Yogurt is a popular dairy product prepared from the fermentation of milk. Herdsmen of the Bulgarian countryside were thought to have learned the art of processing milk to yogurt first.
Yogurt's use dates back to many centuries prescribed for its prebiotic and easy digesting properties. Preparation and consumption of different types of yogurt are in prevalence unique to various cultures and traditions the world over.
Although cow's milk is employed to a larger extent in processing yogurt, it can also be prepared using buffalo, goat, sheep, and soy-milk, to which a starter culture is added.
|Fresh homemade Yogurt.|
Milk contains disaccharide carbohydrate, lactose. When culture containing fermentation bacteria (Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus) are added, lactose converts to lactic acid. When enough lactic acid is produced, milk coagulates, resulting in thick and custardy textured food products.
Fermented milk separates into two distinct parts, curd, and whey. It is consumed -as is- after stirred or drained without any additions. Ideally, fresh curd should be used as soon as possible, or else stored in the fridge.
Plain yogurt is made from whole, skimmed, or non-fat milk. Natural yogurt contains no additional flavorings. The level of fat and milk solids in the milk will affect its texture, flavor, and nutritional composition of the yogurt.
Yogurt is a low-calorie dairy product. 100 grams of plain, whole-milk yogurt holds just 61 calories, almost the same as that of milk. Nonetheless, it is richer than milk since it contains additional probiotic compounds generating from the fermentation process.
Fresh, plain yogurt carries more protein, vitamin-D, vitamin-C, folate, phosphorus and calcium vis-à-vis for the same quantity of milk it prepared with.
Fresh yogurt contains health-benefiting bacteria that facilitate easy digestion of lactose. Since most of the lactose turned onto lactic acid, yogurt is more easily digested than milk. It has a better digestibility quotient even in people with lactose intolerance.
Yoghurt is recommended as a prebiotic food since it contains compounds that favor growth of benefiting bacteria in the intestines.
It contains several probiotic bacteria such as Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus, Streptococcus thermophilus, bifidobacterium bifidum which faciltate the growth of gut-friendly bacterial colony and suppress diarrhea causing agents.
Tryptophan, an amino acid in dairy products, facilitates the production of serotonin and melatonin in the brain, and if taken before bedtime, encourages sleep.
Regular consumption of yoghurt boosts immunity, and get the human body ready to fight against fungal infections and intestinal cancers.
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||3.25 g||16%|
|Dietary Fiber||0 g||0%|
|Vitamin A||99 IU||3%|
|Vitamin C||0.5 mg||<1%|
|Vitamin E||0.06 mg||<1%|
|Vitamin K||0.2 µg||<1%|
Yogurt making at home is easy and economical and supply a fresh dairy product that is rich in vitamins and minerals without any added sugar.
To prepare, wash utensils thoroughly, and rinse well in hot water or sterilize before using. Heat milk to 85° F for about 30 minutes. The addition of 3% to 5% of milk powder thickens yogurt, makes it creamy, and adds to its nutritional value.
Allow milk to cool to 43° to 46° C, and then add culture. Dehydrated yogurt starter, fresh commercial yogurt containing live bacteria, or homemade yogurt prepared within the last 5 days can be employed to prepare good yogurt.
Avoid stirring yogurt while it is setting, or else it breaks up and becomes watery. Leave it to incubate constantly at 40° C for 4 to 6 hours. A thermometer may help to monitor the exact temperature and guide timing of ferment incorporation.
The incubation temperature is crucial to obtain good yogurt. The ideal temperature is between 105° F to 115° F. Do not allow the temperature to reach beyond 115° F, or else it will destroy the fermenting bacteria and prevent it from setting. Also, fermentation becomes slower if less than 40° C as lower temperature prolongs the setting time and turns the yogurt bit sourer.
Whole milk brings about a firmer and tastier yogurt rich in fat and energy than when it is made from skim milk. Gelatin or pectin may be added to milk to obtain desired texture if you desire so.
In order to minimize the risk of contamination, take care to set aside the amount needed for the next culture.
Yoghurt made from a dehydrated culture is creamier, thicker, and less acidic than it made with commercial yogurts. Moreover, it keeps these qualities for a longer duration and can be used more than once to make fresh yogurt. After about one month or three batches, the yogurt degenerates, and a new ferment must be used.
Fresh yogurt can be readily available all around the year in US stores. Check the use-by or sell-by date when buying. There is a wide range of yogurt, including set yogurt and various products such as frozen yogurt, drinking, and dehydrated yogurt. One may buy flavored, fruit-added in these stores.
Do not buy near expiry or beyond expired yogurt as you may it out of flavor and sour in taste.
When the yogurt is set and achieved a desired texture and taste, refrigerate immediately to stop the further fermentation activity. Fruits or other ingredients are added just before eating.
Here are some steps to storing tips:
Avoid keeping it at room temperature as much as possible.
Each time, use a separate, clean spoon to get fresh yogurt.
If in deep freezer, preferably defrost it in the fridge (middle shelf) itself.
Yoghurt is eaten as is, and also used in various cookings.
It is added to soups, salads, meat, poultry, fish, race, pasta dishes, breads, cakes, desserts and drinks.
Yoghurt employed as one of the basic ingredient in several hot or cold soups, as well as in the preparation of cold sauces for grilled skewers.
It is used to marinate and tenderize poultry and game meat.
It is an important ingredient in the middle eastern and Indian cuisines. it is used as an accompaniment to curries, and the basis of raitas (fruits or vegetables mixed with flavoured yoghurt).
Plain yoghurt can be used as an healthy substitute to cream, and used whether liquid, whipped or sour. It can be added to mayonnaise or vinaigrette. If using it in place of cream in dishes requiring cooking, yoghurt needs to be stabilized by adding a little cornstarch. Bring it to room temperature for 1 to 2 hours before adding it to hot dishes and, if possible, at the very end of cooking.
Drinking yoghurt is made from fermented milk, to which a fruit flavoured syrup or sugar, and fruit has been added, and is sometimes promoted as an healthy alternative to carbonated soft drinks.
In India and Pakistan, a traditional mild sweet (or salty) drinking yogurt (lassi) is popular summer drink. It is prepared by blending dahi (yoghurt) with water, salt, and flavored with herbs like mint, ginger and fennel.
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USDA National Nutrient Database. (opens in new window).
NCBI-Survival of Yogurt Bacteria in the Human Gut US National Library of Medicine. (opens in new window).
IFAS Extension-University of FloridaShopping for Health.. pdf. (opens in new window).
Stanford School of Medicine Cancer information Page-Nutrition to Reduce Cancer Risk (Link opens in new window).