Milk and milk derived products are the important part of our daily menu for many and one of the main constituents of what we say “A perfect balanced diet”. Cheese, butter, curd, cream….The list of dairy products is everlasting which are made differently and thus taste differently in different parts of the world. One such product is yogurt which is becoming popular across the globe. It is a main constituent of an authentic Greek recipe and almost all Greek delicacies. It is a thick, creamy and importantly a product which can be used in any kind of dish. Be it some snack or main course or some dessert, the incorporation of GREEK YOGURT in them definitely makes it mouth watering. Calling it “the heart of the three course Greek meal” wouldn’t be an exaggeration but a full fledged fact.
One might get an idea that it is a specialty of Greek and so is the name Greek yogurt but actually the method of preparation itself differs from the normal yogurt. Though both require some specific strain of bacteria to be introduced in the milk for fermentation process, the only differences in case of Greek yogurt is that the mixture is put in cheesecloth to drain out the excess liquid (like in preparation of cheese we separate the whey) and that it happens to undergo three strain processes rather than two. Thus Greek yogurt is thicker than any other yogurt.
Now because the whey is drained, the Greek yogurt is certainly thicker, creamier and richer in its nutritional value. It is a rich source of protein, has lesser sugar, lesser carbohydrate content, lesser saturated fats and lesser sodium as compared to regular yogurt.
The various benefits of yogurt are:
· The beneficial bacteria in it improve digestion.
· It fights intestinal infections and other infections as it improves immunity system.
· The low sugar content makes it consumable by diabetic patients (Greek yogurt only).
· The low sodium content doesn’t account for any problem in case of blood pressure patients. In fact it is believed to lower blood pressure (Greek yogurt only).
· The low fat versions help in reducing weight and unnecessary flab hanging out of your body and make you fit.
· It is rich in vitamins and proteins.
Although the regular yogurt has more calcium content than the Greek yogurt, because the whey that is drained takes away the calcium, the overall nutritional value is less. One more disadvantage of using regular yogurt is that it curdles when used in dishes being cooked at high temperatures. The dish needs to be brought to room temperature first to add yogurt but the Greek yogurt can be added to any dish at any temperature without the possibility of curdling.
The top brands of Greek yogurt popular in US are Oikos, Dannon, and Brown cow, Lucerne, Chobani, Fage and The Greek God. Flavoured and fat free versions of Greek yogurt are also available in the market.
So, try flavouring your recipe with Greek yogurt which would make it look better, taste better and work better.