How is it made?
Yogurt is believed to have originated thousands of years ago in Eastern Europe and Asia. However, it only began to increase in popularity in other parts of the world during the twentieth century, when suggestions were made about the health benefits of including yogurt in the diet.
Today, yogurt is consumed all over the world, both on its own, or as an ingredient in other foods. Consumers can choose from a wide variety of plain, flavoured and fruit yogurts.
To make yogurt, milk is firstly heated to around 80°C. Heating makes sure any unwanted bacteria are killed, and it also helps to change the structure of the milk proteins, allowing them to set smoothly.
After heating, the milk is cooled (to around 45°C), and specially prepared bacteria called ‘starter’ cultures are added. The milk is kept at this temperature for approximately 4 to 7 hours to allow it to ferment. Fermentation involves the harmless bacteria converting the milk sugar (called lactose) into lactic acid which helps to coagulate and set the milk, producing yogurt.
When the yogurt is fermented, it is packed into containers and chilled to be sold to consumers.
To find out what nutrients yogurt contains check out the dairy nutrition section.