Milk and its products are too familiar with our daily life. It is this way or another way, joined in our menu everyday. Among the milk products, fermented milk is the type that is used popularly as food or in culinary.
There are varieties of fermented milk types, but we could account them into some groups. Let take a look about these.
Yogurt is one of the typical type in the fermented milk list. Yogurt was known and used long time ago (perhaps 5000 years BC). Till today, it is widely used as food and in culinary around the world.
It is made by heating milk (at 85 C degree/ 185 F degree) then fermenting at about 45 C degree (113 F degree) for 4-7 hours. The bacteria which joined in this process are known as yogurt cultures. They will ferment the lactose in milk and produce lactic acid. This acid will act on the milk protein and form the yogurt as the texture as we know.
To produce yogurt, cow’s milk is used most popular. Other milks could be used locally are goats’, ewes’, mares’, camels’, water buffaloes’ and yaks’. The fruits (as strawberry, cranberry, kiwi…) or some botanical plants (as aloe…) are also added to increase the flavor of yogurt.
Yogurt is known to contain rich source of protein, vitamin (B12), minerals (magnesium, phosphorus, potassium…). It is helpful in support the digestion and helper to the skin. Beside be eaten as a desert alone, yogurt is also combine with other fruits or joined into different desert recipes.
In the fermented milk list, cheese is a type of derived food from milk which had also been used for long, from the ancient time.
This milk product has holey dense texture and specific flavor. Cheese is made from acidifying milk and adding the enzyme rennet. Two layers liquid and solid will be created from this process. The solid part will be separated then pressed to form cheese shaped.
Milk of cows, goats, buffalo and sheep are usually used to produce cheese. As yogurt, the sub-ingredients are also could be added to cheese, for example herbs, spices or even wood smoke. The ingredients will help to increase flavor and aroma of cheese.
Cheese consist rich source of protein and minerals as calcium and phosphorus.
Types of cheese are very popular from place to place and depend much on the local culture. However, the commercial type is also marketed widely around the world. The same as yogurt, cheese is joined in numbers of recipe in different areas. Even cheese and yogurt may be combined together for the great dishes and cakes such as yogurt cheese cake, mini yogurt cheese cake, strawberry yogurt cheese cake, lemon yogurt cheese cake etc.
Kefir is a type of fermented milk which texture much like yogurt but more liquid. It is fermented by the yeast which called kefir grains.
To produce kefir, the mother milk will be made first. Milk and grains are incubated together at 20-25 C degree (68-77 F degree) in about 24 hours. After that, the grain will be filtered from the mixture. The separated liquid is called as mother milk and used to add to ferment milk continuously. The common amount is about 1-3 % of the liquid, and the time to get the product is about 12-18 hours.
Some types of milk that usually used to make kefir are cow’, goat’ and sheep’. But other mammals’ milk, substituted milks (as soy milk, rice milk, coconut milk…) and sugary liquids (as fruit juices, coconut water, beer wort, ginger beer) are also could be fermented from this grain.
As mostly milk products, kefir contains number of nutrients as dietary minerals, vitamins, essential amino acids, probiotic bacteria and other healthy substances.
Kefir was used widely as both drink and in culinary in Russia and some Asian countries for a long time before it becomes more popular in other areas as Europe, Japan, Australia and North America…It is now marketed in different stores and supermarket around the world.
Sour cream is the less fermented product if compared with the types which are mentioned above. Commercially, the lactic acid bacteria are used to ferment cream to collect sour cream. But traditionally, the cream which is skimmed off the milk will be fermented at controlled temperature.
Sour cream has a thick and smooth texture. It could contain the fat level at about 12-14% commonly. For the commercial one, some other ingredients could be added such as gelatin, rennet, guar gum, carrageenan (to thicken the mixture) and acid (to sour the mixture).
Nowadays, the manufacturer could use the cream from non-fat milk to produce the non-fat sour cream.
Sour cream is used mostly in Russia, Europe and North America cuisine. It is usually added as an ingredient or a condiment in varieties of both sweet and savory recipes in these areas’ culinary. Some dishes there that popular use sour cream are salads, fruits mixture, cakes, cookies, baked potatoes, soups…