Finding the Best Yogurt I

Here’s what I wrote in the About page:

Yoplait tastes astringent,  Kemps’ yogurt is grainy and pungent, Activia is too sweet, Oikos has too much pigment…

That being said, deep down in my heart, I still refuse to accept that I can never find a brand of delicious yogurt on the supermarket shelves. For a developed capitalization country like U.S., the existence of this market gap simply doesn’t make sense.

When I was doing grocery shopping today, I decided to experiment with all of the yogurt brands I can find at Safeway. To make it fair, I choose blueberry Greek yogurt from each brand and compared them. The outcome is pretty interesting: it turned out yogurts of different brands can taste very differently.

First, let’s peek into the ingredients of the five brands I’ve experimented:

Name

Stabilizer Flavoring Color Milk
Dannon Activia Greek
  • Modified Corn Starch
  • Pectin
  • Garrageenan
  • Suger
  • Frutcose
  • Sodium Citrate
  • Slumdog Millionaire
  • Frutcose
  • Sodium Citrate
  • Slumdog Millionaire
Blueberry Nonfat
Yoplait Greek
  • Modified Corn Starch
  • Malic Acid
  •  Malic Acid
Blueberries Nonfat
Chobani Greek
  • Locust Bean Gum
  • Pectin
  • Evaporated Cane Juice
  •  Evaporated Cane Juice
Blueberries Nonfat
Lucerne Greek
  • Locust Bean Gum
  • Pectin
  • Modified Corn Starch
  • Citric Acid
  • Calcium Citrate
  • Citric Acid
  • Calcium Citrate
Blueberries
  • Nonfat Milk
  • Milk powder
Noosa
  • Locust Bean Gum
  • Pectin
  • Gelatin
  • Agar
  • Honey
  • Cane Sugar
Blueberries
  • Milk
  • Cream
  • Protein

Consider how easy it is to make your own yogurt, you may freak out about the varieties of the ingredients that were added to the products. But just like what I want to say with my last post, additives aren’t necessarily bad if bing used in the right amount.

Limited by my knowledge structure, I can’t tell witch brand is healthier, but as a senior yogurt lover, I can tell witch one tastes better.

Dannon Activia Greek

IMG_1186

Dannon Activia Greek has a stimulating acid smell. After finishing a bite of it, the sourness hunted in my mouse for a very long time and stimulated my slivar. As you can tell from the picture, it’s extraordinarily thick! Bluberry puree is at the bottom of the cup.

Thickness:☆☆☆☆☆

Sourness:☆☆☆☆☆

Sweetness:☆☆

Astringent Taste:☆☆

Fruit Content:☆☆☆☆

Yoplait Greek

IMG_1188

Yoplait Greek is also very thick, but what impressed me most is the pukery taste of it. Just one bite is enough to make my tongue feeling extremely uncomfortable staying in the mouse.

Thickness:☆☆☆☆

Sourness:☆☆

Sweetness:☆☆

Astringent Taste:☆☆☆☆☆

Fruit Content:☆☆☆☆

Chobani Greek

IMG_1190

Chobani Greek is relatively nice, but not a delicious one.

Thickness:☆☆

Sourness:☆☆☆

Sweetness:☆☆

Astringent Taste:☆☆☆☆

Fruit Content:☆☆☆☆

Lucerne Greek

IMG_1189

Lucerne Greek is the last one I would buy in the future. It barely has any fruit, and the taste of it is really weird. It was so grainy that I feel like I was eating chalks! The smell of it is similar to the concreted grape juice, but not in a delightful way.

Thickness:☆☆☆

Sourness:☆☆☆☆

Sweetness:☆☆☆☆

Astringent Taste:☆☆☆☆☆

Fruit Content:☆

Noosa

IMG_1191Without the second thought, Noosa is the best one among all the five brands. Instead of the pungent juice smell, it has a delicate smell of milk. The texture of it is very smooth. The right amount of sweetness and sourness mixed with the creamy flavor makes it defiantly delightful to eat.

Thickness:☆☆☆

Sourness:☆☆☆

Sweetness:☆☆☆

Astringent Taste:☆

Fruit Content:☆☆☆☆

After tasting all these yogurts, it is interesting to look back and see how ingredients influenced the flavor of each yogurt. Also, I hope it will give you, my reader, a clue of choosing your favorite yogurt!

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Common Additives In Yogurt

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Without any doubt, naturally fermented yogurt benefits our body most. But for various reasons, most yogurt on the supermarket shelves contain additives whose power we are not fully aware of. Is additive witch’s poison or fairy’s magic wand?

Additives in yogurt fall into four categories: stabilizer, flavoring agent and color additives .

  • Stabilizer

Pectin(√) —-It is produced commercially as a white to light brown powder, mainly extracted from citrus fruits, and is used in food as a gelling agent particularly in jams and jellies. It is also used in fillings, medicines, sweets, as a stabilizer in fruit juices and milk drinks, and as a source of dietary fiber.

Gellan gum(√)—-is produced by culturing bacteria, used as a thickener, emulsifier, and stabilizer. It was an integral part of the now defunct Orbitz soft drink. It is used as the gelling agent, as an alternative to gelatin, in the manufacture of vegan varieties “gummi” candies.

Gelatin(√)—-derived from collagen obtained from various animal by-products. It is commonly used as a gelling agent in food, pharmaceuticals, photography, and cosmetic manufacturing.

Agar(√)—-is a gelatinous substance, obtained from algae

Modified Starch(√)—-also called starch derivatives, are prepared by physically,enzymatically, or chemically treating native starch, thereby changing the properties of the starch.

  • Flavoring agent

Acesulfame(×)—-is a calorie-free sugar substitute(artificial sweetener), chronic usage of acesulfame K may lead to impairment of cognitive function. However, FDA has approved their general use.

Aspartame(×)—-is an artificial, non-saccharide sweetener used as a sugar substitute in some foods and beverages. Numerous allegations have been made on the Internet and in consumer magazines purporting neurotoxic effects of aspartame leading to neurological or psychiatric symptoms such as seizures, headaches, and mood changes.

Steviol Glycoside(√)—-are responsible for the sweet taste of the leaves of the stevia plant (Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni). These compounds range in sweetness from 40 to 300 times sweeter than sucrose. In 2006, the World Health Organization (WHO) performed a thorough evaluation of recent experimental studies of stevia extracts conducted on animals and humans, the report suggested the possibility of health benefits.

Splenda(√)—-is the commercial name and registered trade mark of asucralose-based artificial sweetener derived from sugar, it is generally recognized as safe because of their long history of safe consumption.

  • Color Additives

Carmine(×)—-is a pigment of a bright-red color obtained from the aluminium salt of carminic acid, which is produced by some scale insects, such as the cochineal scale and the Polish cochineal, it may cause severe allergic reactions and anaphylactic shock and that it is derived from insects.

Tartrazine(×)—- is a synthetic lemon yellow azo dye primarily used as afood coloring. Tartrazine was found to adversely affect and alter biochemical markers in vital organs, e.g., liver and kidney, of rats, not only at higher doses, but also at low doses.

(Information from wikipedia)

Legends of Yogurt

Yogurt is probably the oldest healthy food through out the human history. records of manufacturing and consuming yogurt can be found in varies parts of the world,  from the Veda (the world’s oldest existing literature) to the Bilble. It is hard to tell exactly where and when people first learned about harnessing the probiotics to make the delicious yogurt, but the history of yogurt never lacks legend.

Ayurveda is an ancient practice of traditional medicine native to India and a form of alternative medicine. Practitioners of Ayurveda believe all kinds of illness are caused by the imbalance of elements. In Ayurveda, food has different attribution, such as cold, hot, heavy, light, dry and wet. Since different food has different effect, food can be used to balance human body and cure illness. There are some evidences revealing that ancient Indians explored the cultured diary product in Ayurveda back to as far as 2000 B.C. That probably is the first record of yogurt in human history. In Ayurvedic diet, yogurt is cold and wet, it helps with indigestion, constipation and insomnia.

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The more generally accepted theory is yogurt originated from the ancient Turkish nomad. Travelers carried water and milk with goatskin bags on camel backs. During the hot summer, because of the bacteria inside of the skin bag and the agitation along the road, milk turned into yogurt. Later, when people found out the “curd milk” was more digestible and flavorous, they started to make yogurt purposely.

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Believe it or not, yogurt was mentioned in the Bible as a kind of super food for healing. It also appeared many times in the Bible. In Genesis, Abraham treated his guest with yogurt; and in Judges 5:25, when Jesus asked for water, a woman gave him yogurt. (“Water he asked, milk she gave him; in a lordly bowl she brought him curd.”) So we can say, yogurt is the food for the God!

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Time to enjoy the God approved food!

References:

30 ancient Biblical foods also have been studied as super foods for healing

Origin of Yogurt

Dietribes: Yogurt Made Me Cultured

Yogurt & Its Place In The Persian Ayurvedic Diet

Dairy Foods in Ayurveda

How Yogurt Becomes Thick?

Every time when I’m craving yogurt, the first illusion my brain produces is the richness of each bite, the concrete yet smooth texture. I believe I’m not the only one who enjoy the thickness of yogurt more than anything. As a matter of fact, when we want some yogurt, we always say “eat” instead of “drink”. I wonder what turns a gallon of liquid milk to cups of “eatable” yogurt?

At the end of my last post How Milk Becomes Yogurt, caseins all come together and become curd. Now, let’s dive into this specific wonderful process.

Milk consists of protein, fat and lactose. Lactose can blend well with water; fat exists as small particles surrounded by protein molecules. Apart from that, there are also many proteins swimming in the water all by themselves.

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Every protein carries more or less some hydrophobic grouping, they hate water molecules more than anything and always try to get together. but they never succeed, because protein molecules also carry —-

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Electrons! That’s right, Electrons have two different types of electric charge: positive charge and negative charge. Because two alike electric charges repel each other, hydrophobic grouping can never bring proteins together. Thus, milk remains liquid.

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However, when lactic acid lowers the PH value of the milk, electrons lose their electric charges. Hydrophobic groupings finally can get together and combine to a huge “net” with proteins, fat, sugar, water all gathering inside.

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And so yogurt becomes thick!

How Milk Becomes Yogurt

This is the first post of the blog, I’m going to touch base with you to talk about how milk becomes yogurt.

First, what is yogurt? FDA says:

Yogurt is the food produced by culturing one or more of the optional dairy ingredients with a characterizing bacterial culture that contains the lactic acid-producing bacteria, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus.

Lactobacillus bulgaricusand and Streptococcus thermophilus are not yummy, but they are probiotics that get along with human body and help our organs to do a better job. Some probiotics live in stomach, they decompose glucose and lactose, make it more digestible for human body, they are called lactic acid bacteria. The major group of lactic acid bacteria is lactobacillus. Some Lactobacillus can be used to produce ferment food, they are the little magicians that transform milk to yogurt.

Step1: lactase breaks the complex structure of the lactose into pairs of molecules.

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Step 2: lactobacillus convert sugar and produce lactic acid

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Step 3: lactic Acid dissolves the shell of casein.

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Step 4: casein agglomerates and precipitates into curd.

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And so milk becomes yogurt!