(Last Updated On: March 26, 2018)

Washing down pearls or tablets is one way of taking your probiotic supplement.

However it’s hardly the most convenient way.

For one thing, you need to remember when to take them. Some supplements are best taken before lunch for example, others in the morning.

Another thing, you’re most likely to lose interest within a week and stop taking them.

Yogurt is a far better option for most people. Tasty and can be taken whenever you want. And there is no issue with the pearl/tablet being too big or such things.

There’s just one catch. If you want to take yogurt as a probiotic supplement it’s much better to get a starter culture and make your own yogurt.

To help you get started, we at Unsullyd reviewed around a dozen yogurt starters to select the top 3 probiotic yogurts.

At A Glance: The Best Probiotic Yogurts

Cultures For Health Vegan Yogurt Starter Culture includes a number of important probiotic strains and has a nice tangy taste.

Yogourmet Casei Bifidus Acidophilus Probiotic Yogurt Starter creates a deliciously tarty yogurt with a creamy consistency.

Belle and bella yogostarter – non-dairy is a non-dairy option that offers a subtler tang than the others.

01. Cultures For Health Vegan Yogurt Starter Culture Review

We will look at this from 2 perspectives – how good it is as a probiotic supplement; and how good it is to eat.

As a probiotic supplement we’d say it’s quite good for improving your gut health, boosting immunity and resisting allergies.

It should also give you some relief from tummy issues.

Coming to the issue of the yogurt as a food, it ranks very highly indeed.

Under most normal circumstances a single packet should easily yield around 8 cups of yogurt.

You may use dairy milk to make your yogurt but it kind of misses the whole point of a vegan yogurt starter which can be used to make non-dairy (soy milk, coconut milk and so on) yogurt.

You may need to work a little harder with vegan milk though; vegan milk yogurt may take longer to set than dairy milk. In fact, Cultures For Health themselves advise against using commercial almond milk probably for this very issue – the yogurt will refuse to set.

If you absolutely do want to use almond milk or you’re failing to get your desired consistency, you can try using an Instant Pot.

Put the starter-milk mixture in the pot, hit the yogurt option and set it for 12-14 hours.

If you prefer your yogurt thick, we’d suggest using a thickener like pectin on xanthan gum. Add the thickener to the starter-milk mixture before you set it to culture.

If you want to make your powder last longer, when you make yogurt with the starter, save a little yogurt.

Use that as the starter for your next yogurt batch.

If you are consuming yogurt as a probiotic supplement, we would recommend against this because the efficacy of the second batch may be reduced.

However if you’re primarily looking to satisfy your taste buds, go nuts!

Just remember to refrigerate the powder if you’re looking to use for more than a month.

The probiotic strains are listed below.

Streptococcus thermophilus• Reduces lactose intolerance.
• Stimulates your immunity.
• Suppresses diarrhea.
Lactobacillus acidophilus• Improves iron level.
• Beneficial for diabetes.
• Keeps the heart healthy.
Lactobacillus casei• Antioxidant.
• Boosts immunity.
• Busts stress.
Lactobacillus bulgaricus• Anti-allergy.
• Anti-inflammatory.
• Improves gut health.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus• Improves immunity.
• Anti-inflammatory.
• Reduces obesity.
Bifidobacterium bifidum• Kills stress.
• Antioxidant
• Protects your stomach from H. pylori infection.

Directions

  • One starter packet should suffice for 2 quarts/8 cups of milk.
  • Heat the milk to around 110°F.
  • Add the starter powder and mix it thoroughly.
  • Pour the mixture in a yogurt container.
  • This mixture needs to be kept at around 110°F for 6-8 hours. This step is called culturing.
  • Allow the cultured mixture to cool at room temperature for around 2 hours.
  • Refrigerate for another 6 hours to get the right consistency and taste.

What I Liked

Should offer several health benefits like improved gut health and immunity.

The basic preparation is not very difficult.

If you can prepare it correctly it should have an enjoyable taste and consistency.

1 packet is enough for 8 cups of yogurt.

What I Didn’t Like

Not suitable for almond milk.

It may be difficult to set, especially if you’re using vegan (non-dairy) milk.

02. Yogourmet Casei Bifidus Acidophilus Probiotic Yogurt Starter Review

First let us see how good this one is as a probiotic supplement.

It includes a number of useful strains that provide a range of benefits including boosting immunity, soothing inflammation, antioxidant and resisting tummy trouble.

Once you start taking this regularly, at the very minimum you should be able to digest food better, reducing bloating and associated issues. With time you may also see improvements in some IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) symptoms.

Now we come to the aspect of the yogurt as a food.

If you can prepare it correctly, you should get a genuinely tangy (as opposed to sour) yogurt with an enjoyable creamy consistency.

After preparing the yogurt as per the directions, you can strain it with a cheese cloth (or anything else you have) to get a Greek yogurt (basic Greek yogurt is just a fancy name for strained yogurt).

If you want your yogurt less tangy or thicker, try adding equal amounts of sugar and condensed milk powder to the next batch before incubating it.

One key issue many users may face is the incubation.

The correct procedure, as stated by the company is that the temperature of the milk-starter mixture is raised gradually from 80°F to 98.6°F and then left to incubate at that temperature.

Now this gradual rise in temperature is done automatically in the Yogourmet yogurt maker.

If you don’t want to buy that, however, we would suggest trying an oven or dehydrator. Starting from 80°F, increase the temperature by 5°F every 20 to 30 minutes till you reach 98.6°F.

As for storage, shelf storage is perfectly acceptable but freezing it ensure longevity, even beyond expiry.

The probiotic strains are listed below.

Lactobacillus casei• Antioxidant.
• Boosts immunity.
• Busts stress.
Bifidobacterium longum• Anti-inflammatory.
• Anti-allergy.
• Improves your immunity.
Lactobacillus bulgaricus• Anti-allergy.
• Anti-inflammatory.
• Improves gut health.
Streptococcus thermophilus• Reduces lactose intolerance.
• Stimulates your immunity.
• Suppresses diarrhea.
Lactobacillus acidophilus• Improves iron level.
• Beneficial for diabetes.
• Keeps the heart healthy.

Directions

  • One packet of starter should suffice for one quart/4 cups of milk.
  • Heat the milk to around 180°F.
    • If you’re using UHT (Ultra High Temperature processed) milk skip this step.
    • As a rule of thumb, 180°F is just over the temperature at which milk froths.
    • Stir the milk to avoid ‘bottom scorching’.
  • Let the milk cool to around 80°F.
  • Take some of the cooled milk in a separate cup, add the starter powder and mix thoroughly.
  • Remove any ‘skin’ that may have formed on the surface of your cooled milk.
  • Pour the milk-powder mixture into your cooled milk.
  • Increase the temperature of the mixture gradually from 80°F to 98.6°F.
  • Incubate the milk-starter mixture at 98.6°F for around 9 hours.
  • Refrigerate overnight.

What I Liked

 If you can prepare it correctly you should get a classic tangy tasting yogurt.

 Likewise, you should also get a nice creamy consistency.

 Suitable for making Greek yogurt.

 If you keep it refrigerated it will last beyond the printed expiry date.

What I Didn’t Like

The milks that you can use are limited – cow, goat and soy only. It may be less or not at all effective with other milks like coconut or almond.

It may not be possible to use the leftover yogurt from one batch to prepare a fresh batch.

The preparation is a bit difficult. If you can’t follow it precisely you may get liquid-y and/or mundane-tasting yogurt.

03. Belle and bella yogostarter – non-dairy Review

If you are in the market for an easy on the pocket non-dairy yogurt starter you should definitely check this one out.

On the probiotic side it’s a mixed bag.

The probiotics available should offer relief from diarrhea and bloating and boost some mineral levels. But diversity is definitely lacking; they would have done better to have introduced a few more.

On the other hand you can try popping a pill if you want. That is, buy a probiotic supplement you like, open it and pour the powder into the milk along with this starter powder.

Then comes the issue of how good a yogurt this starter yields.

Taste-wise the yogurt is pretty good for those who like a more subdued tang. It has the typical sour flavor; but it’s not as sharp as some others.

If you’re biased towards a sweet yogurt dish, this may be your yogurt.

As far as consistency is concerned we’d recommend you add some pectin or agar agar. Try the yogurt by itself first; we feel you’ll want it less runny.

The best choice of milk would definitely be soy milk. You can try almond and coconut as well.

We’d recommend NOT using dairy milk or non-skimmed dry milk as a thickener or sweetener because this is a non-dairy yogurt and using dairy sources kills the purpose. Besides, they just don’t work out.

The probiotic strains are listed below.

Streptococcus thermophilus• Reduces lactose intolerance.
• Stimulates your immunity.
• Suppresses diarrhea.
Lactobacillus bulgaricus• Anti-allergy.
• Anti-inflammatory.
• Improves gut health.
Lactobacillus acidophilus• Improves iron level.
• Beneficial for diabetes.
• Keeps the heart healthy.

Directions

  • One packet of starter suffices for 1 quart or 4 cups of milk.
  • Heat the milk to 180°F, stirring continuously to avoid bottom scorching. If the milk is UHT (Ultra High Temperature processed) skin this step.
  • Let the milk cool down to around 110°F.
  • Take some of the cooled milk in a cup and add the starter powder. Mix them thoroughly.
  • Pour the milk-powder mixture back into the rest of the milk.
  • Incubate at 112°F for 10-12 hours.
  • Refrigerate after incubation is complete.

What I Liked

 Good non-dairy option.

 Subtler taste than other yogurts.

 You may try adding a probiotic supplement of your choice to it.

 Good option for soy, coconut or almond milk.

What I Didn’t Like

 You may need to add a thickener like arrowroot, gelatin or xanthan gum to get a nice creamy texture.

On the whole the yogurt may be a little runny.

What should you look for in selecting a probiotic yogurt?

One thing you should look for is what kind of milk and additives you can use.

For example you may want to use coconut milk. And then xanthan gum for a heavier consistency. Will your particular starter allow that?

Most starters, we feel, can be used in most kinds of milk but it’s always better to make sure.

The other thing you will want to look out for is the range of probiotics available.

So, among the top 3 probiotic favorites, which is the absolute best probiotic yogurt?

Cultures For Health Vegan Yogurt Starter Culture

One, it offers a wide diversity of probiotic strains.

Two, at the bare minimum it will improve your digestion and relieve issues like bloating.

Three, one packet of starter can yield 8 cups of yogurt.

Four, you can use a wide variety of milks. You can use dairy milks or vegan milks like soy, coconut and so on (not commercial almond milk though).

Five, the taste and texture turn out great, provided you follow the steps in preparing it carefully.

On the whole, yogurts are a food.

Sure, using the right starter culture can yield some health benefit but remember, the yogurt is completely exposed to stomach acids and many of the bacteria will be gone by the time it reaches your gut.

So, have probiotic yogurts if you’re just looking for a healthy food.

But if you want specific health support, you should take specific probiotic supplements, by which we mean tablets or pearls.

Culturing/Incubation – A Tradeoff

Every starter has its own minimum and maximum times for culturing/incubation.

But how long you incubate is really a trade-off between taste and health benefits.

During incubation, the probiotic bacteria feed on the lactose in the milk and convert it into lactic acid.

The more you incubate, the thicker and more acidic/’tart-y’ your yogurt will be.

But the total amount of lactose in the milk is fixed, so at a point, the bacteria will run out of sustenance and begin to die.

That is why we’d recommend you don’t get carried away and stick to the maximum incubation time the starter specifies.

That’s about it.

If you feel there’s a probiotic yogurt I’ve missed, drop a comment.

Good suggestions may get a shout-out on Twitter and/or Facebook!

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