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What you need to know about yogurt

Natural Graham's Yogurt

It’s the perfect snack. It works at breakfast time, makes an ideal addition to a lunchbox and can be a relatively guilt-free dessert in the evening too. What are we talking about? The humble yogurt, of course. Except that at Grahams we don’t think it is all that humble. In fact, we think yogurt is pretty amazing. That’s why we’ve written this blog to tell you all you need to know about this natural wonder that forms such an important part of our range.

Where does yogurt originally come from?

The name yogurt (you’ll also see the spelling yoghurt but we use the Dairy Council’s spelling of the name) originally comes from Turkish. As to the product itself though, all we can be sure of is that it’s been enjoyed across many cultures since ancient times – including in what are now India, Greece, Turkey and Central Asia. In fact, it’s believed that people may have been eating yogurt since as far back as 5000 BCE!

How has the way we enjoy yogurt changed over the years?

The ancient Greeks enjoyed a dish called Oxygala, which is believed to have been yogurt. They liked it served with honey – something that many people still do to this day.

Yogurt is a source of protein, which is important for muscle repair and growth and this is something that may have been grasped by Genghis Khan in medieval times. His all-conquering Mongol horde apparently used yogurt as a staple part of their diet.

Moving out of the Middle Ages , there came to be a realisation that yogurt could have an impact on digestive health too. The French King Francis I is said to have been suffering from gastrointestinal problems that none of his own physicians could remedy. He was allied to the Ottoman Emperor Suleiman the Magnificent though, who sent one of his own doctors to attend to Francis. The doctor ‘prescribed’ yogurt and Francis’s problems cleared up. Was it the yogurt? We shall never know – and we do recommend that you always consult a doctor about any medical problems!

Yogurt’s potential as a savoury dish was also being explored. Akbar, the Indian Emperor, was said to have had his chefs prepare yogurt mixed with mustard and cinnamon for him.

What about the way we often enjoy yogurt nowadays? With a tangy fruit flavour? Well, the first patent for yogurt being packaged together with fruit jam was issued in 1933 to a dairy in Prague, in what was then Czechoslovakia and is now the Czech Republic (or Czechia if you prefer).

How is yogurt made?

The actual chemical process behind the production of yogurt remains much the same now as it always has been. When you add friendly bacteria to milk, they ferment the sugar (called lactose) that is naturally found in milk. This process produces lactic acid, a substance that acts on the protein in the milk. The effect of this is to cause the thickening that gives yogurt its distinctive consistency. Once the yogurt has cooled, it can be flavoured however you prefer.

How do we like to enjoy yogurt?

At Graham’s The Family Dairy we’re huge fans of this versatile food. We like to blend it into a delicious and nutritious smoothie. Because we make such a range of yogurt flavours it gives a lot of options in terms of the smoothie combinations that can be created. Our website has lots of smoothie ideas.

When we’re feeling a little bit naughty though then we can’t resist using yogurt in a sumptuous cake recipe, like this Peach Yogurt Cake by Flora Shedden. Of course, our range of yogurts are also delicious when enjoyed on their own or with the addition of granola or fresh fruit.