Yoghurt, full fat Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz) Energy 257 kJ (61 kcal) Carbohydrates 4.7 g - Sugars 4.7 g (*) Fat 3.3 g - saturated 2.1 g - monounsaturated 0.9 g Protein 3.5 g Vitamin A equiv. 27 μg (3%) Riboflavin (vit. B2) 0.14 mg (12%) Calcium 121 mg (12%) (*) Lactose content diminishes during storage.
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Yoghurt, yogurt or yogourt (UK: /ˈjɒɡət/, US: /ˈjoʊɡərt/; Turkish: yoğurt, pronounced [joˈuɾt]) is a dairy product produced by bacterial fermentation of milk. The bacteria used to make yoghurt are known as "yoghurt cultures". Fermentation of lactose by these bacteria produces lactic acid, which acts on milk protein to give yoghurt its texture and its characteristic tang.
Dairy yoghurt is produced using a culture of Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus and Streptococcus salivarius subsp. thermophilus bacteria. In addition, Lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacteria are also sometimes added during or after culturing yoghurt.
The milk is first heated to about 80 °C (176 °F) to kill any undesirable bacteria and to denature the milk proteins so that they set together rather than form curds. The milk is then cooled to about 45 °C (112 °F). The bacteria culture is added, and the temperature is maintained for 4 to 7 hours to allow fermentation.
Etymology and spelling
The word is derived from Turkish: yoğurt, and is related to the obsolete verb yoğmak 'to be curdled or coagulated; to thicken'. The letter ğ was traditionally rendered as "gh" in transliterations of Turkish. In older Turkish, the letter denoted a voiced velar fricative /ɣ/, but this sound is elided between back vowels in modern Turkish, in which the word is pronounced [joˈuɾt]. Some eastern dialects retain the consonant in this position, and Turks in the Balkans pronounce the word with a hard /ɡ/.
In English, there are several variations of the spelling of the word. In New Zealand, "yoghurt" prevails. In the United Kingdom and Australia, "yoghurt" and "yogurt" are both current, "yogurt" being more common on product labels, and "yoghourt" is an uncommon alternative. In the United States, "yogurt" is the usual spelling and "yoghurt" a minor variant. In Canada, "yogurt" is most common among English speakers, but many brands use "yogourt," since it is an acceptable spelling in both official languages.
Whatever the spelling, the word is usually pronounced with a short o (/ˈjɒɡət/) in the UK, with a long o (/ˈjoʊɡərt/) in North America, Australia, Ireland and South Africa, and with either a long or short o in New Zealand.
There is evidence of cultured milk products in cultures as far back as 2000 BCE. In the records of the ancient culture of Indo-Iranians (Iran and India), yoghurt is mentioned by 500 BCE. In this record the combination of yoghurt and honey is called "the food of the gods". Persian traditions hold that "Abraham owed his fecundity and longevity to the regular ingestion of yogurt".
The oldest writings mentioning yoghurt are attributed to Pliny the Elder, who remarked that certain nomadic tribes knew how "to thicken the milk into a substance with an agreeable acidity". The use of yoghurt by medieval Turks is recorded in the books Diwan Lughat al-Turk by Mahmud Kashgari and Kutadgu Bilig by Yusuf Has Hajib written in the 11th century. Both texts mention the word "yoghurt" in different sections and describe its use by nomadic Turks. The earliest yoghurts were probably spontaneously fermented by wild bacteria in goat skin bags.
Another early account of a European encounter with yoghurt occurs in French clinical history: Francis I suffered from a severe diarrhoea which no French doctor could cure. His ally Suleiman the Magnificent sent a doctor, who allegedly cured the patient with yoghurt. Being grateful, the French king spread around the information about the food which had cured him.
Until the 1900s, yoghurt was a staple in diets of people in the Russian Empire (and especially Central Asia and the Caucasus), Western Asia, South Eastern Europe/Balkans, Central Europe, and India. Stamen Grigorov (1878–1945), a Bulgarian student of medicine in Geneva, first examined the microflora of the Bulgarian yoghurt. In 1905, he described it as consisting of a spherical and a rod-like lactic acid bacteria. In 1907, the rod-like bacterium was called Lactobacillus bulgaricus (now Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus). The Russian Nobel laureate biologist Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov (also seen as Élie Metchnikoff), from the Institut Pasteur in Paris, was influenced by Grigorov's work and hypothesised that regular consumption of yoghurt was responsible for the unusually long lifespans of Bulgarian peasants. Believing Lactobacillus to be essential for good health, Mechnikov worked to popularise yoghurt as a foodstuff throughout Europe.
Isaac Carasso industrialised the production of yoghurt. In 1919, Carasso, who was from Ottoman Salonika, started a small yoghurt business in Barcelona, Spain, and named the business Danone ("little Daniel") after his son. The brand later expanded to the United States under an Americanised version of the name: Dannon.
Yoghurt was first introduced to the United States in the first decade of the twentieth century, influenced by Élie Metchnikoff's The Prolongation of Life; Optimistic Studies (1908); it was available in tablet form for those with digestive intolerance and for home culturing. It was popularised by John Harvey Kellogg at the Battle Creek Sanitarium, where it was used both orally and in enemas, and later by Armenian immigrants Sarkis and Rose Colombosian, who started "Colombo and Sons Creamery" in Andover, Massachusetts in 1929. Colombo Yoghurt was originally delivered around New England in a horse-drawn wagon inscribed with the Armenian word "madzoon" which was later changed to "yogurt", the Turkish name of the product, as Turkish was the lingua franca between immigrants of the various Near Eastern ethnicities who were the main consumers at that time. Yoghurt's popularity in the United States was enhanced in the 1950s and 1960s, when it was presented as a health food. By the late 20th century, yoghurt had become a common American food item and Colombo Yogurt was sold in 1993 to General Mills, which discontinued the brand in 2010.
Nutritional value and health benefits
Yoghurt is nutritionally rich in protein, calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. It has nutritional benefits beyond those of milk. People who are moderately lactose-intolerant can consume yoghurt without ill effects, because much of the lactose in the milk precursor is converted to lactic acid by the bacterial culture.
Yoghurt contains varying amounts of fat. There is non-fat (0% fat), low-fat (usually 2% fat) and plain or whole milk yoghurt (4% fat). A study published in the International Journal of Obesity (11 January 2005) also found that the consumption of low-fat yoghurt can promote weight loss, especially due to the calcium in the yoghurt.
Varieties and presentation
Yoghurt is popular in Nepal, where it is served as both an appetiser and dessert. Locally called dahi (दही), it is a part of the Nepali culture, used in local festivals, marriage ceremonies, parties, religious occasions, family gatherings, and so on. The most famous type of Nepalese yoghurt is called juju dhau, originating from the city of Bhaktapur. In Tibet, yak milk (technically dri milk, as the word yak refers to the male animal) is made into yoghurt (and butter and cheese) and consumed.
In Northern Iran, Mâst Chekide is a variety of kefir yoghurt with a distinct sour taste. It is usually mixed with a pesto-like water and fresh herb purée called delal. Yoghurt is a side dish to all Iranian meals. The most popular appetisers are spinach or eggplant borani, Mâst-o-Khiâr with cucumber, spring onions and herbs, and Mâst-Musir with wild shallots. In the summertime, yoghurt and ice cubes are mixed together with cucumbers, raisins, salt, pepper and onions and topped with some croutons made of Persian traditional bread and served as a cold soup. Ashe-Mâst is a warm yoghurt soup with fresh herbs, spinach and lentils. Even the leftover water extracted when straining yoghurt is cooked to make a sour cream sauce called kashk, which is usually used as a topping on soups and stews.
Matsoni is a Georgian yoghurt popular in the Caucasus and Russia. It is used in a wide variety of Georgian dishes and is believed to have contributed to the high life expectancy and longevity in the country. Dannon used this theory in their 1978 TV advertisement called In Soviet Georgia where shots of elderly Georgian farmers were interspersed with an off-camera announcer intoning, "In Soviet Georgia, where they eat a lot of yogurt, a lot of people live past 100." It is made with Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus lactic acid bacteria. Matsoni is also popular in Japan under the name Caspian Sea Yogurt (カスピ海ヨーグルト).
Tarator and Cacık are popular cold soups made from yoghurt, popular during summertime in Albania, Bulgaria, Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey. They are made with ayran, cucumbers, dill, salt, olive oil, and optionally garlic and ground walnuts. Tzatziki in Greece and milk salad in Bulgaria are thick yoghurt-based salads similar to tarator.
Khyar w Laban (cucumber and yoghurt salad) is a popular dish in Lebanon and Syria. Also, a wide variety of local Lebanese and Syrian dishes are cooked with yoghurt like "Kibbi bi Laban", etc.
Rahmjoghurt, a creamy yoghurt with much higher fat content (10%) than most yoghurts offered in English-speaking countries (Rahm is German for "cream"), is available in Germany and other countries.
Cream-top yoghurt is yoghurt made with unhomogenised milk. A layer of cream rises to the top, forming a rich yoghurt cream. Cream-top yoghurt was first made commercially popular in the United States by Brown Cow of Newfield, New York, bucking the trend toward low- and non-fat yoghurts.
Zabadi is the type of yoghurt made in Egypt, usually from the milk of the Egyptian water buffalo. It is particularly associated with Ramadan fasting, as it is thought to prevent thirst during all-day fasting.
Raita is a yoghurt-based South Asian/Indian condiment, used as a side dish. The yoghurt is seasoned with cilantro (coriander), cumin, mint, cayenne pepper, and other herbs and spices. Vegetables such as cucumber and onions are mixed in, and the mixture is served chilled. Raita has a cooling effect on the palate which makes it a good foil for spicy Indian and Pakistani dishes.
Dudh is a Sindhi-curd, popular in India and Pakistan. People drink dudh along with food at intervals, to help digestion and make food more delicious. In some places, dudh is also served with plain rice.
Dahi is a yoghurt of the Indian subcontinent, known for its characteristic taste and consistency. The word dahi seems to be derived from the Sanskrit word dadhi, one of the five elixirs, or panchamrita, often used in Hindu ritual. Dahi also holds cultural symbolism in many homes in the Mithilanchal region of Bihar. It is found in different flavours, two of which are famous: sour yoghurt (tauk doi) and sweet yoghurt (meesti or podi doi). In India and Pakistan, it is often used in cosmetics mixed with turmeric and honey. Sour yoghurt (खट्टी दही) is also used as a hair conditioner by women in many parts of India and Pakistan. Dahi is also known as Thayiru (Malayalam), doi (Assamese, Bengali), dohi (Oriya), perugu (Telugu), Mosaru (Kannada), Thayir (Tamil), or Qәzana a pәәner (Pashto).
Sweetened and flavoured yoghurt
To offset its natural sourness, yoghurt can be sold sweetened, flavoured or in containers with fruit or fruit jam on the bottom. If the fruit has been stirred into the yoghurt before purchase, it is commonly referred to in the United States as Swiss-style. Most yoghurts in North America have added pectin, found naturally in fruit, and/or gelatin to create thickness and creaminess artificially at lower cost. This type of yoghurt is also marketed under the name Swiss-style, although it is unrelated to the way yoghurt is eaten in Switzerland. Some yoghurts, often called "cream line," are made with whole milk which has not been homogenised so the cream rises to the top. Fruit jam is used instead of raw fruit pieces in fruit yoghurts to allow storage for weeks.
In the UK, Ireland, and USA, sweetened, flavoured yoghurt is the most popular type, typically sold in single-serving plastic cups. Typical flavours are vanilla, honey, or fruit such as strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, mango or peach. In recent years, some manufacturers are marketing flavours inspired by desserts, such as chocolate or cheesecake, with many variants.
In Australia, flavoured and Greek are the two most popular types of yoghurt, and are usually sold in one kilogram tubs.
Strained yoghurts are types of yoghurt which are strained through a paper or cloth filter, traditionally made of muslin, to remove the whey, giving a much thicker consistency and a distinctive, slightly tangy taste. Strained yoghurt is becoming more popular with those who make yoghurt at home, especially if using skim milk which results in a thinner consistency. Once yoghurt is made and refrigerated overnight, it is poured in a muslin or cheesecloth bag and hung in the coolest place in the house, with a tub placed underneath to collect the dripping whey. In cold weather a single day (or night) of straining is sufficient. In higher ambient temperatures yoghurt will spoil rapidly, therefore it had best be actively squeezed or strained until about a third or more of its initial weight has run off. The remainder is now strained and is refrigerated again.
Labneh is a strained yoghurt used for sandwiches popular in Arab countries. Olive oil, cucumber slices, olives, and various green herbs may be added. It can be thickened further and rolled into balls, preserved in olive oil, and fermented for a few more weeks. It is sometimes used with onions, meat, and nuts as a stuffing for a variety of pies or kebbeh (كبة) balls.
Some types of strained yoghurts are boiled in open vats first, so that the liquid content is reduced. The popular East Indian dessert, a variation of traditional dahi called mishti dahi, offers a thicker, more custard-like consistency, and is usually sweeter than western yoghurts.
Strained yoghurt is also enjoyed in Greece and is the main component of tzatziki (from Turkish "cacık"), a well-known accompaniment to gyros and souvlaki pita sandwiches: it is a yoghurt sauce or dip made with the addition of grated cucumber, olive oil, salt and, optionally, mashed garlic.
Dugh, Ayran or dhalla is a yoghurt-based, salty drink popular in Afghanistan, Albania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran, Pakistan, the Republic of Macedonia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. It is made by mixing yoghurt with water and (sometimes) salt. The same drink is known as doogh in Iran; tan in Armenia; laban ayran in Syria and Lebanon; shenina in Iraq and Jordan; laban arbil in Iraq; majjiga (Telugu), majjige (Kannada), and moru (Tamil and Malayalam) in South India; lassi in Punjab and all over Pakistan. A similar drink, doogh, is popular in the Middle East between Lebanon, Iran, and Afghanistan; it differs from ayran by the addition of herbs, usually mint, and is sometimes carbonated, commonly with carbonated water.
Borhani (or Burhani) is a spicy yoghurt drink popular in Bangladesh and parts of Bengal. It is usually served with kacchi biryani at weddings and special feasts. Key ingredients are yoghurt blended with mint leaves (mentha), mustard seeds and black rock salt (Kala Namak). Ground roasted cumin, ground white pepper, green chili pepper paste and sugar are often added.
Lassi (Hindi: लस्सी, Urdu: لسی) is a yoghurt-based beverage originally from the Indian subcontinent that is usually slightly salty or sweet. Lassi is a staple in Punjab. In some parts of the subcontinent, the sweet version may be commercially flavoured with rosewater, mango or other fruit juice to create a very different drink. Salty lassi is usually flavoured with ground, roasted cumin and red chillies; this salty variation may also use buttermilk, and in India is interchangeably called ghol (Bengal), mattha (North India), majjiga (Andhra Pradesh), moru (Tamil Nadu and Kerala), Dahi paani (Orissa), tak (Maharashtra), or chaas (Gujarat). Lassi is very widely drunk in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
In Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Montenegro and the Republic of Macedonia, an unsweetend and unsalted yoghurt drink usually called simply jogurt is very popular with burek and other bakery products.
Sweetened yoghurt drinks are the usual form in Europe (including the UK) and the US, containing fruit and added sweeteners. These are typically called "drinking / drinkable yoghurt", such as Yop and BioBest Smoothie.
Also available are "yoghurt smoothies", which contain a higher proportion of fruit and are more like smoothies. In Ecuador, yoghurt smoothies flavoured with native fruit are served with pan de yuca as a common type of fast food.
Also in Turkey, yoghurt-soup or Yayla Çorbası is a popular way of consuming yoghurt. The soup is a mix of yoghurt, rice, flour and dried mint.
Other fermented dairy products
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- US National Center for Home Food Preservation: Fermenting Yogurt at Home
- Acidified milk in different countries
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