LR FAQs

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FAQs

  • Is LR Superfood a yogurt? No. L. Reuteri Superfood is not a yogurt, although it may look and taste like one, depending on the dairy used. (And for the same reason it may also look and taste very differently; like cheese, for example). LR Superfood is a unique cultured dairy, made with completely different strains of bacteria than yogurt. These beneficial bacteria are called Lactobacillus Reuteri (L. Reuteri). Our LR Superfood Starter was conceived as a method of introducing high quantities of L. Reuteri into your microbiome. The fermentation of the starter culture in dairy for 36 hours at a low temperature in the presence of prebiotic fiber (very different fermentation process than yogurt), enables the L. Reuteri to proliferate many times over, until there are hundreds of billions of live bacteria in the jar. The resulting concentrations of L. Reuteri are much higher than can be obtained from any currently available supplement or yogurt (including homemade ones) that we know of.
  • Why is the starter shipped without ice? See answer to "I live in a hot place. Is the starter still active after being shipped unrefrigerated in hot weather?"
  • Do you ship to Hawaii / Alaska / Puerto Rico? Yes. Shipping fees to Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico are the same as to any address within the contiguous USA. We use ambient shipping (non-refrigerated, and without ice). Our starters are designed to remain active for several weeks in transit in hot weather, without refrigeration and without ice. The formula and the packaging provide excellent protection for the live strains. See "I live in a hot place. Is the starter still active after being shipped unrefrigerated in hot weather?"
  • I live in a hot place. Is the starter still active after being shipped unrefrigerated in hot weather? Yes. Our starters are designed to remain active for several weeks in transit in hot weather, without refrigeration and without ice. The formula and the packaging provide excellent protection for the live strains. We have thoroughly tested our starters to ensure their viability in long transit during heatwaves, without ice and without refrigeration. For this reason, we use ambient shipping, which is significantly less costly for the customer. We keep the starters in a cold warehouse until orders are shipped. When your order is shipped we send you a tracking number so that you can see when it is due to arrive. Once received, the starter should be refrigerated or frozen, and you can use it as normal. See "What should the result be like?" and "I forgot to refrigerate the starter. Is it still active?"
  • I forgot to refrigerate the starter. Is it still active? This depends on how long the starter has been left at ambient temperature and if the Best By date is still valid. The starter is designed to remain active for several weeks (and depending on ambient temperatures, even longer) at room/warm temperatures (usually for transit purposes). The formula and the packaging provide excellent protection for the live strains. If the delay is much longer and the temperatures are very high, the viability may be affected. That said, reduction in viability is a slow process that does not happen immediately, even past Best By date. You could try compensating for the possible decrease in viability by increasing the ratio of starter to dairy (for example, by using 2-3 sachets to make one quart, leaving the rest of the ingredients unchanged), and by fermenting for a little longer, if needed, to let the bacteria 'catch up' by proliferation over time. See instructions. Also see "What should the result be like?". There's no harm in consuming inactive bacteria; this is equivalent to consuming no bacteria at all. If all goes well, you could later use some of your ready batch to make future larger batches. Remember to ​​​​​​keep the starter refrigerated (or frozen) until you're ready to use it. See also "I live in a hot place. Is the starter still active after being shipped unrefrigerated in hot weather?"
  • Why do we add prebiotic fiber? Do we need it every time? Yes, you need it every time. This is food for the L. Reuteri which are living bacteria and need to eat. It also helps achieve a thicker texture. (Get our prebiotic fiber here) 
  • Which strain of L. Reuteri does LR Superfood contain? Our L. Reuteri Superfood starter contains a high concentration of either the SD 5865 strain or the LR007 strain, depending on the batch. These strains have comparable profiles to each other and to other recommended strains, and yield similar effects. One sachet of our L. Reuteri starter is sufficient to ferment 1 quart of dairy. There are 4 such sachets in each pouch. Once you’ve made a jar of LR Superfood cultured dairy, you can use some of it to re-ferment subsequent batches. Over the fermentation period of 36 hours at 100 F, the L. Reuteri count doubles every 3 hours (12 doublings), resulting in a very high and beneficial final count. See our research on LR Superfood and beneficial bacteria counts.
  • Which dairy should I use? 
      • For the first batch: 
        • For a very rich and vey thick result: 1 quart of half and half (ultra-pasteurized or heated to 195°F for 10 minutes and cooled, preferably organic, without additives).
        • For a rich and thick result: 2 cups of half and half + 2 cups of 2% or whole milk (ultra-pasteurized or heated to 195°F for 10 minutes and cooled, preferably organic, without additives).
        • For a fairly rich result: 1 quart of whole milk or 2% milk (ultra-pasteurized or heated to 195°F for 10 minutes and cooled, preferably organic, without additives).
      • For the 2nd batch and onwards:
        • 1 quart of any ultra-pasteurized dairy mentioned above, or
        • 1 quart pasteurized half and half/whole/2%/combination of these
    • Why ultra-pasteurized? Because ultra-pasteurization, or heating the dairy and then cooling it, changes the dairy's composition in a way that helps it to thicken, eliminates competing bacteria that may be present in the dairy, and may also help prevent it separating into curds and whey. Most organic dairy is ultra-pasteurized. Use dairy without additives.
    • Why without additives? Because they interfere with the fermentation and increase separation into curds and whey
    • Dairy to avoid: low fat milk (too thin), cream only (too thick), and raw milk (it contains competing bacteria)
    • Why the difference between dairy to use in the 1st and subsequent batches? Ultra-pasteurized dairy tends to be the easiest option to use. When you first start, you want the easiest option. 
    • Can I use goat milk? Yes, but the result will be thin. Goat milk is also more prone to separation. 
    • Can I use raw milk? No. It contains competing bacteria.
    • Can I use A2 milk? yes.
    • Can I use low-lactose milk? We have not tested low-lactose dairy, so it is hard to tell how it might perform. Take into account that low-lactose dairy may not ferment well, given that the bacteria feed on the lactose (as well as on the fiber) in order to perform the fermentation.
    • Can I use non-dairy beverages? Our LR Superfood was primarily designed for dairy. Fermentation of non-dairy beverages is trickier. 
  • Which device can I use? You'll need an appliance that can maintain a temperature of 100°F for 36 hours, and which can ideally hold at least one 1-quart jar. Best two options are:
      1. Sous-vide device. 
      2. Yogurt maker that can hold at least one 1-quart jar, with an adjustable time and temperature.
      • Other devices that might work: Instapot / slow cooker / brewing or kombucha warmer/heater - if these can be set to 100F for 36 hours, and ideally hold at least one 1-quart jar. Some of these appliances are automatically set to a higher temperature, which is too hot for the L. Reuteri to survive. The L. Reuteri bacteria love human body temperature. You may want to test your device with a cup of water and a thermometer before making your first batch. If you use an InstaPot or similar: Put the water in the stainless steel pot just like you would do in a Sous Vide, and use a 1-quart jar to put the milk in. Make sure you cover your jar with a loose lid. You can use the jar's own lid; just place it loosely.
  • Do I have to ferment for 36 hours? Yes. The long, slow fermentation at a low temperature increases the L. Reuteri exponentially over the 36 hour period, and helps to create a thick, delicious final product.
  • Can I use a bowl for the fermentation, instead of a jarYou can, but a jar tends to work better (opt for 1-quart or 2-quart/half-gallon jars)The bacteria don't react well to air exposure. We therefore want to minimize the surface area that is exposed to air. A tall-ish jar will have a narrower rim than a bowl. Remember to cover the jar with a loose lid. Once ready, you may want to scrape off the top layer before assessing your ferment.
  • Why do I need to cover the jar with a loose lid? The bacteria don't react well to air exposure. The loose lid will minimize the surface area exposed to air and to condensation, while still allowing the mixture to expand and to release pressure. It's not enough to just close the appliance's cover -- this would still expose the bacteria to too much air inside the appliance. You need to place a loose lid on the jar itself. Once ready, you may want to scrape off the top layer before assessing your ferment.
  • Why do I need to leave some headspace in the jar? To let the mixture expand. Fermentation creates natural gas which causes the mixture to increase in volume.
  • What should the result be like? Thick, rich, and pleasantly tart (even if strong), depending on the dairy used. Separation is very common. A hint of a light "fizz" is also possible, as a natural result of the long and active fermentation. L. Reuteri cultured dairy is not technically a yogurt and therefore does not taste quite like a standard yogurt. Before assessing your jar, you may want to scrape off the top layer and discard it. This is because the surface layer is more exposed to air and may have a stronger smell/taste, as well as a different texture than the rest of the jar.  
  • How many times can I reculture? For as long as your batch comes out thick and pleasantly tart. Overall, batches should come out pretty similar to one another. When significant changes begin to occur (not tart enough or conversely, too pungent), although you're doing the same thing - go for a new sachet.
  • I've been reculturing many times. How will I know it's time to start over and use a starter from a sachet? When your batch is too sour, it's time to start over. See also 'What should the result be like?' and 'How many times can I reculture?'
  • Can I make larger quantities? Absolutely! Save time by making larger quantities, with all the ingredients in proportion. For example, to make 2 quarts of LR Superfood, just double the quantities: use 2 quarts of dairy, a 2-quart jar, 4 tablespoons of prebiotic powder, 2 sachets of LR Superfood Starter (or 4 tablespoons of previously-made LR Superfood), etc.
  • Can I use more than 1 sachet of starter culture? Only if you’re making larger quantities (see question on larger quantities).
  • What are the starter's caloric/nutrition facts? These are printed on the back of the pouch. But overall, our starters contain such minuscule quantities of powder, that they are too tiny to have any impact on the final result's caloric values. Our starters come in sachets of 1g - 3g of powder (depending on the starter), most of which, apart from the live strains, is either a carrier fiber containing no caloric value, or a trace of a natural sugar containing only a negligible value. When these teensy quantities of 1g - 3g are added to a quart of dairy, the starter's original caloric values, if ever there were any, become entirely diluted in the overall mass, and are practically non-detectable. The final result's nutritional values of calories/fats/carbs etc., come directly from the dairy that the starter was added to, not from the starter itself. For example, if you use half-and-half, it will add more fat to your final result than skim milk. 
  • Where is the starter made? In the USA.
  • Is the starter gluten-free/dairy-free/lactose-free/vegan? Although the starter contains no animal products, no gluten, and no dairy (and hence no lactose), it is primarily designed to ferment dairy, and is packaged in a shared facility that also handles products that may contain wheat, soy, eggs, milk, and fish.
  • Is the starter certified Kosher? No. Our starters are not certified Kosher.
  • How long does an unopened sachet of starter culture keep in the refrigerator? The Best By date is printed on the pouch and on each sachet. Please keep the starter culture refrigerated/frozen.
  • How long will the cultured dairy (the final result) keep in the refrigerator? It will be good for several weeks. Flavor and texture may change over time.
  • How much LR Superfood should I eat? Start with 1 teaspoon a day for the first couple of days. If all goes well, gradually increase the quantity until you reach ½ cup a day. If all is well, and depending on your individual considerations, you may increase that too.
  • Can I eat LR Superfood if I’m lactose intolerant? Typically yes, since the prolonged fermentation converts the lactose into lactic acid, but to be sure, start small and see how you feel. If all goes well, increase the quantity. 
  • Is LR Superfood hard to make? No, not at all. The first time is understandably a bit more demanding, because you're not yet familiar with the process. But you will soon get the hang of it, and subsequent batches (where some of your previous batch is used as a starter) will be much easier -- as easy as taking some dairy out of the fridge, whisking it with the starter and prebiotic fiber, and placing the jar in the fermenting appliance. Really easy!
  • Can I make Greek-style “yogurt”? Yes, strain the final result through a cheesecloth to remove some of the whey.
  • The result is quite tangy. How do I adjust the flavor? Due to the long fermentation time of 36 hours, the result is indeed noticeably tangy. Subsequent batches tend to get tangier over time. There are several ways to go about it:
    1. Limit the number of subsequent batches, and instead start over with a starter from a new sachet more often
    2. Serve it with fruit / nuts / natural sweetener, etc. so that the tang is somewhat more balanced with other flavors. The tang is perfect in dips, vinaigrettes, and other savory dishes. See recipes here
    3. Opt for another type of starter altogether that yields a much less tangy product, such as our probiotic Yogurt Plus (an excellent yogurt that has different strains, including some L. Reuteri at a lower concentration than the LR Superfood Starter.)
  • Can I heat the LR Superfood, or add it to a hot dish? This is not recommended. L. Reuteri is sensitive to high heat. High cooking temperatures would kill it.
  • Can I freeze the cultured dairy? Yes. Freezing does not kill the bacteria. You can make ice cream with it. Please note, however, that we haven't tested batches recultured from a previously-frozen batch.
  • Can I use metal utensils and lids to handle ferments? Overall yes, because the metal used in utensils and food-grade lids is most probably acid-resistant, and the utensil is not going to touch the ferment for very long. Metal lids can be used provided that they are acid-resistant and do not directly touch the fermented product for an extended period of time. Opt for the type of lids with a waxy interior, used for pickles, for example. If that interior is corroded though, better not use it. Also: the jar should not be full all the way to the top, to avoid direct contact between the ferment and the lid. There's no problem using stainless steel in the preparation stage, before fermenting.
  • Can I use a blender with the L. Reuteri? Better not. Blending is too forceful for the L. Reuteri which are living microorganisms. Blending could result in the shearing of some of the L. Reuteri bacteria, in which case you will get fewer live strains. Whisking, on the other hand, is fine. If you're making a smoothie, we recommend either to stir the L. Reuteri into the smoothie after the rest of the ingredients have been blended, or to keep the blending to a minimum and to use the lowest speed possible.
  • Can I make/consume L. Reuteri and L. Gasseri superfoods together? We have not tested this, so we cannot tell what the composition of such mixed batches might be, or how it might affect you. Nor did we test the resulting compositions of two separate jars (one with L. Reuteri, the other with L. Gasseri) fermented side by side at the same time in the same device. The instructions relate to using each one of these starters separately.

TROUBLESHOOTING     

My batch separated into curds and whey (solids and liquids) 
Separation Separation Soft cheese
  • A separated batch is usually perfectly good and delicious. Separation is mostly a cosmetic thing, and not usually a sign of a problem. 
  • Separation is quite common.
  • A separated jar contains the same quantity of beneficial bacteria as a non-separated jar. The L. Reuteri are present in both the solids (curds) and the translucent liquid (whey)and therefore both should be consumed. Whey is often dubbed ‘liquid gold’. It's highly nutritious. 
  • Our starter was conceived as a method of introducing high quantities of this beneficial bacteria into your microbiome. This goal is achieved whether the dairy is separated or not. In terms of bacterial counts, the texture doesn't matter.

Separation is quite common, and happens spontaneously. It's the natural outcome of a long and active fermentation. It's a sign of activity and viability, not of inactivity / faultiness / failure. It’s usually not a sign that you did something wrong either. 

(

Did you know, by the way, that store-bought yogurts tend to separate during production? If they look smooth and uniform, it's because a stabilizer additive is added to them in the factory. We, at Cutting Edge Cultures, on the other hand, do not put additives in our L. Reuteri starter culture.) 

For obvious reasons, we cannot assess your ferment from afar, but overall, cultured L. Reuteri should be pleasant to consume. 

Before assessing your jar, you may want to scrape off the top layer and discard it. This is because the surface layer is more exposed to air and may have a stronger smell/taste, as well as a different texture than the rest of the jar. 

If your ferment is pleasantly tart (even if strong or with a slight hint of "fizz"), with no bitter aftertaste and no spoiled smell (some faint sour dairy aroma is fine), then it is usually successfully fermented. Pleasant tartness is the hallmark of fermentation.   

You can eat a separated batch or add it to a smoothie. It’s rich and flavorful.

By contrast, if your jar is unpleasantly pungent or slimy, you don't want to use it. This will be your call.

The jar in the picture came out delectable. The curds (solids) came out like cottage cheese (not rubbery), with a nicely sour and rich flavor, akin to Feta or Labneh cheese. We scooped them out and spread them like soft-cheese on a slice of sourdough bread (see pictures). Moreover, a bowl of curds and whey, gently stirred together and topped with fruit, was enjoyed as a refreshing dessert. (You can also simply drink some of the whey. While fairly tart, it should be pleasant to consume.)

See here for delicious recipes using separated batches, including soft cheese, ice cream, vinaigrette, beverages, and condiments.

You can use 2 tablespoons of a separated batch (1 tbsp. of whey and 1 tbsp. of curd, or 2 tbsp. of whey if the curd is too firm) to make your next batch, and this will be the ultimate test. If your new batch comes out thick and nicely tart, even if separated, then fermentation has been successful.

You can stir/whisk the solid and liquid back together just before consumption, but they will most likely separate again shortly thereafter.

L. Reuteri is not a yogurt. It's a unique cultured dairy with a unique fermentation process that yields a unique final result which, depending on the dairy used, often looks different from other fermented dairy products, and often separates spontaneously, regardless of any measures you use in trying to prevent separation.

Given that L. Reuteri is not a yogurt, it shouldn't be compared to yogurt. Such comparison would be the equivalent of comparing apples to oranges, and wondering why the apples, despite all our efforts, don't make orange juice. That's because they're apples, not oranges. In much the same way, L. Reuteri is simply not a yogurt. Your finished L. Reueteri Superfood, therefore, will taste different than yogurt; stronger, much more tangy, almost "fizzy" at times -- all a result of a long and active fermentation.

The fermentation of the starter culture in dairy for 36 hours at a low temperature enables the L. Reuteri to proliferate many times over, until there are hundreds of billions of live bacteria in the jar. The resulting concentrations of L. Reuteri are much higher than can be obtained from any currently available supplement or yogurt (including homemade) that we know of. (More on bacterial counts here). It's also much more affordable than supplements, and saves you the trouble of having to crush tablets in order to create a starter. 

Generally speaking, embracing this spontaneous separation is probably a better strategy than trying to prevent it at all costs. 

If separation in recultured batches is very strong and happens repeatedly, it could also be a sign that it's time to start over with a starter from a sachet, rather than keep using the ferment itself as a starter.

Tips that may help reduce separation somewhat:

    • Use ultra-pasteurized dairy, homogenized, preferably organic, without additives (half and half / whole milk / 2%). Note that using a combination of two different types of dairy (or using non-homogenized dairy), may increase chances of separation, due to differences in fat content.
    • When you make the recipe, use a whisk, rather than a spoon, to ensure even distribution of starter/fiber throughout the mixture
    • If you have the option, use large jars (1-quart or 2-quart) rather than small individual jars. (This helps with even distribution of starter/fiber throughout the mixture. It’s also easier to leave sufficient headspace for the mixture to expand.)
    • Do not open your device/jar(s) to check on your ferment during fermentation. You want to prevent airflow and condensation (and hence possible contaminants) from entering the mixture.
    • Heating the milk to 195°F/90°C for 10 minutes, and letting it cool to 100°F before starting the recipe, sometimes helps reduce separation somewhat. But if your ferment is nicely tart, don't worry too much about the separation.
My batch expanded outside of the jars

This can sometimes happen, especially if you didn't use ultra-pasteurized dairy. This could happen for several reasons:

  • You may have screwed the lid on the jar too tightly, and this caused pressure to build up.
  • It may be that the starter and prebiotic were not evenly distributed in the mixture. (When making the recipe, better use a whisk to mix the starter and prebiotic fiber throughout the dairy)
  • Perhaps the appliance overheated to above 100°F. Test your device with a cup of water and a thermometer before making the recipe. If it is above 100 F, lower the temperature to 98 F or even 97 F. 
  • The jar may have been too full.         
I set the fermenting temperature to higher than 100 F by mistake. Are the bacteria dead?

The bacteria perform best at body temperature (around 100 F). A couple of degrees in each direction wouldn't make much of a difference. However, if by mistake you set the device above 100 F AND your device is inaccurate to begin with, you might accidently expose the bacteria to too much heat which they may not survive. Test your device with a cup of water and a thermometer before fermenting, if needed. See next section on how to assess your ferment. 

My jar smells funny (See: How to assess your ferment)
How to assess your ferment

Before assessing your jar, you may want to scrape off the top layer and discard it. This is because the surface layer is more exposed to air and may have a stronger smell/taste, as well as a different texture than the rest of the jar.  

For obvious reasons, it's hard for us to assess your ferment from afar, but overall, fermented L. Reuteri should be pleasant to consume. If it's unpleasant, you may not want to use it. This will be your call. Ultimately, what you're looking for in the final result is:

  • Flavor: nicely tart with no bitter aftertaste
  • Smell: some faint sour/tangy-dairy aroma, or none. It shouldn't smell spoiled.
  • Consistency: depending on the dairy used, fairly thick (the solid), even if separated. It shouldn't be slimy. If a white-ish discoloration occurs at the top, scrape it off and then check the smell and flavor of the layer underneath.
What's the pink/white stuff at the top of my jar? 

This is usually a harmless yeast that forms due to air exposure or uneven distribution of the ingredients in the mixture. If this happens after several subsequent batches, and especially if it happens repeatedly and smells funky, it could also be a sign that it's time to start over with a starter from a sachet, rather than keep using the ferment itself as a starter. Scrape off the top layer and discard it. If the remaining quantity is pleasantly tart, with no bitter aftertaste, it should be fine to consume. Tip: When you make a batch of LR Superfood, use a whisk. This will help to evenly distribute the ingredients in the mixture. Also, make sure you have a loose lid on the jars, and don't open the lids during fermentation. 

What could interfere with fermentation?
  • Fermenting temperature above 100 F (L. Reuteri are sensitive to heat)
  • Using dairy with additives
  • Uneven distribution of the ingredients in the mixture. (When making the recipe, better use a whisk to mix the starter and prebiotic fiber throughout the dairy)
  • Insufficient prebiotic fiber (the bacteria need it as food)
  • Unclean utensils (contamination)
  • Placing the jar near air flow such as a heater, air conditioning or air vent (contamination)
  • Opening the fermenting vessel/jar(s) during fermentation (contamination)
  • Not covering the jar(s) with a loosely-fitting lid/plastic wrap (contamination)

Important! Separation is not a sign of failure. See section 'My batch separated into curds and whey (solids and liquids)'

LR superfood

Need more info?
Go to LR DAIRY Instructions
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