Yoghurt or yogurt, is a dairy product produced by bacterial fermentation of milk.
Fermentation of the milk sugar (lactose) produces lactic acid, which acts on milk protein to give yoghurt its texture and its characteristic tang.
As with all dairy products it is a naturally rich source of many nutrients essential to growth, development and maintenance of the human body.
Numerous different types and flavours of yogurts are now available and the market is continually growing.
Yogurt can be given to children as part of a weaning diet, included in packed lunches, used in the cooking of sweet and savoury dishes or just as a quick nutritious snack.
As with milk, yogurt has been associated with many health benefits and provides an important and popular addition to the diet.
Types of Yogurt
Strained yoghurts, which include Greek Yoghurt (yiaourti), Dahi and Bulgarian Yoghurt are types of yoghurt which are strained through a cloth or paper filter, traditionally made of muslin, to remove the whey, giving a much thicker consistency, and a distinctive, slightly tangy taste. Some types are boiled in open vats first, so that the liquid content is reduced.
The popular East Indian dessert, Mishti Dahi, is a variation of traditional Dahi, offers a thicker, more custard-like consistency, and is usually sweeter than western yoghurts.
Dadiah, or Dadih, is a traditional West Sumatran yoghurt made from water buffalo milk. It is fermented in bamboo tubes.
Labneh yoghurt of Lebanon is a thickened yoghurt used for sandwiches. 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 Lebanese pies or Kebbeh balls.
Tarator/cacık is a popular cold soup made from yoghurt, popular during summertime in Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Turkey. It is made with Ayran, cucumbers, dill, salt, olive oil, and optionally garlic and ground walnuts in Bulgaria, and generally without walnuts in Turkey.
Rahmjoghurt is a creamy yoghurt with much higher milkfat content (10%) than most yoghurts offered in English-speaking countries, is available in Germany and other countries.
Caspian Sea Yoghurt is believed to have been introduced into Japan in 1986 by researchers returning from a trip to the Caucasus region in Georgia.
Bihidasu, a Japanese edible brand of Ayran.Ayran is a yoghurt-based, salty drink popular in Turkey, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. It is made by mixing yoghurt with water and adding salt. The same drink is known as tan in Armenia, "Laban Ayran" in Syria and Lebanon, "Shenina" in Jordan, "Moru" in South India, and "Laban Arbil" in Iraq.
A similar drink, doogh, is popular in the Middle East between Lebanon and Afghanistan; it differs from ayran by the addition of herbs, usually mint, and is carbonated, usually with seltzer water.
In the United States, yoghurt-based beverages are often marketed under names like "yoghurt smoothie" or "drinkable yoghurt". They are also popular in Ecuador where the primary form of yoghurt is "bebida de yogurt", which literally means drink of yoghurt.
Lassi is a yogurt-based beverage originally from the Indian subcontinent that is usually slightly salty or sweet. Much like a smoothie, the sweet version is typically flavoured with coconut, rosewater, lemon, mango or other fruit juice. Salty lassi is usually flavoured with ground, roasted cumin and chilli peppers.
Yop a fruity French yoghurt coming from the Yoplait Dairy Company, is popular in France, Canada and the UK.
Kefir is a fermented milk drink originating in the Caucasus. A related Central Asian Turco-Mongolian drink made from mare's milk is called kumis, or airag in Mongolia.
Some American dairies have offered a drink called "kefir" for many years with fruit flavours but without carbonation or alcohol. As of 2002, names like "drinkable yoghurt" and "yoghurt smoothie" have been introduced