Yoghurt and Cream

  • Post last modified:6 July 2023
  • Reading time:15 mins read
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Yogurt or yogurt is a dairy product produced by the bacterial fermentation of milk. Fermentation of the milk sugar ( lactose) produces lactic acid, which acts on milk protein to give yogurt its texture and its characteristic tang. Yogurt can be made from sheep, cows, goats, or even Soya milk (called soy yogurt).

The word “yogurt” comes from the Turkish yoğurt. The word is derived from the adjective yoğun, which means “dense” and “thick”, or from the verb yoğurmak, meaning “to knead”. Originally, the verb may have meant “to make sense”, which is how yogurt is made.

Yogurt is made by introducing specific bacteria strains into milk, which is subsequently fermented under controlled temperatures and environmental conditions (inside a bioreactor), especially in industrial production. The bacteria ingest natural milk sugars and release lactic acid as a waste product. The increased acidity causes milk proteins to tangle into a solid mass (curd in a process called denaturation). The increased acidity (pH=4–5) also prevents the proliferation of potentially pathogenic bacteria. Pasteurized products, which have no living bacteria, are called fermented milk (drink).

Nutritional Value

Natural whole-milk yogurt has a similar nutritional value to whole-boiled milk, being rich in protein and minerals, especially calcium and phosphorus. Low-fat and fat-free yogurts are made from skimmed milk powder; they have a slightly higher carbohydrate and protein content than whole milk yogurts. The bonus is that protein, calcium, and phosphorus are more easily absorbed from yogurt than from milk as they are partially digested during the fermentation process.

Yogurt can help restore the digestive tract to its normal condition after a course of antibiotics, which are liable to indiscriminately destroy all intestinal bacteria, both good and bad.

Yoghurt also has medical uses, in particular for a variety of gastrointestinal conditions and in preventing antibiotic-associated diarrhea.

Varieties of Yoghurts

There are different varieties of yogurts. Some commonly used yogurt are discussed below:

Strained Yoghurt

Strained yogurt is yogurt that has been strained in a cloth or paper bag or filter, traditionally made of muslin, to remove the whey, giving a consistency between that of yogurt and cheese, while preserving yogurt’s distinctive sour taste. It is a traditional food in the Middle East and South Asia, where it is often used in cooking, as it is high enough in fat not to curdle at higher temperatures. Like many yogurts, strained yogurt is often made from milk that has been enriched by boiling off some of the water content, or by adding extra butterfat and powdered milk.

Strain yogurt is used in both savory and sweet dishes, both cooked and raw. In the Middle East and South Asia, it is often used to enrich savory sauces, as it does not curdle when cooked like unstrained yogurt. It is used raw in savory sauces and dips and sweet desserts.

Types of Strained Yoghurt

  • Greek Strained Yoghurt: Greek yogurt is traditionally made from ewe’s milk; nowadays, cow’s milk is often used, especially in industrial production. Strained yogurt is used in Greek food mostly as a dessert, where honey, sour cherry syrup, spoon sweets, and the like are often served on top. A few savory Greek dishes use strained yogurt.

  • Dahi: Dahi is the yogurt of the Indian subcontinent, known for its characteristic taste and consistency.
    • A typical preparation, a dessert called shrikhand, is made with the yogurt placed in a soft cloth with very fine holes, which is hung to drain for a few hours while all the water drains out. Sugar, saffron, cardamom, diced fruit, and nuts may then be mixed in for taste.

    • A special Indian preparation called raita involves adding grated cucumber or grated bottle gourd and spices. In South India, the preparation involves using tomato, cucumber, onion, spinach, radish, or snake gourd with cashew nuts or poppy seeds ground along with coconut.

    • In South India, it is common for people to eat rice mixed with plain yogurt or buttermilk as the last course of a meal.

    • Dahi chutney (curd, green chilies & onions) is an accompaniment to the popular Hyderabadi biryani.
  • Bulgarian Yoghurt: Bulgarian yogurt commonly consumed plain, is popular for its taste, aroma, and quality. The qualities arise from the Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus culture strains used in Bulgaria. It is also used to prepare Bulgarian milk salad.

  • Levant: Strained yogurt or labneh is popular in the Levant. Besides being used fresh, labneh is also dried then formed into balls, sometimes covered with herbs or spices, and stored in olive oil. Labneh is a popular mezze dish and sandwich ingredient. The flavor depends largely on the sort of milk used: labneh from cow’s milk has a rather milder flavor.

Dadiah or Dadih

Dadiah is a Traditional Minangkabau water buffalo yogurt that is fermented in bamboo containers covered with banana leaves. Dadih is usually eaten for breakfast, mixed with camping (traditional rice krispies) and coconut sugar. Dadih can also be eaten with hot rice and sambal.


Taratur or tartor is a cold soup (or a liquid salad), popular in the summertime in Albania and the Republic of Macedonia. It is made of yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, walnuts, dill, vegetable oil, and water. It is best served chilled or even with ice. The cucumbers may, on very rare occasions, be replaced with lettuce or carrots.

Labneh Yoghurt

Labneh yogurt of Lebanon is a thickened yogurt used for sandwiches. Olive oil, cucumber slices, olives, and various green herbs may be added. It can be thickened further and rolled into balls, preserved in olive oil, and fermented for a few more weeks. It is sometimes used with onions, meat, and nuts as a stuffing for a variety of Lebanese pies or Kebbeh balls.


Rahmjoghurt is a creamy yogurt with a much higher milkfat content (10%) than most yogurts offered in English-speaking countries and is available in Germany and other countries.

Caspian Sea Yoghurt

This yogurt variety, called Matsoni, started with Lactococcus lactis. It has a unique, viscous, honey-like texture. It is milder in taste than other varieties of yogurts. Ideally, Caspian Sea yogurt is made at home because it requires no special equipment or unobtainable culture. It can be made at room temperature (20– 30°C) for 10 to 15 hours.


Jameed is yogurt that is salted and dried to preserve it. It is popular in Palestine and Jordan.


The cream is the fat that rises to the top of whole milk. It has a smooth, satiny texture and is labeled according to its butterfat content (heavy to light).

Creams are usually labeled “pasteurized” or “ultra-pasteurized”. Ultra-pasteurized creams have a longer shelf life than pasteurized creams, but taste is affected (some say it has a cooked flavor). For superior taste, although it can be hard to find, buy ‘pasteurized’ not ‘ultra pasteurized’ cream.

Types of Cream

The cream is made by separating milk into fat-rich cream and almost fat-free (skimmed) milk. This is usually done by centrifugal force. There are many varieties of cream, categorized according to the amount of milk fat in it:

  • Light Cream: Light cream also called coffee or table cream, can contain anywhere from 18 to 30 percent fat, but commonly contains 20 percent. It can not be whipped.

  • Whipping Cream: Whipping cream contains 30 to 36 percent milk fat and sometimes stabilizers and emulsifiers. Whipping cream will double in volume when whipped. Good for fillings but does not hold up well for piping.

  • Whipped Cream: Whipped cream in pressurized cans is a mixture of cream, sugar, stabilizers, emulsifiers, and gas, such as nitrous oxide. It is expanded by the gas into a “puffy” form. Aerosol “dessert toppings,” which are usually made with hydrogenated vegetable oils, have absolutely no cream in them (and don’t taste like cream either).

  • Heavy Cream: Heavy cream also called heavy whipping cream, is a whipping cream with a milk fat content of between 36 and 40 percent. Heavy cream is used for filling and decorating pastries. It’s usually only available in specialty or gourmet markets.

  • Half-and-Half: Half and half is a mixture of equal parts milk and cream and contains 10 to 12 percent milk fat, and can not be whipped. Mainly used in beverages.

  • Single Cream: Single cream has a 20% butterfat content and is used in both sweet and savory cooking.

  • Double (Rich) Cream: Double (rich) cream has a 48% butterfat content and can be whipped and is also used in pies and sauces.

  • Clotted Cream (Devonshire or Devon Cream): Clotted cream is a thick, rich, yellowish cream with a scalded or cooked flavor that is made by heating unpasteurized milk until a thick layer of cream sits on top. The milk is cooled and the layer of cream is skimmed off. Clotted cream has 55-60 percent fat content and is so thick it does not need whipping.

  • Crème Fraîche: Crème is pronounced ‘krem fresh’. It is a thick and smooth heavy cream with a wonderfully rich and velvety texture. This matured cream has a nutty, slightly sour taste produced by culturing pasteurized cream with a special bacteria. The butterfat content varies (usually 30%), as there is no set standard so you will find every brand tastes a little differently. Crème fraîche is used in both sweet and savory dishes. Makes a wonderful topping for fresh berries, cobblers, and puddings.

Storage of Cream

  • All creams, unless ultrapasteurized (briefly heated to 149°C / 300°F and then cooled), are highly perishable and should be kept in the coldest part of the refrigerator.

  • Cream should be kept in the container in which it is delivered.

  • The cream should be kept covered as it easily absorbs smells from other foods, such as onion and fish.

  • Fresh cream should be ordered daily.

  • Tinned cream should be stored in cool, dry ventilated rooms.

  • Frozen cream should only be thawed as required and not refrozen.
Article Reference
  • A.Y.Tamime, R.K.Robinson (1999), Yoghurt: Science and Technology, Woodhead Publishing.

  • International Food Information Service 2005, Dictionary of Food Science and Technology, Blackwell Publishing.

  • Henry Leffmann (2007), Analysis of Milk and Milk Products, Read Books.

  • Joseph A. Kurmann, et al (1992), Encyclopedia of Fermented Fresh Milk Products, Springer.

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