Somebody once told me, “Jason…the closest you’ll ever get to culture, is yoghurt”.
Pretty harsh comment really, but I think I deserved it at the time.
It comes as a surprise to some people that less than one percent of all bacteria on earth are dangerous to humans.
The ones that cause food poisoning are called pathogens; a lot of the other bacteria are quite useful in food production.
Imagine a world without beer, wine, cheese, Vegemite, penicillin or yoghurt. You’d rather live on the moon – it’s made of cheese you know (excuse the pun).
Fermenting and coagulating various types of milk, makes yoghurt. As the milk turns, the natural sugars (lactose) are converted into lactic acid, which in turn produces bacterial change.
Large producers of yoghurt add active bacteria such as ‘lactobacillus bulgericus’ or ‘streptococcus thermophilus’.
Yoghurt has been produced for many centuries in the Middle East and India, most probably a natural occurrence, before refrigeration was invented.
Most Western and European cultures eat yoghurt as a breakfast or a dessert, whereas India and Central Asia would cook with it or use it as a condiment to spicy dished.
Labna (Yoghurt Cheese)
Labna is made from draining lightly salted yoghurt through a sieve lined with muslin cloth and left overnight.
The yoghurt starts to get thicker, and if you leave it drain for a few days it forms a kind of curd cheese that you can mould into a ball.
In the Middle East they eat this at the end of a meal, not unlike the French do with a cheese platter.
It would be great with a top drop of your favourite wine.