History of Dairy Products: Yogurt

About the dairy product yogurt, variety of it around the world, nutritional and health benefits, recipe to make your own.

YOGURT

If there is such a thing as a wonder food, yogurt would surely earn that name. Popular the world over, it is known by many different names. In Armenia, it is matzoon, in Egypt leben raib. The Russians, who eat it with black bread, call it varenetz, and in Yugoslavia, where there are hundreds of centenarians, and where it is sold on street stands as ice cream is sold in other countries, it is known as kisselo mleko. Associated everywhere with long life, yogurt is nutritionally superior to ordinary milk in many ways. Perhaps yogurt and other fermented milks are the answer to the question of the suitability of milk for adults. In fact in many parts of the world, this is the only form in which milk is consumed. The protein in yogurt is partially predigested and the lactic acid has dissolved some of the calcium. Thus the protein and calcium are more easily absorbed during digestion, which is a tremendous help for sick people and babies. The bacteria in yogurt, by breaking down milk sugar into lactic acid, create an atmosphere in which gas and putrefaction cannot live. Furthermore these wonderful bacteria can synthesize the entire group of B vitamins in the intestines!

The benefits of yogurt are almost limitless. It is particularly valuable when an individual develops the fungus Monilia albicans. This fungus grows not only in the intestines but also in the mouth or the vagina, where it is known as thrush. If one to 3 cups of yogurt are eaten daily, this infection clears up quickly. Yogurt also aids the digestion of iron. Have you ever tried yogurt as a face mask? Its soothing astringent qualities are a help to oily skin.

Yogurt is easy to make at home; it is the "natural" pasteurization of milk. Here's a simple way to make it, if you don't have a yogurt maker. Heat fresh milk to "hand hot," about 90 deg. to 110 deg. Add nonfat dry milk at this point, if you want extra nutrients. To this very warm milk, add about 3 tablespoons of yogurt (for one quart of milk). Be sure it is real yogurt; stir it into the milk and pour it all at once into a wide-mouthed thermos jar. Cover it tightly and let it stand overnight. Next morning, the yogurt is thick and creamy; uncap it and refrigerate it right away. If the milk isn't thickened after standing overnight, there can be several reasons. The cow may have been treated with penicillin, which destroys the bacteria and prevents the yogurt from thickening. Or the fault might lie with your starter. But chances are, you'll make delicious yogurt. Be sure to save a couple of table-spoons to start your next batch.

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