I have been making my own yogurt for quite awhile now and after doing more research on the benefits of fermented foods and running into more clients with lactose intolerance, I decided to start fermenting my yogurt for 24 hours.  The result is an almost lactose free ( I can’t promise that it is lactose free) yogurt and lower sugar yogurt as well. This is in my opinion the healthiest version of yogurt and the easiest on the body to digest.  Fermented foods are essential to our diet for a number of reasons. Most of all it is to introduce beneficial bacteria to our body (gut) which help our ability to fight off infections, destroy harmful bacteria and the enzymes created help us digest the food and therefore get the most nutrients from it as possible.  Here is some information I found on the Healing Crow website on the benefits of real yogurt vs a probiotic pill:

The Great Yogurt (and Kefir) Conspiracy

If you’re a health conscious person, you’ve probably seen the hype over probiotic supplements. However, some of the literature from the probiotic supplement manufacturers has become a little overzealous. These manufacturers are forgetting their roots, in that yogurt, kefir, and other fermented foods serve as the basis for their entire industry. We asked ourselves, is it fair for a probiotic supplement manufacturer or reseller to produce literature against yogurt, kefir, and other fermented milk products in order to increase their market share? Here’s what we found:

Claim 1. “Our product contains 15 billion bacteria at the time of manufacture. It would take ten tubs of yogurt and a dozen bottles of kefir to get the same amount of bacteria.”

To answer this claim we went digging into the scientific literature. From several different references, we were able to determine an average concentration of yogurt. Homemade yogurt that is fermented for 24 hours, as recommended in the book Breaking the Vicious Cycle, will have an average concentration of 3 billion cfu/mL of yogurt. What does this mean? Well, if you were to eat a small bowl (500 ml) of 24 hour fermented homemade yogurt, you would receive 1.5 trillion beneficial bacteria – 100 times more bacteria than a 15 billion capsule.

Save money on expensive probiotic pills and simply make your own yogurt!  Here is a link to a website to buy a yogurt starter without dried milk added. Custom Probiotics   If you have access to raw milk, fermenting your yogurt will result in a very beneficial food for your gut as it will not only be virtually lactose free but will still contain lactase which allows one to digest the lactose in milk. Here is my original yogurt recipe with the instructions for fermenting for 24 hours added.