Do all yogurts have live and active cultures?
All yogurts are required to be made with these two cultures. In addition, some yogurts contain Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidus and other cultures. In heat-treated yogurt, these cultures are killed during post-fermentation heating. Additionally, the live and active cultures found in yogurt break down lactose in milk.
The main (starter) cultures in yogurt are Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. The function of the starter cultures is to ferment lactose (milk sugar) to produce lactic acid. The increase in lactic acid decreases pH and causes the milk to clot, or form the soft gel that is characteristic of yogurt.
- A yogurt starter is a carefully balanced blend of bacteria which consume lactose. This blend of bacteria converts the lactose in milk to lactic acid, giving yogurt that classic, deliciously tangy taste.
- To turn milk into yogurt, these bacteria ferment the milk, turning the lactose sugars in the milk into lactic acid. The lactic acid is what causes the milk, as it ferments, to thicken and taste tart. Because the bacteria have partially broken down the milk already, it is thought to make yogurt easier for us to digest.
- So yogurt eaters will get a dose of animal protein (about 9 grams per 6-ounce serving), plus several other nutrients found in dairy foods, like calcium, vitamin B-2, vitamin B-12, potassium, and magnesium. Live strains of these "good bacteria" are also found in many yogurt products.
Choosing a starter. A “starter” contains the live bacterial cultures that help transform milk into yogurt. If using store-bought yogurt, pick a plain yogurt (regular or Greek should work fine) that tastes good to you and check the label to verify that it has live, active cultures (this part is very important).
- Activate the Yogurt Starter
- Slowly heat 1 quart of pasteurized milk to 160°F.
- Remove the milk from the heat and allow to cool to 110°F.
- Add 1 packet of starter culture and mix well.
- Pour milk into containers, cover the mixture, and incubate it at 110°F for 5-12 hours in a yogurt maker or similar appliance.
- The mixture is then left to ferment until the bacteria grows, produces lactic acid, and gels the milk proteins to produce regular yogurt. To make Greek yogurt, regular yogurt is strained extensively to remove liquid whey and lactose, leaving behind a thicker-textured yogurt.
- Combine greek yogurt in small mixing bowl with lime juice and vinegar.
- Stir until creamy and smooth. If you prefer a looser consistency, slowly add more vinegar by teaspoon.
- Add salt and pepper and stir.
- Serve over your favorite sour-cream lovin' dish!
Updated: 16th October 2019