What Is Yoghurt and How Do You Make It?

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Yoghurt or Yogurt is one of the most popular fermented food, which is produced by the bacterial fermentation of milk. The word yogurt comes from a Turkish word yoğurt which refers to thick tart milk. It is often said that the discovery of yogurt, as other fermented milk products, was by accident. In earlier ages, these products were created due their primitive storage of milk in warm places. The process of making a batch of yogurt is really simple. All you have to do is mix fresh milk and a little sample of bacteria in a container. Over time, the milk thickens and becomes yogurt. During this process of fermentation, lactic acid is produced. This acid acts as a preservative which increases the shelf life of yogurt. On the basis of how it is made, there are mainly three types of Yogurt; Balkan-Style, Swiss-Style and Greek-Style.  

The Balkan-Style yogurt does not require any further stirring and that is what sets this yogurt apart from the other types. The mixture is poured into the container and gradually, develops into a thick texture of milk. The Swiss-Style yogurt is stirred to obtain a creamy texture. First, the warm mixture is incubated, and then left to cool. It is then stirred and often mixed with fruits or other additional flavourings. The Swiss-Style yogurt is thinner in texture as compared to the Balkan-Style yogurt. The most popular form of yogurt worldwide is the Greek-Style yogurt. This yogurt is perfect for cooking and often used as dips as well. In order of make it creamer, these yogurt are made from milk which has been drained of some water or from straining a plain yogurt. This is all done to make the yogurt more creamy and thick in texture. Another popular form of yogurt is called Lassi, which is more of a liquified yogurt with a hint of either salt or sugar. It is considered of the popular cold beverage in Asian countries. There is a large proportion of sugar found in the commercially produced yogurt. Some commercially produced yogurt might even contain starch or gelatin which is added to create thickness artificially. Borhani is a popular spicy yogurt drink from Bangladesh, often served with Biryani. A yogurt drink without any addition of salt or sugar is often called as Jogurt. Nowadays, plant based milk yogurt is gaining popularity as well. These yogurt are made from rice milk or soy milk, often suitable for lactose intolerant people.  

Natural yogurt with fresh berries and muesli. Healthy dessert. Close up.

How is Yogurt Made? 

The entire manufacturing process of yogurt consists of 4 stages. The first stage is to modify the milk composition to reduce the fat content. Then comes the pasteurization and homogenization. The milk is then cooled down and incubated. Hence, the actual process of fermentation starts. After this, as according to the preference, fruits and other ingredients are added.  

Yogurt is made from the bacterial fermentation of fresh milk. There are two types of bacterial cultures: Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. Then to a heated and pasteurized milk, these cultures are added in small amount, and then incubated at a certain temperature. Here, the process of incubation is necessary and significant in order to maximise the full effect of these bacterial cultures. The lactose or milk sugar is then converted to lactic acid by the bacteria. In this process, we can obtain the tangy taste of yogurt instead of the sweet taste of milk. The yogurt can then be placed to cool and served by itself or with fruits and flavourings. Many a time, gelatin is also added to the yogurt to act as a stabilizer.  

In the earlier 19th Century, after the discovery of yogurt, the scientist began studying the bacteria that made it possible. After their study and research, they were able to produce combined strains, also known as direct-set cultures. If you have the direct-set culture, you do not have to maintain any starter and you can make the same yogurt again and again. If we were to define yogurt, it has been stated that it must contain  Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus.There is one other particular culture as well, called mesophilic. However, they are not considered to be pure yogurts and cannot be sold accordingly.  

After you have made your yogurt, it is vital that you know about its storage. If you are buying your yogurt, make sure to check the expiration date. It is extremely important to refrigerate the yogurt at all times. If you have broken into a batch of yogurt, it is best to finish the entire batch within 3 days. Overtime, it excludes water and taste becomes tangy and bitter. Always seal the container tightly to prevent any contamination. It is extremely important to store yogurt in the fridge but you should never freeze the yogurt as it will affect the taste and the texture.  

The Blog Chicks team wondered how to make yogurt at home. They have used the How To Make Coconut yogurt recipe from the very popular online retailer Luvele.com.au website who sell yoghurt makers, meat grinders etc.

The recipe worked really well and the team have no hesitation in recommending the Luvele website as a great resource for information and products for making yogurt. You can visit their website here: https://www.luvele.com.au