International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Yoğurt

Yogurt cultured milk

(Turkish cultured milk)

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Yogurt is the main dairy product in the diets of peoples stretching in a wide arc from North Africa through the Mediterranean, Middle East, Eastern Europe and Caucasus on into the Indian subcontinent. It is a favored form of milk for many cultures as it is easily digested, is a good source of protein, holds well and has probiotic qualities.

The word yogurt comes from the Turkish word for "thick."

Makes 2 pints

Ingredients

  • Milk, nonfat, lowfat or whole -- 4 cups
  • Plain yogurt with active cultures -- 2 tablespoons

Method

  1. Place two a heat-proof, glass pint jars in a large pot and cover them with water. Set the pot over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to very low and simmer, leaving the jars in the water to sterilize them while you prepare the milk.
  2. Bring the milk just below a boil (about 180 to190º F) over medium heat in a medium-sized saucepan. Remove from heat and cool to precisely 110ºF.
  3. Using clean utensils, whisk the yogurt into the scalded milk. Remove the sterilized jars from the simmering water and set them on a countertop. Pour the scalded milk into the jars and seal the jars with tight fitting lids.
  4. Set the jars in a warm, protected place for 6 to 8 hours to allow the milk to culture and thicken. There are a couple ways to do this:
    • Place the yogurt in a gas oven with a lit pilot light.
    • Wrap the jars with several bath towels to insulate them and keep them warm for as long as possible.

    IMPORTANT: Do not disturb the yogurt during this time or it may fail to thicken.

  5. Once the yogurt has thickened, refrigerate and store for up to 2 weeks.

Yogurt Notes and Variations

  • Greek or Bulgarian-Style Strained Yogurt: Strain the finished yogurt in a cheesecloth or coffee filter-lined sieve for several hours in the refrigerator to drain away excess liquid.
  • Whole milk produces a creamier, milder, more full flavored yogurt that works better as an ingredient in recipes requiring heat.
  • Yogurt can be made out of milk from goats, sheep, buffalo, horses or even camels.
  • Instead of pint jars, the yogurt can be placed in the containers of a commercial yogurt maker, following their directions. Alternatively, after whisking the culture into the scalded milk, place the liquid into a thermos large enough to hold it all. After the yogurt has thickened overnight, transfer it to clean glass jars.
  • When dishing out yogurt, always use very clean utensils. The yogurt will stay fresh much longer this way.
  • Other names for yogurt:
    • Arabic: laban
    • Bulgaria: iogurt
    • Greece: yiaourt, or yaourt
    • India: dahi
    • Iran: mast

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