The many faces of yogurt

Rebecca Branson of Bozeman likes making her own yogurt. “It’s much less expensive to make it yourself,” said Branson, a stay-at-home mom. “Plus, I know exactly what goes into it.”

Not everyone has the time to measure, cook and monitor the temperature of their milk as it is turned into yogurt with the addition of healthy bacteria. For those who buy their yogurt, there are plenty to choose from.

Eating yogurt used to be easy — simply pick your favorite flavor, stir and eat. These days yogurt culture is changing and going global. There are a variety of flavors, forms and textures to choose from.

“I’m a yogurt snob,” Branson admits. “When I do buy it, I want the best. Lately that means honey-flavored Greek yogurt. It is absolutely heavenly.”

Yogurt is full of calcium, protein and other nutrients, making it a healthy snack or side dish. But, its image and popularity as a healthy food stems primarily from the presence of “live and active cultures,” specifically of S. thermophilus and L. bulgaricus, in the yogurt. They make milk into yogurt and yogurt good for you.

Not sure what the difference between Greek and Swiss yogurt is? Read on to become a yogurt snob in your own right.

Types of yogurt
# Lowfat and nonfat— Yogurt is made at three general levels of fac content: regular, lowfat and nonfat. Yogurt made from whole milk has at least 3.25 percent milk fat. Lowfat yogurt is made from lowfat milk or part-skim milk and has between 2 and 0.5 percent milk fat. Nonfat yogurt, made from skim milk, contains less than 0.5 percent milk fat.
# Light— Light has a third fewer calories or a 50 percent reduction in fat from regular yogurt.
# Swiss or custard (blended)— Fruit and yogurt are mixed together for individual servings. To ensure firmness or body, a stabilizer, such as gelatin, may be added.
# Sundae or fruit-on-the-bottom— Fruit is on the bottom so that, turned upside-down, it looks like a sundae. Mix the fruit and yogurt together to make it smooth and creamy.
# Greek— Greek yogurt has an exceptionally smooth and creamy texture when compared to regular yogurt. This is because of the removal of whey by a straining process. Greek yogurt is higher in protein, lower in sugar, and lower in lactose than regular yogurt.
# Icelandic— Dense nutrient-packed, Icelandic yogurt is so thoroughly strained it can be classified as a soft cheese.
# Soy— This nondairy alternative is made from soy milk.
# Cream-top— Made with unhomogenized milk, a layer of cream rises to the top, forming a rich yogurt cream.
# Kefir— A drinkable, fermented dairy product.
# Liquid yogurt or smoothie— Yogurt that has been thinned to make it drinkable and blended with fruit, fruit juice or other flavorings.

Healthy Montana (Great Falls Tribune) September 9, 2010

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