Is the store-bought yogurt a good "starter" to culture cooked beans to reduce the gas-producing oligosaccharides? Does it contain the right kind of bacteria to ferment the beans or is it only good for dairy?

How long should I ferment? 24-48 hours at room temperature?


3 Answers 3


Lactobacillus acidophilus is the main culture contained in yogurt. Although it eats many types of sugars, it's biproduct is mainly lactic acid and whether it reduces oligosaccharides is largely unknown.

"...little information is available on FOS transport and metabolism by lactic acid bacteria and other probiotic bacteria." http://aem.asm.org/content/69/4/2217.abstract

If you wanted to experiment with it you could try the traditional yogurt incubation method by mixing a few tablespoons of fresh yogurt into the beans around 110 degrees F and letting it incubate at that same temperature from 10-24 hours. Be careful though, the incubation could also bring about unwanted cultures as well.

  • Thanks. I have tried fermenting at room temperature for 24 and 48 hours and I can digest the beans much better this way. I think 24 hours is sufficient. If anyone wants to try this, keep things clean and read up on clostridium botulinum.
    – mcu
    Commented Oct 15, 2012 at 2:31

Dr. Marisela Granito, at the University Simon Bolivar has made this her life's work. It turns out that:

" Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus plantarum are the key bacteria. These can be encouraged to grow either by deliberately adding it to a batch (of soaking beans), or by inoculating with liquor (liquid) from a previous batch."

I found both of these strains available to buy online as probiotic capsules or powders to be taken orally, aimed at improving gut health. They seem to be sourced/isolated from dairy products.

I also found a fermentation kit which contains strains specifically for the purpose of fermenting beans, mostly after cooking them. This requires a longer fermentation period than a presoak, much like kombucha, pickles, or kimchi.

Whichever method is used, once a good fermentation is started one could use the previous batch as a starter for the next batch,(like sourdough or kombucha) both for convenience, and to avoid the expense.


If you want to ferment those beans (yes, it does make them easier to digest and has many other health properties) you'll need to brine them at the correct ratio of salt & water in a suitable container (where liquid level stays above the beans, keeping oxygen away). Your current method is not proper fermentation, and prone to yukky mold. Fermentation will take around a week, minimum (longer for stronger flavour). The beans need to be raw, and grown without sprays. You don't need to add lactobacillus (and if you did, it would be whey, not yoghurt) since the veg already has this bacteria on the skin. To guarantee you are getting the right bacteria you can add a piece of cabbage leaf (outer) to the jar or crock.

Hope that helps

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