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Yogurt


birder53
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After breezing through Morocco and Paris on a recent trip, I am plagued by the age of question: why do the yogurt (store bought brands) in Morocco and France (and for that matter, the rest of Europe) taste so much more creamier and luscious than the American variety? Even the yogurt that I bought from the Greenmarket does not match up to the European versions. What are they doing that we Americans are not?

There are few American varieties with the same ingredients. They should be milk, culture and that's it. On the various ingredient lists in USA there are many other adulterants.

Lets say you get European yogurts with only those ingredients. There still are variables in production like the fat content (like chefcrash said) - the higher fat the creamier- how long the milk was kept up to temp, at what temp was it innoculated and at what temp did they begin incubation.

My results are best when I don't keep it at temp (around 195F) over 6-7 minutes. Then, I cool in an ice bath and innoculate as close to 95F as possible, using an organic starter with the main 4 or 5 active cultures (like Horizon). Then I start incubation immediately. Then, the longer it incubates the less creamy it is. I use a bouble boiler so as not to scorch.

For such a simple process it sure in complicated.

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I am not sure why us Americano don't stack up. But the best yogurt comes from Ice Land. It's call Skyr and comes in blueberry or vanilla. Whole Foods carries it. Give it try, it's so good a single spoonful might transport you back to your leisurely vacation days.

Edited by Judd Icious Hand (log)
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The culture strain has a lot to do with the flavor. Fat content is likely higher than in the states. Also, even the heavy fat brands may add pectin or other thickeners that I think take away from real creaminess and just add thickness.

I make my own and used Brown Cow brand as the original starter. I just happen to like the flavor of their strain of bacteria.

My soup looked like an above ground pool in a bad neighborhood.

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There is one they sell in whole foods from Sky Top farm that comes close, but not quite. I know this is a really stupid question, but how does one make yogurt at home? Back in the early 80's, my junior high school friend has a yogurt maker at home. Does one really need it?

Ya-Roo Yang aka "Bond Girl"

The Adventures of Bond Girl

I don't ask for much, but whatever you do give me, make it of the highest quality.

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There is one they sell in whole foods from Sky Top farm that comes close, but not quite.  I know this is a really stupid question, but how does one make yogurt at home? Back in the early 80's, my junior high school friend has a yogurt maker at home. Does one really need it?

Here you go: Making yogurt at home

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm sitting here eating a bowl of TJ's organic vanilla yogurt (low fat) with blueberries & grape nuts and realizing it's too sweet for me. That's been happening to me a lot lately; as I cut down on sugar, I prefer less and less sweet foods. The problem is, the last time I picked up some plain yogurt, it was TOO sour. So I was wondering...

Are there particular brands that are less sour/more mellow?

What exactly is Greek yogurt anyway? Where does it fall in texture & sourness?

Are there other types of yogurt that I don't know about?

Thanks!

Joanna G. Hurley

"Civilization means food and literature all round." -Aldous Huxley

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Sweeten it yourself using whatever you'd like: sugar, honey, agave nectar, Splenda. You can adjust the sweetness to the inherent sourness (which can vary).I rarely eat pre-flavored yogurts, preferring to use my own flavorings and fruit. Frozen fruits work great (especially if you're packing a lunch) and so do fruit preserves.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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Ditto on what Therese said...sweeten it yourself!

When I first moved to the States, I had a really hard time eating any yogurt here as it all tasted unbelievably sweet to me. I went on a quest for a plain yogurt that I could handle and discovered that the TJ's low-fat plain yogurt is really quite good and not too sour at all.

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My favorite right now is "Fage" -- fairly new in the markets. It is a Greek yogurt and I find the 0% fat to be thick and wonderful. It has so much more body than Dannon By itself it is good, and when I want it sweetened, I add some SF orange marmalade or strawberry or whatever. Adding hot chocolate powder is good too.

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I really like the flavor of Brown Cow yogurt, its a nice mellow tangy, not super acidic. I prefer the plain and interestingly, the maple flavor. The maple isn't too sweet, I don't think, certainly not as sweet as any of the fruit flavors.

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I suspect it's a case of "the more I eat it, the more I'll like it," just like what happened when I got rid of sugar in my coffee. Doc keeps telling me to cut the sugar out of the diet, and I don't trust artificial sweeteners, so fruit it is. I'll give the TJ's plain a try. I think the last time I got Stonyfield Farms plain and that was a bit too much for me. Thanks for the advice; it sounds like the greek ones might be a bit too thick for my tastes right now.

I just wish more companies sold plain in smaller containers so I could try them! :smile:

Joanna G. Hurley

"Civilization means food and literature all round." -Aldous Huxley

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I never cared for yogurt all that much until someone told me to try Stonyfield's whole milk yogurt. I don't know if it would taste too sweet for you, but I usually don't care for the sour/tang of most yogurts. And I've discovered I have to hunt around a couple of different grocery stores to find it on the shelf.

Today I had the whole milk french vanilla with some fresh blueberries I added to it. I know the whole milk has more fat/calories than other brands, but I tell myself it's still better than eating a pint of Ben and Jerry's? :wink:

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I'll third on Fage. It's really creamy and smooth, even if you get one of the lowfat varieties. A pal and I went through a phase of devotion to the little yogurt cups with the side container of honey that you dump in. Gah, I'm getting all drooly just thinking about it!

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I love Fage, too. When raspberries are in season, I smush them and stir them in, and if I want it to be really desserty, sprinkle some brown sugar on top.

"An appetite for destruction, but I scrape the plate."

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I like a brand called "Caravan". Its Halal and can be found in most Middle Eastern and Indian groceries. Its realllly thick, creamy, not too tangy, but just tangy enough. Its almost the consistancy of sour cream, and thats what I use it for a lot of the times. Its fabulous drizzled with honey!

Edited by nessa (log)
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And please, let us not forget that yoghurt in its natural form does not come flavored with fruits. Nor does it come in small plastic containers. live anywhere in the Mediterranean basin and you will know that yoghurt in mini plastic containers is about as natural as tuna that comes in a can (honestly......Charlie the tuna did not grow up in a can!)

And above all, let us never forget (a) that truly fine yoghurt must be sour (you can sweeten it by yourself if you like with a variety of additives); (b) truly fine yoghurt is thick and neither drinkable nor runny and © some of the finest yoghurts are made not from cow's milk but from that of goats and sheep.

Ye faithful curmudgeon

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And above all, let us never forget (a) that truly fine yoghurt must be sour (you can sweeten it by yourself if you like with a variety of additives); (b) truly fine yoghurt is thick and neither drinkable nor runny and © some of the finest yoghurts are made not from cow's milk but from that of goats and sheep.
i dont know how "caspian yogurt" is defined then. it is not sour. and it is runny. maybe it is not a truly fine yoghurt. but its tasty anyway.

its pros are that it is not sour and that it can be made at room temperature. the con is that it is pretty hard to find.

in the <a href="http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=86566">flavored yogurts in japan</a> thread, specifically posts 8-12 talk briefly about caspian sea yogurt.

"Bibimbap shappdy wappdy wap." - Jinmyo
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True Greek yogurt is made from sheep's milk and then strained to remove some of the whey and thus thicken it. Greek 'style' yogurt can be made by simply straining ordinary yogurt in a cheese cloth, muslin or clean tea towel for a couple of hours - leave it over night and you'll have soft cheese.

As to sweetening it, one of my favourites is to stir in some jam - preferably home made jam, full of 'fruity bits'. The more jam you stir in, the sweeter, and the fruitier, it will be.

And making your own yogurt is about the easiest thing you can do in the kitchen (well, apart from eat it that is :wink: - the yogurt that is, not the kitchen ...)

edited - because eating one's kitchen is pretty much impossible

Edited by pigeonpie (log)

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.

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  • 11 years later...

In Israel they have a product that is soured milk. It is sold like yogurt, in small containers of about one cup. Many people just punch a hole in the top of the container and drink it. There are two types, one called "Eshel" and the other is called "Gil." The difference is in the fat content, with Eshel having a higher fat content. @shain might be able to weigh in here about this. It is a staple in Israel, my guess is that thousands of containers of this stuff are consumed a day, and I'm not exaggerating. Anyway, Gil was one of my favorite things in the world, I just loved it. For years I thought it was yogurt, until a friend informed me that it was just sour milk, there was no fermentation or bacteria or other things that make yogurt yogurt. I thought she was pulling my leg, but she usually knew about this stuff. (She grew up on a farm.) Anyway, it didn't deter me at all, I still loved it and ate it, a lot of it. Haven't thought about it in ages, and I never thought it was actually made with milk that was going bad. And I think that's what I don't understand about this. At what point is it "Gil," or soured milk, and what is the tipping point? If you're trying to make it deliberately, and not just trying to salvage milk that is getting a bit too old to use, what would you do? (Short of going to Israel to buy some Eshel or Gil.) 

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@cakewalk What you're describing is 'leben'. Eshel and Gil are brand names (there was a time in Israel when for some reason it was common to give names to commercial dairy products, from hard cheeses to puddings, many stuck to this day).
Those days very few eat leben as is, since yogurt became much more popular. It is still extensively used for cooking, in fact I have it right now on my shopping list. 
It differs from yogurt by the fermentation process, which if I recall correctly, is done at a lower temperature. The resulting flavor is more akin to sour cream and buttermilk, but with the thickness of yogurt. I find it to be more savory.

 

Edited by shain (log)
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~ Shai N.

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