without heating, our first attempts with homemade half and half milk produced fragile and thin yogurt with lots of separated whey and the cream content set on top. A similar separation of fat and liquid happened in our first experiment below.

l.reuteri yogurt


In our aim to replicate half and half milk, we considered non-whipping ‘pouring cream’ (with a lower fat content), a better addition to milk. With our pouring cream and milk mixture we set out to make 2 batches of L. reuteri yogurt; one with heated milk and one with milk straight from the fridge (our control batch). Both samples were otherwise treated identically; they had the same amount of probiotic culture, prebiotic powder and were incubated for the same length of time.

l.reuteri yogurt experiment


Because the process of heating made such a vast improvement, we wondered if cream was required at all? In our next experiment, we decided to exclude cream from the mix and heat 100% ‘full cream milk’ only. (In Australia ‘Full Cream Milk’ is about 3.5% fat, and in the USA it’s known as 'whole milk' which is about 3.25% fat). We used unhomogenised organic milk. Again, we made 2 batches. One with the recommended 10 tablets and one with only 3 tablets. Both samples were otherwise treated identically; they were heated and held for 20 minutes, had the same amount of prebiotic powder and were incubated for the same length of time. Both samples produced equally thick yogurt. The only noticeable difference was the jar with 3 tablets formed a pocket of whey separation. We do not consider this a concern as the whey can be poured out leaving thicker yogurt curd in the jar.

l.reuteri test #2


If store-bought, half and half milk is available in your area, we recommend you follow Dr Davis original method that does not heat the milk. From our feedback, this method produces reliable results. Where half and half milk is not available, we recommend, heating ‘full cream milk’ (or ‘whole milk’ in America and Canada). The method is below. It is necessary to purchase organic milk to guarantee no antibiotics are present. 



Dr Davis’s original method specified 10 probiotic (BioGaia Gastrus) tablets be used to inoculate milk into yogurt. If you’re familiar with BioGaia Gastrus probiotic tablets, you’ll know how expensive they are! We have experimented using fewer tablets and are pleased to say that we had significant results with only 3 tablets. Because our experiments produced thick textured, tart tasting yogurt we are confident that bacterial fermentation occurred however, without clinical trials on the yogurt, accurate CFU counts are unknown. 


A portion of your first jar of L. reuteri yogurt – the ‘mother batch’ - can then be used to re-inoculate your next jar of L.reuteri yogurt. This means that when preparing your next batch, you simply replace the 3 crushed tablets with a third a cup of L. reuteri yogurt. It is also possible to freeze a portion of yogurt or whey and use at a later time.

To ensure the L reuteri strains stay pure and uncontaminated, we recommend re-inoculation not occur indefinitely. To ensure the yogurt stays abundant with the L. reuteri strains, and not a breeding ground for other, unwanted bacteria, we recommend starting a fresh mother batch after 4-5 re-inoculations. If you notice any significant changes to the texture, smell or taste of your yogurt, you should do this sooner.  

To keep the strains in abundance, some customers suggest adding 1 crushed probiotic tablet with the third of a cup L. reuteri yogurt or whey.


Luvele’s L Reuteri Yogurt Disclaimer: The team at Luvele are learning that making L Reuteri yogurt is still very experimental. Dr Davis who first came up with the idea of L Reuteri yogurt, himself has changed his recipe a number of times to try to create a more consistent outcome.However, may people still struggle with inconsistent results.

Please understand, at the end of the day, the L reuteri probiotic DOES NOT make yogurt, traditional yogurt that is, you can only try to make a yogurt like product.

Also note; we have spoken directly with BioGaia in Sweden who are the manufactures of the L Reuteri probiotic, and they themselves strongly point out that L Reuteri was not designed or developed for making yogurt.

It is our belief at Luvele that the combination of ingredients in BioGaia’s L Reuteri probiotic are not always equal from tablet to tablet. It is possible they contribute to the unreliability / inconsistent results. Making yogurt with the L Reuteri strain is unquestionably trying to get the tablets to do something they were never designed to do.

Therefore, this it really a food hacking exercise that can result in inconsistent outcomes.

new improved l.reuteri steps

l.reuteri yogurt steps



l.reuteri yogurt recipe


Yogourmet starter culture


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