|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||257 kJ (61 kcal)|
|Sugars||4.7 g (*)|
|Vitamin A equiv.||27 μg (3%)|
|Riboflavin (Vit. B2)||0.14 mg (9%)|
|Calcium||121 mg (12%)|
|(*) Lactose content diminishes during storage.
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database
Yoghurt or yogurt is a dairy product produced by bacterial fermentation of milk. Fermentation of lactose produces lactic acid, which acts on milk protein to give yoghurt its texture and its characteristic tang. Dairy yoghurt is produced using a culture of Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus and Streptococcus salivarius subsp. thermophilus bacteria. Milk is heated and cooled for an hour. While it is heated, the bacteria are added for fermentation. Soy yoghurt, a non-dairy yoghurt alternative, is made from soy milk.
People have been making—and eating—yogurt for at least 5,400 years. Today it is a common food item throughout the world. A nutritious food with unique health benefits, it is rich in protein, calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12.
The word is derived from Turkish: yoğurt, and is related to yoğurmak 'to knead' and yoğun "dense" or "thick". The letter ğ was traditionally rendered as "gh" in transliterations of Turkish, which used to be written in a variant of the Arabic alphabet until the introduction of the Latin alphabet in 1928. In older Turkish the letter denoted a voiced velar fricative /ɣ/, but this sound is elided between back vowels in modern Turkish, in which the word is pronounced [joˈuɾt]. Some eastern dialects retain the consonant in this position, and Turks in the Balkans pronounce the word with a hard /ɡ/.
In Bulgaria yogurt is called "кисело мляко" (kiselo mlyako), which means "sour milk", while in Serbia, "кисело млеко" is different type of yoghurt.
In English, there are several variations of the spelling of the word; in Australia and New Zealand "yoghurt" prevails. In the United Kingdom "yoghurt" and "yogurt" are both current, "yoghurt" being more common, and "yoghourt" is an uncommon alternative. In the United States, "yogurt'" is the usual spelling and "yoghurt" a minor variant. Canadian brands typically use "yogourt" as it is correct in both official languages, however "yogurt" is used as well and is common among English speakers.
Whatever the spelling, the word is usually pronounced with a short o (/ˈjɒɡərt/) in the UK, with a long o (/ˈjoʊɡərt/) in North America, Australia and South Africa, and with either a long or short o in New Zealand and Ireland.
There is evidence of cultured milk products being produced as food for at least 4,500 years. The earliest yoghurts were probably spontaneously fermented by wild bacteria Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus native to and named after Bulgaria.
The oldest writings mentioning yogurt are attributed to Pliny the Elder who remarked that certain nomadic tribes, including the Bulgars, knew how "to thicken the milk into a substance with an agreeable acidity". The use of yoghurt by medieval Turks is recorded in the books Diwan Lughat al-Turk by Mahmud Kashgari and Kutadgu Bilig by Yusuf Has Hajib written in the 11th century. Both texts mention the word "yoghurt" in different sections and describe its use by nomadic Turks. An early account of a European encounter with yoghurt occurs in French clinical history: Francis I suffered from a severe diarrhea which no French doctor could cure. His ally Suleiman the Magnificent sent a doctor, who allegedly cured the patient with yoghurt. Being grateful, the French king spread around the information about the food which had cured him.
Until the 1900s, yoghurt was a staple in diets of people in the Russian Empire (and especially Central Asia and the Caucasus), Western Asia, South Eastern Europe/Balkans, Central Europe, and India. Stamen Grigorov (1878–1945), a Bulgarian student of medicine in Geneva, first examined the microflora of the Bulgarian yoghurt. In 1905 he described it as consisting of a spherical and a rod-like lactic acid bacteria. In 1907 the rod-like bacteria was called Lactobacillus bulgaricus (now Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus). The Russian Nobel laureat biologist Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov, from the Institut Pasteur in Paris, was influenced by Grigorov's work and hypothesised that regular consumption of yoghurt was responsible for the unusually long lifespans of Bulgarian peasants. Believing Lactobacillus to be essential for good health, Mechnikov worked to popularise yoghurt as a foodstuff throughout Europe.
A Sephardic Jewish entrepreneur named Isaac Carasso industrialized the production of yoghurt. In 1919, Carasso, who was from Ottoman Salonika, started a small yoghurt business in Barcelona and named the business Danone ("little Daniel") after his son. The brand later expanded to the United States under an Americanised version of the name: Dannon.
Yoghurt was first introduced to the United States by Armenian immigrants Sarkis and Rose Colombosian, who started "Colombo and Sons Creamery" in Andover, Massachusetts in 1929. Colombo Yogurt was originally delivered around New England in a horse-drawn wagon inscribed with the Armenian word "madzoon" which was later changed to "yogurt", the Turkish name of the product, as Turkish was the lingua franca between immigrants of the various Near Eastern ethnicities who were the main consumers at that time. Yoghurt's popularity in the United States was enhanced in the 1950s and 1960s when it was presented as a health food. By the late 20th century yoghurt had become a common American food item and Colombo Yoghurt was sold to General Mills in 1993.
Yoghurt is nutritionally rich in protein, calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. It has nutritional benefits beyond those of milk. People who are moderately lactose-intolerant can enjoy yoghurt without ill effects, because much of the lactose in the milk precursor is converted to lactic acid by the bacterial culture.
Yoghurt also has medical uses, in particular for a variety of gastrointestinal conditions, and in preventing antibiotic-associated diarrhea. One study suggests that eating yoghurt containing L. acidophilus helps prevent vulvovaginal candidiasis, though the evidence is not conclusive.
A study published in the International Journal of Obesity (11 January 2005) also found that the consumption of low fat yoghurt can promote weight loss. In the trial, obese individuals who ate 3 servings of low fat yoghurt a day as part of a low calorie diet lost 22% more weight than the control group who only cut back on calories and did not have extra calcium. They also lost 81% more abdominal fat.
To offset its natural sourness, yoghurt can be sold sweetened, flavored, or in containers with fruit or fruit jam on the bottom. If the fruit has been stirred into the yoghurt before purchase, it is commonly referred to as Swiss-style. Most yoghurts in the North America have added pectin, found naturally in fruit, and/or gelatin to artificially create thickness and creaminess at lower cost. This type of adulterated product is also marketed under the name Swiss-style, although it is unrelated to the way yoghurt is eaten in Switzerland. Some specialty yoghurts, often called "cream line", have a layer of fermented fat at the top. Fruit jam is used instead of raw fruit pieces in fruit yoghurts to allow storage for weeks.
Sweeteners such as cane sugar are often present in large amounts in commercial yoghurt.
Yogurt is popular in Nepal, where it is served both as an appetizer or dessert. Locally called dahi (दही), it is a part of the Nepali culture, used in local festivals, marriage ceremonies, parties, religious occasions, family gatherings, and so on. The most famous type of Nepalese yogurt is called juju dahu, originating from the city of Bhaktapur.
Tarator and Cacık are popular cold soups made from yoghurt, popular during summertime in Albania, Bulgaria, Republic of Macedonia, and Turkey. They are made with ayran, cucumbers, dill, salt, olive oil, and optionally garlic and ground walnuts.
Rahmjoghurt, a creamy yoghurt with much higher fat content (10%) than most yoghurts offered in English-speaking countries (Rahm is German for "cream"), is available in Germany and other countries.
Cream top yogurt is yoghurt made with unhomogenized milk. A layer of cream rises to the top, forming a rich yogurt cream with a taste and texture not unlike sour cream. Cream top yoghurt was first made commercially popular in the United States by Brown Cow of Newfield, NY, bucking the trend toward low- and non-fat yoghurts.
Matsoni is a yoghurt-like dairy product, popular in Georgia and Armenia. It is started with Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris and Acetobacter orientalis species and has a viscous, honey-like texture. It is milder in taste than other varieties of yoghurts since it is less sour and has less alcohol than kefir.
Matsoni is called "Caspian Sea Yogurt" カスピ海ヨーグルト in Japan, where it is believed to have been introduced in 1986 by researchers returning from a trip to the Caucasus region of Georgia and Armenia.  Ideally, Caspian Sea yoghurt is made at home because it requires neither special equipment nor unobtainable culture. It can be made at room temperature (20–30°C) in 10 to 15 hours. In Japan, freeze-dried starter cultures are sold in department stores and online, although many people obtain starter cultures from friends.
Raita is a yoghurt-based South Asian/Indian condiment, used as a side dish. The yoghurt is seasoned with cilantro (coriander), cumin, mint, cayenne pepper, and other herbs and spices. Vegetables such as cucumber and onions are mixed in. The mixture is served chilled. Raita has a cooling effect on the palate which makes it a good foil for spicy Indian dishes.
[dudh] is a Sindhi-Curd, popular in India. People drink [dudh] along with food at intervals, to help digestion and make food more delicious. At some places [dudh] is also served with plain rice.
Dahi, or Perugu, is a yoghurt of the Indian subcontinent, known for its characteristic taste and consistency. The word dahi seems to be derived from the Sanskrit word dadhi, one of the five elixirs, or panchamrita, often used in Hindu ritual. Dahi also holds cultural symbolism in many homes in the Mithilanchal region of Bihar. It is found in different flavours, two of which are famous: sour yoghurt (tauk doi) and sweet yoghurt (meesti or podi doi). In India, it is often used in cosmetics mixed with turmeric and honey. Sour yoghurt (खट्टी दही) is also used as a hair conditioner by women in many parts of India. Dahi is also known as Thayiru (Malayalam), doi (Assamese, Bengali), dohi (Oriya), perugu (Telugu), Mosaru (Kannada), Thayir (Tamil), or Qәzana a pәәner (Pashto).
Strained yoghurts are types of yoghurt which are strained through a paper or cloth filter, traditionally made of muslin, to remove the whey, giving a much thicker consistency and a distinctive, slightly tangy taste.
Labneh is a strained yoghurt used for sandwiches popular in Arab countries. 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 pies or kebbeh (كبة) balls.
Shankleesh (also Chanklich or شنكليش) is a type of cheese made from cured dried labneh, featured in the gastronomy of Lebanon and surrounding areas. The labneh is salted, dried and rolled into balls. It comes in different varieties ranging from the fresh variant in olive oil and thyme to the "aged" balls covered with spices.
Some types of strained yoghurts are boiled in open vats first, so that the liquid content is reduced. The popular East Indian dessert, a variation of traditional dahi called mishti dahi, offers a thicker, more custard-like consistency, and is usually sweeter than western yoghurts.
Ayran or dhalla is a yoghurt-based, salty drink popular in Albania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran, Republic of Macedonia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. It is made by mixing yoghurt with water and (sometimes) salt. The same drink is known as doogh in Iran; tan in Armenia; laban ayran in Syria and Lebanon; shenina in Iraq and Jordan; laban arbil in Iraq; majjiga (Telugu), majjige (Kannada), and moru (Tamil) in South India; lassi in Punjab and all over India. A similar drink, doogh, is popular in the Middle East between Lebanon, Iran and Afghanistan; it differs from ayran by the addition of herbs, usually mint, and is carbonated, commonly with seltzer water.
Lassi is a yoghurt-based beverage originally from the Indian subcontinent that is usually slightly salty or sweet. Lassi is a staple of Punjab. In some parts of the subcontinent, the sweet version may be commercially flavored with rosewater, mango or other fruit juice to create a very different drink. Salty lassi is usually flavored with ground, roasted cumin and red chillies; this salty variation may also use buttermilk, and is interchangeably called ghol (Bengal), mattha (North India), tak (Maharashtra), or chaas (Gujarat). Lassi is also very widely drunk in Pakistan.
A Central Asian Turco-Mongolian drink made from mare's milk is called kumis, or airag in Mongolia. Some American dairies have offered a drink called "kefir" for many years with fruit flavours but without carbonation or alcohol.
Sweetened yoghurt drinks are the usual form in Europe (including UK) and the US, containing fruit and added sweeteners. These are typically called "drinking / drinkable yoghurt", such as Yop. Also available are "yoghurt smoothies" which contain a higher proportion of fruit and are more like smoothies.