The world's first health food
Yoghurt has been eaten for centuries, with ancient cultures using it as a way to preserve milk.
Types of yoghurt
Natural yoghurt has no added flavours or sweeteners, and a clean, slightly acidic, tart flavour.
Fruit, vanilla and honey are among popular choices. Most have added sugar or artificial sweeteners to enhance the flavours.
Traditional Greek yoghurt is made through a straining process where natural yoghurt is strained of its whey, leaving a thick product, somewhere between the texture of yoghurt and labne (yoghurt cheese). Traditional strained Greek yoghurt is naturally higher in protein than other yoghurts. Greek-style yoghurt is not strained, but thickened through the addition of milk solids (like cream) and stabilisers, which produce a rich, creamy and silky texture.
Set yoghurts are fermented in tubs. They are fairly thick and have a flat surface with any fruit or flavourings at the base. Stirred yoghurt is fermented in bulk with the fruit or flavouring stirred in and then placed in individual containers.
Stirred yoghurt is made when fermentation is carried out in bulk and not in individual containers. Once the fermentation reaches the desired level, the yoghurt is pumped through a cooler to stop fermentation. Fruit or flavouring is then stirred in.
Drinking yoghurt is produced in a similar way to stirred yoghurt. The body is then diluted and mixed with a blend of flavours, fruit or berry juices.
Frozen yoghurt is made when a blend of sugars, stabilisers, emulsifiers and flavours are added to natural stirred yoghurt.
Labna is yoghurt that has been drained of whey to form a fresh yoghurt ‘cheese’.
How is yoghurt made?
Yoghurt is a type of fermented dairy food, and there are five key steps in making it:
- Skim milk powder is added to milk, increasing protein content to help produce smooth texture and characteristics of yoghurt
- The milk is then homogenised and pasteurised
- Bacterial starter cultures are used to convert lactose (the sugar in milk) into lactic acid, which helps set the yoghurt
- Yoghurt is stored in controlled temperatures (42°C to 43°C) between four and six hours
- Sometimes, fruit or flavourings are added to enhance the taste
Other bacterial cultures, called probiotics, may be added to yoghurt for their health benefits.
Yoghurt nutritional information
Yoghurt contains 10 essential nutrients including calcium, vitamin A, vitamin B12 and riboflavin.
2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines state that yoghurt can help protect us against heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, some cancers, Type 2 diabetes, and help contribute to stronger bones.
Yoghurt is also generally well tolerated by people with lactose intolerance, as the probiotics added to yoghurt help digest the lactose in milk.
Probiotics are bacteria that promote intestinal health by restoring the balance between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria in the stomach. Current evidence suggests that specific probiotic strains can play a role in:
- reducing the risk of certain cancers
- enhancing immunity
- treating irritable bowel syndrome
- preventing food allergy symptoms
- protecting against vaginal and urinary tract infections
- treating gastric ulcers
The most common probiotic strains added to yoghurt come from the Lactobacillus (e.g. Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus GG) and Bifidobacterium species. The type of probiotic strain added will be listed on the food label.
|Type per 100g
|Fruit - strawberry