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Yogurt From A To Z: 26 Things You Didn't Know About Yogurt

Yogurt From A To Z: 26 Things You Didn't Know About Yogurt

From its famous Greek version to the Egyptian Zabady, from Pasteur to Pliny the Elder, here is a list of facts and figures about this milky food

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The characteristic sour taste of yogurt is due to the acidification of the milk during fermentation. It can range from a taste that is slightly sourer than fresh milk, to a tartness that is quite astringent. It depends on the type of bacteria culture used, as well as how long the yogurt has fermented (longer means more tart). The acidity of yogurt tends to be in the range of pH 4.

Together with some types of lactobacilli (Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus lactis), they are the probiotic microorganisms sometimes added to yogurt. These active live cultures can survive and reproduce in the human organisms, and are thought to be beneficial to it, fostering healthy intestines.

Not only food: yogurt is traditionally employed for the beauty of the skin. Mixed with honey, cucumber, turmeric or other ingredient as a face mask; even used as hair conditioner in some parts of India and Pakistan.

Dugh, Lassi, Ayran, Burhani: many are the names of the yogurt-based drink popular in Eastern Europe, The Middle East, Caucasus and in the Indian subcontinent. Yogurt is mixed with water (sometimes carbonated) and eventually herbs and spices. Sweet and flavored versions are also found in some countries.

En yaourt
“Chanter in yaourt”, literally means “singing in yogurt” in French, means imitating English sounds when singing. Anglophone sentences are emulated even when they actually don’t make any sense. This technique is intended to free the singer’s performance.

It is the biological process by which lactose – the sugar found in milk - is transformed into lactid acid by harmless bacteria – the most common of which are Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. The different combinations of bacteria produce the specific characteristics of the various yogurts, including taste and consistency. There are many different yogurt cultures, including Greek, Bulgarian, Scandinavian jelly-like Viili, and Caucasian Matsoni, great for frozen yogurt.

It's a type of yogurt wildly appreciated for its rich and creamy texture. Its consistency is due to the removal of the milk serum by straining the yogurt in a cloth, paper bag or filter: here is a tasty recipe with Greek yogurt.

Home made
A more and more popular option: it is easy and fast to prepare: you need 10 minutes and no special equipment (other than a thermometer). It is much cheaper and very healthy, as no preservatives or chemicals are added. Moreover, it is the ecologic option as there is no packaging waste or transportation.

Institut Pasteur
It's the French foundation chosen by Bulgarian scientist Stamen Grigoroff to present his work about lactic fermentation in 1903. Because of him, the strain of bacillus that produce natural yogurt was named Lactobacillus Bulgaricus. Some years later, Isac Carasso obtained the ferments from the Institute to produce his first yogurt, an exotic food in Western Europe during the Twenties.

Juju dhau
It's the most famous type of yogurt in Nepal, where its importance is not only culinary. The “king of yogurt” is a central component in all celebrations, including cultural, religious and marriage ceremonies. As many Nepalese believe that yogurt brings good luck, red clay pots filled with it are placed in the entrance ways for special occasions.

It is a fermented drink prepared by fermenting the milk with kefir grains to obtain a carbonated beverage. Originally made in skin bags by shepherds in the North Caucasus region, migrants introduced it in Chile over a century ago, where it is called “Birds’ yogurt”.

Lactose intolerance
Many people (including children) who cannot tolerate milk, can enjoy yogurt. The live active cultures create lactase, the enzyme lactose-intolerant people lack. The culturing process makes yogurt more digestible than milk.

The basis. It can come from a variety of mammals; whole cream, semi-skimmed or skim milk can be used. In commercial yogurts, milk is pasteurized and often enriched with powdered forms.

Natural and flavored
To offset its natural sourness, yogurt is often flavored and sweetened. Common flavors include vanilla, honey, toffee, and virtually any fruit. Large amounts of sugar – or other sweeteners for low-calorie yogurts – are often used in commercial yogurt.

It’s a French village in the Pyrénées Mountains where a very special yogurt is produced. It comes from buffalo milk and it’s naturally pink-colored.

Pliny the Elder
Well-known philosopher, naturalist and commander of the Roman Empire, he is the author of the oldest writings mentioning yogurt (23-79 AD). He describes certain "barbarous nations" that "thicken the milk into a substance with an agreeable acidity".

Q әzana a pәәner
It's the Pashto word for Dahi, the type of yogurt of the Indian subcontinent (Doi in Assamese and Bengali; Thayir in Tamil etc). According to Ayurveda, Dahi is considered to be a cooling food: no meal is complete without a cup of ‘curd’. It is one of the five foods of Panchamrita, the mixture used in Hindu worship.

Also known as vitamin B2, it has a key role in maintaining health. Yogurt is a good source of riboflavin, as well as of vitamin B6, vitamin B12, proteins, calcium and many more good-for-you substances. Because of it, yogurt has an excellent nutritional value, and it is considered beneficial in respect of various health issues, including diarrhea.

Space balls
It is a 1987 American science fiction comedy co-written and directed by Mel Brooks. It is a parody of Star Wars. Yogurt, interpreted by Brooks, is the parody of the Grand Master of the Jedi Council Yoda.

The etymology of the word ‘yogurt’ is unquestionable: it derives from the Turkish yoğurt and is related to the obsolete verb yoğmak, meaning "to be curdled or coagulated; to thicken".

University of Georgetown
A study released a couple of years ago from researchers of the Georgetown University Medical Center claims that probiotic yogurt drinks reduce the rate of common sicknesses among schoolchildren, such as cough, ear infections, sinusitis and flu .

Dairy-free versions of yogurt can be an option. Soy milk is increasingly popular, even though, as it doesn’t contain the lactose to feed bacteria, it is not strictly a yogurt but a similar product by taste and consistency. Rice milk and almond milk can be used as well.

Some studies published in medical journals such as International Journal of Obesity (2005) claim that the consumption of low-fat yogurt can promote weight loss, in particular for stomach fat. This would be especially due to the calcium in the yogurt, as it helps suppress the ill effects of a hormone which stimulates the conversion of sugars into fats.

It is a kind of oligosaccharide emerging as prebiotic. Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients (in this case carbohydrate fibers, coming from wood or corn cobs) which remain in the digestive tract, where they would stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria (probiotics). Marketed in Japan as dietary supplements, they can be used in lactic acid bacteria products, especially yogurt.

And also camel, buffalo, sheep, goat, mare and even deer: the milk used to make yogurt does not come from cows only. Depending on latitudes and traditions, a nice variety of animals are available to the purpose.

It is the type of yogurt made in Egypt, usually from the milk of the water buffalo. It is particularly associated with all-day-long fasting during the sacred month of Ramadan, as it is thought to prevent thirst. It is typically served as a mezze style dip, similar to Greek Tzatziki, but with fresh mint and cucumbers.

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