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The Benefits of Yoghurt
Many people who find it difficult to digest fresh milk find that cultured dairy foods such as yoghurt are better tolerated. This is because the lactobacilli consume some of the indigestible milk sugars (lactose) for us.
A good live yoghurt can assist digestion whilst also providing these 9 essential nutrients: calcium, vitamins A and B12, carbohydrate, protein, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc.
Yoghurt is possibly the most widely recognised live cultured food, and when you know how, it’s very easy to make. Fresh, live plain yoghurt has a slightly tart flavour and delightful creamy texture.
Traditional yoghurt consists of whole milk and probiotic cultures – friendly bacteria that promote intestinal health by redressing the balance of good and bad bacteria. This “real” yoghurt has a thinner consistency, with a larger volume of liquid (whey) present than commercial yoghurts. To ensure a consistently thick product, most commercial brands add milk solids, gelatin and other stabilisers.
Traditionally Made Yoghurt is The Best
Some Australian brands making yoghurt without any additives:
- Biodynamic Paris Creek Farms, SA
- Biodynamic Marook Farm, NSW
- Meredith’s VIC (sheep milk)
- Organic Elgaar Farm, TAS
- Hindmarsh Valley Dairy, SA (goats milk)
- Caprino Farm, WA (goats milk)
These can be found in good independent shops and delis and in health food shops around the country.
Milk solids are highly processed denatured milk, with oxidised cholesterol. This is not a form of cholesterol our body can utilise well and it has been shown to raise LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
Live yoghurt offers some or all of the helpful, lactic acid producing bacteria; check the label when you buy yoghurt for: lactobacillus(Lb), Lbacidophilus, Lb bifidis, Lb thermophilus, Lb bulgaricus and Lb casei.
Thick or Thin?
We have grown used to a thicker style of yoghurt and many prefer it that way. It is very easy, though, to take a jar of real yoghurt and strain it for an hour or two to obtain a richer, thicker product. If you strain for longer you will have even thicker yoghurt which is like a soft cheese. This is known as labne (see how to make your own labne) and you will also capture more of the whey, which has a variety of uses too.
What is Whey?
Whey is the left over liquid from straining the yogurt. It can be used to steep your labne in, in the fridge; or as an excellent cleaning product – you can wipe your chopping boards with a whey dampened cloth. It is also a good source of probiotics and can be added to your drinks and even your pet’s water bowl. Whey can be used to wash out a superficial wound or fed to your tomato plants, which will benefit from the calcium. Whey can also be used as the liquid in baked goods and added to the soaking water for grains or beans or as a starter in cultured vegetables. Stored in an airtight jar, whey will keep for over a month in the fridge.
- Feature image credit to ©iStock.com/tashka2000