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What is Yogurt
Yogurt is a semisolid, fermented food composed of milk products to which cultures of Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophiles have been added. In most modernized industry, concentrated sterilized milk and milk solids are blended with bacteria, usually Lactobacillus acidophilus or a lactose fermenting yeast. The mixture is then incubated for four to five hours at 110-112 degrees Fahrenheit until curd forms. After which, various flavourings may be added.
For many years, the health benefits of yogurt have been well documented. Our body needs to have a healthy amount of good bacteria. Yogurt is very rich in nutrients such as calcium, protein, magnesium and Vitamin B. Yogurt containing live bacteria has been found to be effective at reducing the occurrence of antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Yogurt can burn fat and makes one feel fuller thus a good choice for those who want to lose weight. A study was done comparing consumption of low-fat yogurt with gelatin placebo and revealed that low-fat yogurt can promote weight loss. All age group can benefit from yogurt. It is a good source of both macro- and micronutrients. Individuals whose colon is more sensitive, especially the young and the old, yogurt is a valuable choice. Yogurt may also help prevent osteoporosis owing to its high calcium content. Many yogurt nowadays are also fortified with Vitamin D, doubling its effect. They also decrease the risk of high blood pressure. Yogurt changes the microflora of the gut and enhances the body’s immune system thus is helpful in patients with colon cancer, lactose intolerance constipation, diarrhea and inflammatory bowel disease. For diabetic patients, yogurt with active cultures discourages vaginal infections by lowering vaginal pH making it hard for candida or yeast to thrive. Overall, the health benefits of yogurt are extensive and impressive that makes many health conscious people their favourite.
Yogurt can be eaten at any time of the day. It can be taken during breakfast straight out from the box or perhaps as a topping for your all time favourite pancake. It can also be taken as your mid-afternoon snack or midnight snack topped with fruits. Yogurt is also a flexible ingredient in a variety of recipes ranging from appetizers for salad dressings and dips to desserts. Low fat plain yogurt can be a very good alternative for mayonnaise, oil, butter and cream. Not only that yogurt is less fattening and healthier, this also adds moisture, flavour and volume. Surprisingly, yogurt’s acid can be used to tenderize meat by marinating. When heated, yogurt separates. Even so, this can still be used in hot dishes. Just mix a little cornstarch into yogurt then stir gently into your dishes at the end of the cooking period. Like all dairy products, yogurt is perishable so proper storage is important.
Below is a sample recipe for homemade yogurt.
- 1 quart low fat milk (you may use high fat content milk for a smoother and creamier yogurt)
- 1/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder
- ¼ cup yogurt with active culture
- 1 teaspoon unflavoured gelatin (optional)
- Double boiler or saucepan
- Clean containers with lid
- In a large bowl, place in active culture yogurt.
- Add dry milk powder. Add gelatin if you wish to have a thicker yogurt, then mix with a small amount of milk.
- Heat the mixture to 110 degrees Fahrenheit in a saucepan or double boiler.
- Slowly add the rest of the warmed milk to the mixture then stir well.
- Cover the bowl and place the mixture in a heating pad or a warm spot in the kitchen. Leave for 6-8 hours or until set. Use a thermometer to make sure the temperature stays at 100 degrees.
- When set, refrigerate the yogurt for 8 hours.
- You may add fruit/s or flavourings before eating.
- To sweeten, add 2-4 tsp honey or sugar.
To make the yogurt drinkable, you may add more milk after the yogurt is done.
To make yogurt cheese, drain yogurt in a strainer lined with cheesecloth. Cover the entire bowl, yogurt and strainer with a cloth and leave overnight. The next day, drain the liquid in the bowl. Place a weight on the cheese and cover again. Leave for another 8 hours. Wrap cheese and refrigerate.
Banana Yogurt Cake
- 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
- 3/4 cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 medium)
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ground cinnamon. Stir with a whisk.
- Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.
- In another bowl, combine yogurt, banana, oil, vanilla extract and egg. Stir until well blended.
- Add the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture. Stir until moist.
- Coat the 9-inch square metal baking pan with cooking spray.
- Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean,
- Cool cake in the pan for 10 minutes.
- Serve with whipped topping.
Kefir vs Yogurt
Kefir Yogurt is another healthy option. Kefir is similar to yogurt but tangier and yeasty. It is a fermented food made from milk, full of probiotics. Both are awesome foods but the Kefir on the other hand actually colonizes our intestines. Kefir is more digestible than yogurt. Kefir is easier to make but needs longer hours (24-28 hours) as compared with yogurt (7-10 hours). Kefir is said to be more more beneficial than yogurt.
Kefir Frozen Yogurt Recipe
- 1 cup yogurt
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 cup of half and half
- 1 bottle of milk kefir
- In a pot, combine yogurt, half and half with sugar and bring it to near boil,
- Stir to dissolve the sugar.
- Add egg yolk to the half and half-sugar mixture. Whisk slowly.
- Add 1 bottle of milk kefir to the mixture and mix well.
- Cover the mixture and cool it in the fridge for 5-10 minutes.
- When the yogurt mixture is cool, pour the mixture into the ice cream maker.
- The frozen yogurt should be ready in 15-20 minutes.
- Serve with fresh chopped fruits, sweet treats or nuts.