This page has been written by a patient of mine.
Mutaflor is a preparation containing Escherichia coli (E. coli) strain Nissle 1917 and is manufactured in Germany by a company called Ardeypharm. It is available as a suspension and the best-value source of it on the Internet appears to be Linda VersandApotheke (you can also get it as powder in enteric coated capsules, and you can also buy enteric coated empty capsule - the search word is: magensaftresistente Kapseln). The website is in German, so I have prepared Instructions for buying Mutaflor at Berlinda VA. If you still have problems with placing your order, you are welcome to e-mail the office asking to be put in touch with me (i.e. the author of this page). I will be happy to talk you through the ordering process.
Message from Hania: A very helpful chap called James has let me know that it is possible to speak with someone in English at Linda VersandApotheke. "The contact number I used was: +49 (0)355 - 87859092, then press 5 to speak with someone in English." Thank you, James!
Please, be aware that Mutaflor appears to be available (and allowed) only in Europe, Canada and Australia.
The bacteria can be cultured at home just like normal yoghurt. I have not yet experimented with different substrates, sugars, times or temperatures, so do not know what is likely to give the best results, but here is a method I have found to work.
Ingredients/equipment and notes
- ½ litre unsweetened soya milk - If using sweetened soya milk, reduce the sugar accordingly - aim to make the milk taste slightly sweet but not sickly.
- 2 dessertspoons sugar - Some sugars may work better than others; I had success with 1 dessertspoon each of unrefined cane sugar and Sweet Freedom syrup (a honey-like substance made from concentrated fruits). Probably best to avoid real honey as it has antibacterial properties.
- 5 ml Mutaflor suspension - After the first culture use some of the previous batch as a starter for the next.
- Large jar, flask or plastic container and somewhere warm for the culture to grow (around 37-40°C) - I strongly recommend using a yoghurt maker. Yoghurt can be cultured in a thermos flask, airing cupboard or oven, but it is very hard to maintain the right temperature. Too cold and the bacteria won’t ferment; too hot and they will be killed.
- Heat the soya milk in a pan until nearly boiling to kill any existing bacteria.
- Allow the milk to cool to about 38°C - use a thermometer or wait until it is just slightly warm to a (clean!) dipped finger.
- Top tip: If using a new carton of long-life milk you can skip step 1, and save on washing up by simply leaving the carton to warm up in the airing cupboard or oven before opening.
- Dissolve the sugar in the milk and pour into the container.
- Stir in the Mutaflor suspension or yoghurt from previous batch.
- Place container in the yoghurt maker, airing cupboard or other warm place and leave it to do its thing. It should take about 6 - 10 hours, depending on the conditions, and will appear thickened, with a mildly acid taste.
- Once the required consistency is achieved, scoop out a couple of tablespoons worth to keep in a sealed jar for use as the starter in the next batch.
- Allow to cool then keep the yoghurt in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Note 1: Home cultured yoghurt is not as set as shop bought, which usually contains added thickeners. There may be some separation of curds and whey; if so, just mix it all together. You could also strain off the excess liquid, but this might lose some of the bacteria.
Note 2: For those who do not use soya products, I'd suggest experimenting. I tried rice, almond and coconut milks, found rice didn't go well at all, almond was bearable but not pleasant and coconut worked ok as long as you use one that doesn't separate too much.
None of them has the protein needed to make it thicken, so you get a drink rather than a yoghurt unless you add a thickener.
Coconut water is quite nice too (as long as you can tolerate the high potassium content), no need for extra sugar and makes a kind of refreshingly light sour drink. To make with coconut water I simply added the Mutaflor and let it ferment in the yoghurt maker as if it were in soya milk.
But mostly I'd say just give it a go and see what you like!
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