Homemade Heirloom Yogurt vs. Store Bought
|Heirloom yogurt (homemade) (1)||Store yogurt (1)||Probiotic capsules|
|Predictability of taste||++||+++++||N/A|
|Nbr of strains||+++++||++||+++|
|Can you know the strains?||Not all||Yes||Yes|
|Whole food benefits||Yes||No||No|
|Lightness (easier to digest)||*****||***||**|
(1) There is a trade off between number of CFUs and number of probiotic strains – and – shelf life and predictability of taste. With homemade heirloom yogurt you get more CFUs and more probiotic strains. With store yogurt, the store needs predictability of taste and shelf life.
Yogurt Brand Comparisons
|Names||CFUs (billions/cup)||# strains||Heirloom||Cultures at room temp|
|Human gut||~40-100 trillion total||~1000|
|Functional medicine prescriptions||400-800 billion CFUs/day|
|Ed’s Caspian Sea yogurt(1)||Up to 173||Yes||Yes|
|Ed’s Viilli yogurt (2)|
|Yogurt culture from India||Yes||Yes|
|White Mountain Bulgarian Yogurt||No||No|
|Typical store yogurt||~6||4-6||No||No|
|Pure Encapsulations 50B|
For comparison, there are ~100 trillion organisms in the gut.
CFUs decrease with refrigeration
I filled out both tables in to the best of my knowledge. I talked with people at Happy Herbalist, Progurt, Bravo, Cultures for Health and White Mountain. All of these yogurts, with the exception of White Mountain, must be homemade – e.g. you purchase the “seed” or starter. Therapeutic yogurts like Progurt and Bravo are available on the internet and are very expensive. I have seen White Mountain Bulgarian Yogurt and Cultures for Health yogurt starters at the Common Market in Frederick, MD. Most of the websites for these yogurts have impressive testimonials
(1) Multiplies best at 68 °F to 86 °F, 72°F ideal. Semi-thick, drinkable, slightly sweet, almost bland smooth pourable yogurt; Uniquely viscous, honey-like texture; Mild pleasant taste
Caspian Sea Yogurt supplies high-quality protein and calcium. This rich mineral content and lowered salt content may help reduce the chances of bone fractures, strokes and osteoporosis, which are major causes of elderly people becoming bedridden… Although a mutli-vitamin and mineral formula (like our Liquid Life Complete, which is a powerhouse of all the nutrients imaginable, can not complete with real whole foods – like our Kefir and Caspian Sea Yogurt and to a lesser extant our Kombucha Mushroom Tea.Ed Kaspar
(2) 64 °F ideal culturing. Summer in some areas can simply be too warm for Viilli. Thick & rich; Stretchy; Delicious, subtle sweetness; Not sour
(3) Contains the 6 essential cultures to create a balanced yogurt that is able to be perpetuated forever. Reculturing produces a better flavor than the original.
Features to look for
- full fat (taste & fat soluble vitamins)
- biodynamic (beyond organic)
- non-homogenized milk (cream tops)
- unsweetened (plain) – it’s best to sweeten yourself
- no vitamins or other agents added
- CFUs (a few will list on the label)
Some recommended brands
- Fage (Greece, strained)
- Siggi’s (Icelandic style skyr, strained)
- Skyr (heirloom cultures)
- Trimona (Bulgarian)
- Seven Stars Farms (biodynamic)
- White Mountain Bulgarian Yogurt (up to 90 billion CFUs, 24 hour fermentation, approved for GAPs diet)
Many people prefer a thick yogurt. The correct way to thicken is by straining or concentrating. Many commercial yogurts find it easier to thicken with additives.
If traditional yogurt is allowed to stand after dipping a spoon into it, it releases whey (breaks). If this is bothersome, simply stir the yogurt right before consuming. Unfortunately breaking bothered many consumers, so manufacturers added starches, gums, and/or pectin to keep the body of the yogurt intact.