Since the 1980s, yogurt has been touted as the perfect breakfast or snack for working and busy women through ads highlighting their calorie count (much smaller than the the calorie count of the desserts they’re engineered to taste like), easy-to-pack packaging, and nutrition. Today, a jaunt down the dairy aisle of your local grocery store will reveal a nearly endless selection of flavors, consistencies, health benefits, and traditions among countless yogurt companies, both local and international. If you’ve ever left the yogurt aisle dazed and confused by all the types of yogurt there are at your fingertips, here’s a cheat sheet for you to reference.
By definition, all yogurt is a milk-based substance that has fermented with the help of a bacteria culture that turns the milk more viscous and slightly tart. The lactic acid that is produced as a result of the bacteria’s respiration help the milk to last longer, so for much of history, yogurt was used to store milk beyond its standard shelf life. What makes each type of yogurt different has to do with the type of bacteria that is used in the fermentation process, the length of that process, and the straining process they’re subjected to.
Standard Unstrained Yogurt:
Your standard run of the mill yogurt will likely be made with 2% or whole milk. The process entails heating up the milk-bacteria mixture to activate the process and then allowing it to cool. Afterwards, the whey is mixed in (rather than strained) to produce the smooth texture usually associated with yogurt. Boasting about 10 grams of protein per cup, this is what most Americans picture when they hear “yogurt.”
Having sprung into popularity over the past few decades, Greek yogurt has become a fan favorite for its thick texture and high protein density. After the milk and bacteria are combined, heated, and cooled, a significant portion — but not all — the whey is drained, leaving a viscous and tart substance perfect for eating plan or dipping fruit. Greek yogurt offers eaters about 19 grams of protein per cup, making it filling and calorically dense.
Perhaps the thickest and densest of the yogurt options, Icelandic yogurt is made by straining almost all the whey from the top of the yogurt. As such, it’s got a distinct taste and texture and lots of protein — 24 grams, to be exact. It’s ideal for spreading on top of food like a cream cheese or for thickening doughs and batters.
Whereas Greek and Icelandic yogurt can credit their thickness to their thickness, Kefir is a runny drinkable yogurt closer in texture to milk than standard yogurt. Made with a different bacteria, Kefir can be drunk on its own or used like milk in combination with cereal, oats, or smoothies. Kefir has only about 8 grams of protein per cup but is still a yummy alternative to milk for the adventurous eater.
Milk is great for your bones – but do you know why? The U.S. Department of Agriculture currently recommends that everyone over the age of nine drink three cups of milk each day. This sounds like a lot; but the amount isn’t unmanageable once you factor in the dairy in the cheesy foods, milk-based soups, and other drinks that most people consume daily. But why go to all this trouble to take in milk? What good does it really do? The answer comes down to calcium. Currently, the National Institute of Health recommends that the average adult consume between 1,000 and 1,200 mg of calcium daily. In this blog post, those of us at Bluegrass Dairy and Food take a closer look at why we need so much of the mineral and consider how it can help us build – or, more importantly, maintain – strong bones.
Most people know that calcium is a mineral found in milk – but few could explain what it actually does for the body. The answer? Quite a lot. Calcium is integral to building and maintaining strong bones and teeth, helps set the heart’s rhythm, aids in blood clotting, and facilitates nerve impulse transmissions. Interestingly, a whopping 99% of the body’s calcium resides in the bones, with the other 1% scattered across our tissues and in our blood. That calcium adds up; a full two pounds of an adult’s body weight can usually be attributed to calcium.
Calcium is clearly important to our bone and overall – but how exactly do we use it? Most of us tend to think of our bones as relatively static. They grow with us into adulthood, but then they stay fairly constant – right? Wrong. Bones exist in a state of constant flux. As living tissue, our bones are constantly being broken down and rebuilt by bone cells called osteoclasts and osteoblasts, respectively. Generally speaking, the rate of bone-building surpasses bone-destruction until we reach our 30s; then, we tend to see greater rates of bone destruction. This is a normal occurrence, but it can be problematic for those who don’t consume enough calcium for optimal bone maintenance or are genetically predisposed to have lower bone mass. In later years, this can lead to a condition called osteoporosis, or weakened bones.
According to an article published in the Harvard School of Public Health’s The Nutrition Source, people who want to stave off osteoporosis need to set the strongest possible foundations for bone health during their early years and limit their bone loss as adults. An important aspect of these preventative measures is getting enough calcium in the first place, so that the body doesn’t need to steal calcium from the bones to maintain itself. While calcium can be found in dark leafy greens and dried beans, dairy products have the highest concentration of readily-absorbable calcium. In short: drink your milk! Your bones will thank you for it.
About Bluegrass Dairy and Food
Bluegrass Dairy and Food is a leading full-service supplier of specialty ingredients for the food industry. Since 1995 we have produced a wide range of value-added powders, creamers, shortenings, and other dairy products. We now offer many of our products with kosher or organic certifications as well.
Bluegrass is a market-leading business in the value-added, specialty dried dairy segment, and has a solid track record of both providing high-quality products and cultivating long-term supplier and customer relationships locally and internationally. From custom formulating blends to delivering real-time insights into the dairy market, Bluegrass helps customers make the best decisions (and the best purchases) for their businesses.
Our dedication to research and development has particularly made us a standout business in the industry. The experienced team at Bluegrass is ready and willing to formulate and commercialize proprietary powders for your food applications. With our exemplary facilities, we can help you and your business turn your ideas into reality and find the perfect ingredient.
Since our founding, we have won well over a dozen awards and accolades for the quality of our cheeses and other dairy products, our community service, and our overall contributions to the industry in Glasgow/Barren County.
- World Championship Cheese Contest – Best In Class (Monterey Jack)
- Incredible Food Show – Best Of Show Savory (Smoked Cheddar)
- Governor Phil Bredesen’s Award (Monterey Jack)
- Kentucky State Fair – Cheddar Cheese (Gold Medal) Aged Cheddar Cheese (Gold Medal) Processed American Cheese (Gold Medal) Sweet Cream Butter (Gold Medal)
The Bluegrass Dairy and Food team is highly experienced in the formulation and production of custom solutions for food providers around the world. Unlike many larger manufacturers, we offer a variety of production facilities so that we can process all kinds of quantities from one-pound samples to truckloads. Our pilot dryer produces samples without a full scale production run, while our dry blending capabilities allow us to process in very large quantities — just two great examples on opposite sides of the spectrum of services that we provide.
A family-oriented business from day one, we have strategically grown our company as an industry leader while keeping our roots:
We take great pride in providing high-touch service to customers around the clock.
A common thread runs through all of our work: a genuine passion for what we create.
Those of us at Bluegrass Dairy and Food are the first to admit that there is no crystal ball to predict what happens in the dynamic dairy market, but thanks to our strategic location in a central dairy area and our own research and development, we are always at the forefront. This is a general market blog, where we’ll share news and insights into the dairy industry. We will also share our quarterly insights based on time-sensitive news from around the world.