Yogurt Types Chart
This interactive chart represents distinct yogurt types with different colors. The paths represent the process that milk goes through. For more detail hover over the chart. For more information, scroll down.
Yogurt or yoghurt is a fermented dairy product that is made by the bacterial fermentation of milk.
It is produced by adding a specific combination of bacteria, typically Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, to milk.
These bacteria convert lactose, the natural sugar present in milk, into lactic acid through fermentation.
The lactic acid produced during fermentation gives yogurt its tangy taste and thick, creamy texture.
The fermentation process also creates a favorable environment for the growth of beneficial bacteria known as probiotics, which can have potential health benefits for the digestive system.
It is available in a wide range of flavors and varieties, including plain, flavored, sweetened, and unsweetened options.
Yogurt Making Process
The process of making yogurt involves fermenting milk with live bacteria cultures. Here is a summarized explanation of the yogurt-making process:
- Ingredients: These include milk and a yogurt starter culture. The starter culture can be a small amount of plain yogurt containing live active cultures or specific yogurt starter cultures available in stores.
- Boil: Heat the milk gently over medium heat until it reaches a temperature of about 180°F (82°C). Heating the milk helps to denature the proteins and kill any existing bacteria.
- Cooling: Allow the milk to cool. This can be done by letting it sit at room temperature or by placing the pot in a cold water bath.
- Inoculation: Add the yogurt starter cultures. Add a small amount of the yogurt starter culture to the milk. The starter culture contains bacteria such as Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, which initiate the fermentation process. Stir gently to distribute the culture evenly.
- Incubation: Maintain optimal conditions for fermentation. Transfer the milk and culture mixture to a clean container or individual serving jars. The fermentation process requires a warm and stable environment, ideally, temperature varies.
- Fermentation: Allow the yogurt to ferment. The fermentation process takes different times depending on the desired thickness and tanginess of the yogurt. During this time, the bacteria consume the lactose in the milk and produce lactic acid, which gives yogurt its characteristic tangy flavor and thick texture. This process is divided into Temperature and Duration on the chart above.
- Refrigeration: Chill the yogurt. Once the fermentation is complete, refrigerate the yogurt for a few hours or overnight to cool it completely. Cooling helps to set the yogurt and improve its texture.
Types of Yogurt
As mentioned before, the chart above was made based on the process of making each type of yogurt.
It does not include milk origin, depending on the region and preference. Nevertheless, the process can be repeated with different kinds of milk (goat, cow, sheep).
The cultures are usually the same and are also not included. In the "Extras" section, you can see some cultures, but these are specific to a yogurt type.
Once yogurts are prepared, they have different nutritional values, flavors, acidity, and more.
The pyramid to the right shows how each type differs in consistency.
Yogurt flavor may also differ in additives like fruit and sugar. These are also not included in the chart, as they are added after the yogurt is made.
There are other varieties, but they are very close to those mentioned here.
Generic, Regular, or Traditional Yogurt
This is the yogurt you will find in supermarkets and it follows the basic process described previously.
Its origins are mainly European.
Greek yogurt or strained yogurt is not really Greek. It was given that name because it was introduced by a Greek company. Source: Epicurious.
Strained yogurt is widely eaten in Eastern Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Central Asian, South Asian, and Eastern European cuisines.
Its thicker consistency is because it has been strained to remove most of its whey, resulting in a thicker consistency than normal unstrained yogurt. Nevertheless, it still preserves the distinctive sour taste of yogurt.
It has a higher protein content and a tangy flavor. Greek yogurt is often used in cooking, baking, or as a base for dips and sauces.
Acid whey, the liquid remaining after milk has been curdled and strained, is a by-product of Greek yogurt.
Acid whey is also a by-product of making cream cheese and Quark, a dairy product made by heating acidified milk and straining the curds.
Skyr is a traditional Icelandic yogurt that is similar to Greek yogurt but has an even thicker and creamier texture.
As seen on the chart, it is made by fermenting skim milk with specific strains of bacteria.
Skyr is technically classified as a cheese thanks to the rennet but is enjoyed more like yogurt in both sweet and savory dishes.
Skyr is known for its high protein content and is often enjoyed with toppings like fruit or granola.
Besides the common cultures, it is not rare that skyr has Lactococcus spp & Lactobacillus casei. Source: Skyr.
Kefir is a fermented milk drink that has a distinct taste.
It is believed to have originated in the Caucasus Mountains of Eastern Europe.
Unlike generic yogurt, Kefir is made by adding kefir grains, which are a combination of bacteria and yeast cultures.
Kefir is known for its probiotic properties and is considered beneficial for gut health. It contains a wide range of bacteria and yeasts that can help support a healthy gut microbiome.
Kefir can be consumed on its own as a refreshing beverage or used as an ingredient in smoothies, salad dressings, or baked goods. It is often enjoyed chilled and may be flavored with fruits, honey, or spices to enhance its taste.
Labneh is frequently used in Mediterranean cuisine. It is common in Levant, which includes modern-day Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, and Israel.
It is made from fermented milk (plain yogurt) strained for several hours to remove all the moisture.
Labneh is thicker than Greek yogurt.
Its consistency is similar to whipped cream cheese. Labneh can be consumed raw or cooked into dishes. It's also packed with protein and gut-healthy probiotics. Tasting table.
Lassi is a yogurt beverage with a smoothie-like consistency.
It is an Indian yogurt quite popular in the Punjab region, common as a chilled beverage in the summer months.
Compared to regular yogurt, Lassi is fermented at a lower temperature and for a longer period of time.
Once prepared it is diluted in water. It is commonly blended with cumin, rose water, mint, fruits, cardamom, or saffron. Lassi.
Doogh is a cold, fizzy, and savory yogurt based drink that is popular in Iran. Dooh is very similar to Aryan.
The main difference between generic yogurt and Doogh is that Doogh has salt and water added.
On the chart above, the water is added after inoculation, but when the water and salt are added may differ depending on the producer. Sorce: Doogh..
The fermentation time is also longer, this results in the fizz that Doogh drinkers love.
There is a shortcut to this process. You can combine Kefir and carbonated water to get the same result. Doogh.
The origins of yogurt can be traced back thousands of years, although the exact time and place of its discovery are not definitively known. It is believed that yogurt was first made by ancient civilizations in the Middle East or Central Asia.
One of the earliest recorded mentions of yogurt-like products comes from ancient Mesopotamia, which encompassed present-day Iraq, Syria, and parts of Iran and Turkey.
The Sumerians, who lived in Mesopotamia around 5,000 BCE, made a fermented milk product similar to yogurt.
The nomadic people of Central Asia, such as the Turks, Mongols, and Scythians, are often credited with the discovery and popularization of yogurt.
They relied on their herds of animals for sustenance and discovered that storing milk in animal skins or pouches led to fermentation, resulting in a thicker, more easily digestible product.
Traditional Central Asian drinks called "ayran" and "kumis" are considered precursors to yogurt. Ayran is a yogurt-based beverage made by diluting yogurt with water and adding salt.
Ayran is very similar to Doogh. While kumis is a fermented drink made from mare's milk.
These beverages are still consumed in Central Asia and the Middle East today.
The Turks played a significant role in spreading yogurt-making techniques. They cultivated yogurt-making skills and passed them down through generations. Turkish cuisine includes a variety of yogurt-based dishes and desserts.
In ancient Indian culture, yogurt has been a part of the Ayurvedic tradition for thousands of years. It is considered a cooling food with digestive properties and is used in various culinary preparations and medicinal remedies.
While the exact origins of yogurt remain somewhat mysterious, it is clear that yogurt has been consumed and appreciated for its taste, nutritional benefits, and health properties by ancient civilizations.
Resources for Yogurt Types
The main reference to make this graph is this fun video I found on Youtube Adam can't cook.
Made by Luz K. Molina with Observable hq.