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Yogurt


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I used to make yogurt. But then I also used to make miso. Now I just buy both.

I've never done much with yogurt in Indian style cooking except raitta and sometimes with a chicken dish.

I should use it more.

Suvir, what's your favourite way to use yogurt?

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Besides raita and lassis, I've used yogurt in sauces, birianis and for marinating meat. I read somewhere that yogurt in India is often made from high-fat buffalo milk. What does this taste like and how different is it from North American yogurt? Does it give a different taste to the dishes - i.e., if you made two batches of kadhi, one using buffalo milk yogurt and another using a North American brand what would be the distinguishing flavour that would tell them apart?

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You know a lot of Indian cookery teachers and cook book authors have said things to the effect that Indian home made yogurt is made with richer water buffalo milk, but what they fail to point out sadly enough is that the end result, for whatever reason, our home made yogurt in India is much lighter than what we find in America.

While home made yogurt in India sets nicely, the minute you have broken into it it shakes slightly like gello would.  And separates into water and yogurt.  The American version does  the same but is much thicker or more together.  In fact American yogurt has an unnatural texture about it compared with the very light and real feeling I get from eating and looking at Indian home made and set yogurt.

While I do not have answers tested and tried by people that have studied each of these cultures, people in the field of selling yogurt and foods in India and here have told me that the higher temperatures at which we process milk in America makes it lead to a very different kind of ingredient from which of make milk by products.  Others have said that we leave very little cream in our whole milk.  SO these are all stories I have heard.

Fact in my book, yogurt here is thick and glue-y while in India yogurt is very soft and fragile.  Yogurt here before you break it can almost hold its shape even as you upturn the yogurt container, in India yogurt would break even with gentle shaking since it is very delicate.  The yogurt here has a very elastic and cheese like quality  that unnerves me.. and in India the yogurt is simply a very delicate coming together of milk fats and cheese that stay together in some very delicate togetherness.  There is no elasticity to it.  The taste is sweet and yet with a very typical tang associated with yogurt.  OUr yogurt in America is very sweet and that is it.  It does not have the flavor that Indian yogurt has.

Kadhi (yogurt and chickpea flour sauce) made with Indian yogurt is far more tangy and yogurt like in flavor.  We also use sour yogurt in India for Kadhi.  In the US, by the time the yogurt gets sour, it starts getting mold.  Strange.

I make a lot of meats and sauces with yogurt.  I bake cakes with yogurt and I also substitute yogurt for heavy cream and milk in some cream sauces.  I love yogurt for its healthy qualities and for t he fact that it is easier for the body to digest.

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I would think the yogurt would have to have a very high fat content to be an effective substitute for cream in cream sauces,otherwise it would curdle and split.

I've always been dubious about yogurt's claim to being a "health food" . Eating a pot of yogurt may not be as unhealthy as eating a pot of cream.but that's not the same as having health giving qualities.Most yogurt consumed in the West is of the flavoured varieties and are as packed with additives,colourings and sweetners as any other junk food.

Some producers of yogurt products make quite extravagant claims on the health front. Can they be justified?

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Tony, as far as I know the "healthy" thing about yogurt is that it contains acidolphus, a bacteria that is good for your guts. About 5 lbs of your bodyweight is flora and fauna that help to digest food and other useful things.

I don't think that caramel flavoured or sickly peach jam yogurts are even alive anymore though. But I don't know.

I like plain Greek yogurt. But only for, as I've said, raiita and some sauces.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Jinmyo you are right about the bacteria and gut part.  That is exactly why we eat it in India. IN fact we do not necessarily have yogurt with stuff in it (raita) but often it is eaten plain with a sprinkling of sugar and that is the end to most meals. For the reason you highlight, to ensure healthy bacteria in the stomach to aid in digestion.

For substituting yogurt in cream sauces, we do it in a clever way.. adding it few tablespoons at a time and letting the liquid evaporate before adding more.. and doing that, you avoid the risk of curdling.  I often also hang yogurt and that gets rid of a lot of the extra moisture that can curdle the sauce.  There is another trick or two to avoid the curdling and in the end it is a much lighter sauce than cream.

In India we pasteurize at a lower temprature I am told.  And in many smaller villages and communities, you may end up having milk and yogurt and paneer (indian cheese) that is made with milk that is non pasteurised.  But I am no expert on this topic.  Maybe someone else here can tell us about the many details that make dairy products so different in different countries.

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Hm. Hanging yogurt to drain makes yogurt "cheese". Still quite "sour" (nicely so) compared to paneer. I wonder what the differences are.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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For artisanal yogurt in the states, we rely on Ronnybrook. Active cultures and thickness completely dependent on what the cows ate that day. And there is a Ronny. Don't know about the Brook.

I just made pastry dough using Ronnybrook keffir instead of shortening.

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Suvir, I've never cooked with yogurt cheese. Have just folded minced herbs into it as a spread. I'll try it in a sauce.

Liza, I'm continually amazed at the wonderful resources available to you in NYC.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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For artisanal yogurt in the states, we rely on Ronnybrook. Active cultures and thickness completely dependent on what the cows ate that day. And there is a Ronny. Don't know about the Brook.

I just made pastry dough using Ronnybrook keffir instead of shortening.

Liza,

Other than the fact that its from goats, how would you compare Coach Farms yogurt to Ronnybrook?  Also, wouldn't you consider Coach Farms artisanal?

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  • 6 months later...

I like to make my own. I actually brought back some earthern pots from India on my last visit. I will occassionally use the store made version.. when I am desparate for time! I have a friend who uses a silver coin to set her yogurt.. I have yet to see how she does it, when I find out I will post more about it!

Monica Bhide

A Life of Spice

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I like to make my own. I actually brought back some earthern pots from India on my last visit. I will occassionally use the store made version.. when I am desparate for time!  I have a friend who uses a silver coin to set her yogurt.. I have yet to see how she does it, when I find out I will post more about it!

Looking forward to reading more about that.

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