LR FAQs

Reminder: LR Superfood is fermented with prebiotic fiber.

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FAQs

  • Is L. Reuteri Superfood a yogurt? No. L. Reuteri Superfood is not a yogurt, although it may look and taste like one, depending on the dairy used. It may also look and taste very different, like cheese for example. See introduction information on the product page.
  • 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). 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 two strains have comparable profiles to each other and to other recommended strains, and they yield similar effects. We are well aware of the importance of strain characteristics, and are careful regarding strain selection. One sachet of our L. Reuteri Superfood 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 reduce separation into curds and whey. Use dairy without additives.
    • 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 L. Reuteri Superfood was primarily designed for dairy. Fermentation of non-dairy beverages is trickier. Our partners at Cultured Food Life have more experience with non-dairy versions. We haven't tried those ourselves, but it might be worth a look.
  • 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 adjustable time and temperature settings, such as Luvele.
      • 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 jar? You can, but jars work better (opt for 1-quart or 2-quart/half-gallon jars). The bacteria don't react well to air exposure. 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 condensation while still allowing the mixture to expand and release pressure. It's not enough to just close the appliance's cover. 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.
  • Why does my jar smell funny? A strong smell sometimes occurs as a result of the very long and active fermentation. This tends to subside after the jar has cooled in the fridge. Let the jar cool in the fridge, then scrape off and discard the top layer which is more exposed to air and condensation. Wait one minute with the lid open before assessing your jar. See: "What should the result be like?"
  • 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 won't make much of a difference, but if your device is inaccurate, you might accidently expose the bacteria to too much heat which they may not survive. If needed, test your device with a cup of water and a thermometer before fermenting. See "What should the result be like?"
  • What should the result be like? This assumes instructions were followed closely.

Assess your jar only after it has been refrigerated for a few hours. Before assessing your jar, you may want to scrape off the top layer and discard it. The surface layer is more exposed to air and condensation, and may have a stronger smell/taste and a different texture than the rest of the jar. Wait one minute with the lid open before assessing your jar.

Successful fermentation yields a stronger and tangier taste than yogurt, whether the batch is separated into solids and liquid (curds and whey) or not. This separation is spontaneous and very common and is a natural result of long and active fermentation. Separation is usually only cosmetic and not a sign of a problem A separated batch is usually perfectly good and delicious. L. Reuteri Superdood is not a yogurt and may not look or taste like yogurt. See “My Batch Separated into Curds and Whey”

If your batch is pleasantly tangy with no bitter aftertaste, then it is usually successfully fermented, whether it is separated or not. Pleasant tang is the hallmark of fermentation. Some background smell is fine. Light fizz may also occur. Remember that dairy with lower fat content will yield a thin result. Goat milk will yield a thin and separated result.

We cannot 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.

  • How can I make the result thicker? Dairy with higher fat content will yield a thicker result. See instructions for which dairy to use. You can also strain the result through a cheesecloth (and keep the whey).
  • How many times can I reculture? / I've been reculturing many times. How will I know it's time to start over and use a starter from a sachet? You can keep reculturing for as long as your batch comes out thick and pleasantly tangy. When your batches begin to be too sour, too pungent, or not tangy enough, it's time to start over with starter from a new sachet. See also 'What should the result be like?'
  • Can I make larger quantities? Yes, but better not in the first batch. Keep all the ingredients in proportion. To make 2 quarts, double the quantities: use 2 quarts of dairy, a 2-quart jar, 4 tablespoons of prebiotic powder, and 4 tablespoons of a previously-made batch.
  • 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/soy-free/dairy-free/lactose-free/vegan? Although the starter contains no gluten, no soy, no animal products, and no dairy (and hence no lactose), it is 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 L. Reuteri 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. Please note, however, that we cannot provide any medical or nutritional advice or tell how a product might affect you. This is a general guideline only.
  • Can I eat L. Reuteri 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 gradually. Please note, however, that we cannot provide any medical or nutritional advice or tell how a product might affect you. This is a general guideline only.
  • Is L. Reuteri Superfood hard to make? Not at all. It just takes a bit of getting used to, because it's different than making yogurt. 
  • The result is tangy. How do I adjust the flavor? Long fermentation (36 hours) results in noticeable tang. Subsequent batches tend to get even tangier. You can limit the number of subsequent batches, and start over with a starter from a new sachet more often. You could serve the cultured dairy with fruit/nuts/natural sweetener, etc., to balance the tang with other flavors. You can use the cultured dairy in dips, vinaigrettes, and other savory dishes. See recipes here. You could also opt for another starter altogether, that yields a milder product, such as our probiotic Yogurt Plus (an excellent yogurt containing various probiotic bacteria, including some L. reuteri at lower concentrations than the LR Superfood Starter). See Comparison of Yogurt Plus and L. Reuteri Superfood
  • Can I heat L. Reuteri Superfood, or add it to a hot dish? This is not recommended. L. reuteri is sensitive to high heat. High cooking temperatures will kill it.
  • Can I freeze the cultured dairy? Yes, freezing does not kill the bacteria. You can make ice cream with it but expect the texture to be grainier/thinner. Please note, however, that we haven't tested batches recultured from a previously-frozen batch. If you plan on consuming/reculturing the cultured dairy within several weeks, you don't need to freeze it. Keep it refrigerated. Flavor and texture may change over time.
  • How should I store the cultured dairy while I'm away? If you plan on consuming/reculturing the cultured dairy within several weeks, keep it in the fridge. Flavor and texture may change over time. Viability will eventually reduce too, but if your absence does not exceed several weeks, your ferment should kick back into gear once fresh milk is introduced. When you get back, check if it's still good (See "What should the result be like?"), and reculture a small quantity (1 liter/1 quart). You may need to extend culturing time to let the bacteria catch up by proliferation. It may take a few cycles to return to full vigor. If the new batch turns out fine, keep using it. If not, discard, and use a new starter from a sachet to start over. Please note that although freezing does not kill the bacteria, 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? Better not. Blending could be too forceful for the live microorganisms and may result in the shearing of many of them, in which case you will get fewer live bacteria. Whisking, on the other hand, is fine. If you make a smoothie, we recommend stirring the fermented dairy into the smoothie after the rest of the ingredients have been blended, or keeping the blending to a minimum and using 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 

 CHECKLIST: HOW TO FERMENT CORRECTLY 
  •  This product is primarily designed for dairy milks. Use dairy without additives or with the least additives possible. Best options are:  
    • ultra-pasteurized half-and-half, or
    • ultra-pasteurized whole cow's milk, or
    • ultra-pasteurized 2% cow's milk
  • Use a whisk when making the recipe, to help with even distribution of the ingredients in the mixture 
  • Keep the ratios as follows (If making larger quantities, increase the quantities accordingly): 
    • 1 quart of milk
    • 2 tablespoons of prebiotic fiber (in every batch, including recultured ones. This is food for the bacteria)
    • 1 sachet of starter or 2 tablespoons from your previous batch, not both
  • Use jars rather than bowls, to minimize surface area exposed to air 
  • 1-quart or 2-quart jars tend to work better than small individual jars. 
  • Leave some headspace in the jar for the mixture to expand during fermentation
  • Cover the jar(s) with a loosely-fitting lid/plastic wrap to prevent contamination from airflow/condensation. It's not enough to just close the appliance's cover
  • Follow the instructions closely (see instructions at top of page)
  • Keep fermentation temperature to around 100 F 
  • Fermenting duration is 36 hours
  • Use clean utensils 
  • Don't place the jar(s) near air flow such as a heater, air conditioning or air vent 
  • Don't open the fermenting vessel/jar(s) during fermentation 
  • When reculturing (making new batches from previous batches), use 2 tablespoons of your previous batch as your starter. Don't forget the prebiotic fiber. DO NOT ADD NEW STARTER FROM A SACHET. If the previous batch separated, use 1 tablespoon of the curds and 1 tablespoon of the whey (or 2 tablespoons of whey if the curd is too firm).
  • If you've been reculturing for a while and your batches turn out too sour or not sour enough, it's time to start over with a starter from a sachet, rather than using your previous batch as a starter.
  • Assess your jar only after it has been refrigerated for a few hours. Before assessing your jar, you may want to scrape off the top layer and discard it. The surface layer is more exposed to air and condensation, and may have a stronger smell/taste and a different texture than the rest of the jar. Wait one minute with the lid open before assessing your jar.
  • Important: Know what to expect of the result. Go to "What should the result be like?"
  • Reminder: Separation is not a sign of failure. See "My batch separated into curds and whey"
  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 common and happens spontaneously. It's a natural outcome of a long and active fermentation, and it's a sign of activity and viability, not of faultiness or failure. It’s usually not a sign that you did something wrong. (Store-bought yogurts tend to separate during production too, but a stabilizer is added to them in the factory.) 

L. Reuteri Superfood is not a yogurt, and it shouldn't be compared to yogurt. It's a unique cultured dairy with a unique fermentation process that yields a unique final result that looks and tastes different than yogurt, and often separates spontaneously, regardless of how much you try to prevent it.

Embracing this spontaneous separation is a better strategy than trying to prevent it at all costs. 

Assess your jar only after it has been refrigerated for a few hours. Before assessing your jar, you may want to scrape off the top layer and discard it. The surface layer is more exposed to air and condensation, and may have a stronger smell/taste and a different texture than the rest of the jar. Wait one minute with the lid open before assessing your jar.

Successful fermentation yields a stronger and tangier taste than yogurt, whether separated or not. It may also have some fizz -- all a result of a long and active fermentation. If your ferment is pleasantly tangy with no bitter aftertaste and no spoiled smell (some background smell is fine), then it is usually successfully fermented. Pleasant tang is the hallmark of fermentation.  

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

You can eat a separated batch or add it to a smoothie. It’s rich and flavorful. If the curds taste like Feta or Labneh cheese, spread them on bread (see pictures). You can also make desserts with a separated batch.

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

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

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 tangy, even if separated, then fermentation has been successful.

You can stir/whisk the solid and liquid back together just before consumption. 

Fermenting the starter culture in dairy for 36 hours at 100 F enables the L. reuteri to proliferate many times over, until there are hundreds of billions of live bacteria in the jar. The resulting concentrations are much higher than any currently available supplement or yogurt (including homemade) that we know of. (More on bacterial counts here). It's also more affordable than supplements, and saves you the trouble of crushing tablets to create a starter. 

If separation in recultured batches is very strong and happens repeatedly, it may be 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, homogenized, whole dairy milk (3.25% - 4% fat), preferably organic, without additives. Note that combining two types of dairy or using higher fat content or non-homogenized dairy may increase chances of separation. 
    • 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, and it’s easier to leave sufficient headspace for the mixture to expand. Also, in 1-quart or 2-quart jars, the proportion of surface layer in the overall content is smaller. (The surface is often pungent and may require scraping off.)
    • 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 tangy, don't worry too much about the separation.
My batch expanded outside of the jars

Expansion is a sign of a highly active fermentation, not of inactivity. Still, you don't want your batch spilling out of the jar. Your jar may also have a pronounced smell.

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. 
  • You may have used too much starter.        

Also see: "What should the result be like?"

WHAT'S THE PINK/WHITE STUFF AT THE TOP OF MY JAR? 

This is usually a harmless yeast that forms due to air exposure, condensation, 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 tangy, with no bitter aftertaste, it should be fine to consume. Tip: When you make a batch of L. Reuteri Superfood, use a whisk. This will help to distribute the ingredients evenly in the mixture. Also make sure you have a loose lid on the jars, and don't open the lids during fermentation. 

LR superfood

Need more info?
Go to LR DAIRY Instructions
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