Bulgarian yogurt is possibly the most well known variety of yogurt in the world.
It is a mildly sour-tasting yogurt and has become known to be the best and the healthiest of all dairy products.
The Bulgarians use yogurt in many of their traditional dishes. It is part of the daily diet and is always present on the table in soups, salads, desserts and garnishes.
Bulgarian yogurt was made from full fat fresh milk, although low fat versions are now available in the supermarkets.
Early Origins of Bulgarian Yogurt
It is thought that Yogurt was invented when shepherds put their sheep milk into their lambskin bags. The bags were then carried slung over their bodies. The heat from the shepherds body during the course of the day would cause the milk to ferment and turn into yogurt.
Whatever the truth of the story, it cannot be denied before thermometer technology. Using one’s body temperature as a guide to making yogurt fermentation happen would have been applied.
Did you know 400 000 tons of Bulgarian yogurt are consumed every year in the country?
What is Bulgarian Yogurt?
In Bulgaria it is known as кисело мляко (kicelo mlyako)which when roughly translated means sour milk.
The difference between sour milk and yogurt is that, sour milk is uncontrolled fermentation and yogurt is controlled fermentation.
Another factor influencing flavor is that Bulgarian yogurt is never sterilized after fermentation. Bulgarian yogurt like any other yogurt in the world, needs bacteria to help the fermentation.
In villages, homemade Bulgarian yogurt can be sometimes strained in a cloth. It is hung over a pot or large container for a few hours to reduce the water content.
When the cloth is hung overnight the resulting substance is like a cream cheese.
This yogurt is often richer and creamier with a mild taste because it has a higher fat content.
Why is Bulgarian Yogurt Special?
Bulgarian yogurt is produced much like any other yogurt in the Balkans. However,the wonderful flavour of Bulgarian yogurt is much different and distinct from others . The cows are free to roam the fields and meadows which are full of rich herbs and all this combined helps to produce the flavoursome milk.
The two strains of bacteria that is unique to the country give Bulgarian yogurt its magic.
Lactobacillus Bulgaricus & Streptococcus Thermophilus
No, it is not the names of two roman milkmen who used to live in Plovdiv. It is the Latin name for the two strains of bacteria which are unique to Bulgaria and important to the rest of the yogurt making world.
When you make yogurt you will need a starter bacteria, or a culture. This helps to start the fermentation process by increasing the number of bacteria, which will be all good and healthy for the consumer.
Just like we use yeast for making bread.
When you have made your yogurt you would normally save some of the batch you have just made to start (or culture) your next batch of yogurt. However if you are outside of Bulgaria the Lactobacillus Bulgaricus will lose it’s quality taste and texture after a couple of batches.
In Bulgaria, the bacteria strain can be everlasting, scientist don’t know why this phenomenon should be but it must have something to do with the air in the regions of Bulgaria.
‘Yogurt experts’ who have tasted yogurt from countries all over the world always find that none of them are as tasty as the Bulgarian variety.
These unique bacteria have the natural key ingredient which gives Bulgarian yogurt its wonderful benefits and taste and is now sold all over the world for yogurt making purposes.
According to a report a 16th century French king was cured from an infection by eating Bulgarian yogurt.
Bulgarian Yogurt has many Health Benefits
American health experts have proven that Bulgaria’s natural yogurt is a rich source of probiotics, which play a key role in nutrition.
Probiotics are the helpful bacteria in your body that are good for your health, especially your digestive system..
- When you lose “good” bacteria in your body, for example after you have taken antibiotics, probiotics can help replace them.
- They can lower the amount of “bad” bacteria in your system that can cause infections or other problems.
- They can help balance your “good” and “bad” bacteria to keep your body working like it should.
- Health experts have proved that yogurt is extremely beneficial as part of a healthy diet for people of all ages because it contains some anti-cancer and anti-arthritis features as well as many mineral salts and vitamins.
- It is also low in calories too making it an ideal addition to anyone watching their weight.
- Although the human body produces its own probiotics there are not enough to fight some illness and infections. Thus, health experts advise you to eat regular helpings of natural yogurt to combat disease.
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