What is yoghurt?

Yoghurt or yogurt, less commonly yoghourt or yogourt, is a dairy product produced by bacterial fermentation of milk. Any sort of milk may be used to make yoghurt, but modern production is dominated by cow's milk. It is the fermentation of milk sugar (lactose) into lactic acid that gives yoghurt its gel-like texture and characteristic tang.

Generally a culture includes two or more different bacteria for more complete fermentation, most commonly Streptococcus salivarius and thermophilus, and Lactobacillus genus members, such as L. acidophilus, bulgaricus and bifidus.

History of yoghurt

Yoghurt is traditionally believed to be an invention of the Turks of Central Asia, although there is evidence of cultured milk products in other cultures 4500 years ago. The earliest yoghurts were probably spontaneously fermented, perhaps by wild bacteria residing inside goatskin bags used for transportation.

The word derives from the Turkish yoghurt, deriving from the verb yoghurmak, which means 'to blend', a reference to how yoghurt is made.

Yoghurt remained primarily a food of India, Central Asia, Western Asia, South Eastern Europe and Central Europe until the 1900s, when a Russian biologist named Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov theorized that heavy consumption of yoghurt was responsible for the unusually long lifespans of the Bulgar people. Believing lactobacillus to be essential for good health, Mechnikov worked to popularize yoghurt as a foodstuff throughout Europe. It fell to a Spanish entrepreneur named Isaac Carasso to industrialise the production of yoghurt. In 1919 he started a commercial yoghurt plant in Barcelona, naming the business Danone after his son (the group trades as Dannon in the US).

Yoghurt with added fruit marmalade was invented (and patented) in 1933 in dairy Radlická Mlékárna in Prague. The original intention of this combination was to protect yoghurt better against decay.

Yoghurt was first commercially produced and sold in the United States in 1929 by Armenian immigrants, Rose and Sarkis Colombosian, whose family business later became Colombo Yogurt.

Source: Wikipedia

How to make yoghurt

The easiest way of getting yoghurt is just going to the supermarket and buy it there, no matter how dumb this would sound. But it is also fun to eat your very own home-made yoghurt, so here I'll explain to you the easiest way of making it (notice there are other recipes to make it, but this is the cheapest and the less painful one, and you will have to go to the supermarket anyway).

  1. Go to the supermarket and buy one liter of milk (we take for granted that the milk has been pasteurised) and a pack of plain yoghurt.
  2. Once at home, mix in a jar the milk with a couple of portions of yoghurt (if it is a pack of four you can just save the other two to eat them in case the experiment turns out to be a total failure).
  3. Pour the mixture in several low cristal glasses and...
  4. If you have an electric yoghurt maker that would be the ideal place to put them for 12 hours. But if you have not (they are really cheap, though), you can always put them in the oven at low fire (not over 50ºC) for a night (12 hours).
  5. And that should be enough to get your flamboyant home-made yoghurts :)

Recipe nr 1

One 6 oz package of yogurt
Half a banana sliced
A handful of strawberries sliced
Your favorite granola cereal or trail mix

Mix it up in a big cup and enjoy! Great for breakfast or a snack!

Sent by Jen. Thanks! :)

Recipe nr 2

Take 400 grams of plain yogurt,
two bananas,
and one tablespoon of honey.

Blitz it all in a blender.
Add cinnamon.
Hint: you can try it with a tiny bit of vodka too. :)

Sent by Umur Çelikyay, from Turkey. Thanks! :)

Recipe nr 3

Take one or two packages of yoghurt,
a sliced (and crumbled) banana
and some crumbled Maria Cookies.

Mix it all and voilá!

Sent by Sara Filipa, from Portugal. Obrigada! :)

If you want to share your recipe with us, just send it to diletante.net {at} gmail.com or via the contact form and I will publish it next to your name :)


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