Yogurt also spelled yoghurt, yogourt or yoghourt, is a worldwide popular food.
It is produced by bacterial fermentation of milk.
The fermentation of lactose by these bacteria produces lactic acid, which acts on milk protein to give yogurt its texture and characteristic tart flavor.
The bacteria used to make yogurt are known as yogurt cultures. These are the “good bacteria” responsible for all of yogurt’s health benefits.
Yogurt is highly nutritious and is an excellent source of protein, calcium and potassium. It provides numerous vitamins and minerals and is relatively low in calories.
The most recent etymology of the word yogurt certainly comes from the Turkish language (meaning to knead or mix with a utensil).
Nobody knows when yogurt was discovered, its origins have been lost in the mists of time.
What we do know for sure is that fermented milk was already being used in prehistoric times.
The ancient Eastern tribes who were nomadic shepherds preserved their milk, from cows, sheep, goats, horses and camels, in containers made from these animals’ skins or from their stomachs.
Legend tells that yogurt was discovered because a shepherd, forgetting some milk in one of these skins for a while, when he finally remembered it, found it transformed : into something denser and tastier.
Apart from the legend, the most likely inventor of yogurt was yogurt itself. Reason tends to prove this theory, which anyone can check out, quite simply, in the following way : milk left to the open air, naturally transforms itself through the effects of germs, which make it coagulate and ferment. As far as Yogurt is concerned, it is easy to isolate the main cause of fermentation in the organisms present in the animal skins used as containers.
The continuous migrations of the tribes from the East European Steppes brought about the spreading of yogurt in the Mediterranean area. Later on, during the warring campaigns of the Phoenicians, the Egyptians, the Greeks and the Romans, yogurt became common in the entire West.
The oldest writings mentioning yogurt were by Pliny the Elder, who said that some people knew how to thicken the milk into something which was sour but tasty.
The first Arab recipe books describe its use in the preparation of various dishes, and even in the fables of The Arabian Nights we can find it served at marvellous banquets.
Yogurt was brought to the US in the early 1900s and steadily increased in popularity as a health food item over the next several decades.
Isaac Carasso industrialized the production of yogurt. In 1919, Carasso, who was from Ottoman Salonika, started a small yogurt business in Barcelona, Spain, and named the business Danone (“little Daniel”) after his son. The brand later expanded to the United States under an Americanized version of the name: Dannon. Yogurt with added fruit jam was patented in 1933 by the Radlická Mlékárna dairy in Prague.
Today, to produce yogurt, milk is first heated, usually to about 85 °C (185 °F), to denature the milk proteins so that they do not form curds. After heating, the milk is allowed to cool to about 45 °C (113 °F). The bacterial culture is mixed in, and that temperature of 45 °C is maintained for 4 to 12 hours to allow fermentation to occur.
Greek yogurt is made by straining out the extra whey in regular yogurt. It makes a yogurt that’s thicker, creamier and tangier than regular yogurt.
Various flavors and sweetening may be added, or natural yogurt may be mixed with fresh fruits or vegetables.
Frozen yogurt is a frozen dessert made with yogurt and sometimes other dairy and non-dairy products. Usually more tart than ice cream, as well as lower in fat, it is different from ice milk and conventional soft serve.
A salad of yogurt, cucumbers, and spices is served in India (raita) and several Middle Eastern countries (jajik) and Greece (tzatziki or tarator). Yogurt is also used in soups and sauces.
Crema D’or, from Hokkaido, is apparently the world’s most expensive yogurt. The milk and honey yogurt has a rich, cream cheese-like texture. It goes well on a baguette or biscuit, and the entire experience is akin to eating a small piece of cake. Packed in a jewelry box, you can see the luxury before you can even taste what’s inside. It cost ￥5,000 (approx. 50USD ).
The most yoghurt eaten in one minute is 1.685 kilograms (3.71 lbs) and was achieved by Andre Ortolf (Germany) in Augsburg, Germany, on 25 March 2017.
National Greek Yogurt Day is observed annually on November 9th.
National Frozen Yogurt Day is observed annually on February 6th.