Since we had a lot of apples, I decided to make an apple crumble yesterday. Nothing really fancy. I love to eat apple crumble with ice cream or just plain cream but since I believe it is wiser to eat yogurt instead of these two fatty but delicious ingredients, I decided to use that opportunity to compare a few of the plain yogurts we usually buy.
My usual favourite is the Liberty 2% yogurt. This Québec brand makes among the finest fresh milk produces available in this part of world, including fresh cheese and crême fraîche. They have an awesome 10% fat "Mediterranean" yogurt and some nice organic yogurts.... but prices and fat content pushes my choice toward their 2% plain yogurt... they also produce a 0.1% fat yogurt but I really don't like it... yogurt needs to be a little bit fat otherwise it taste a bit too acid and feels grainy. They also have flavoured yogurts (some with soft whole grains) but I like to buy plain yogurt and add the flavours I like by myself (pecans and honey are a usual toping for breakfast but jams or fresh fruits work quite well too).
When I was living in Toronto Liberty was not widely available but another brand, Astro, satisfied my hunger for good yogurt with its 6% fat "Balkan style" yogurt.
Yesterday we tried these two yogurts, the 2% fat Liberty yogurt and the 6% fat Astro "Balkan Style" yogurt, as well as another yogurt from Astro, the Bio Best 1% fat yogurt (which incidentally is made with the same types of cultures as the Liberty). Here is the result of our flavour and texture test:
Liberty 2% fat: By far the sourest of all the yogurts tested (overly acid for my girlfriend but alright for me).
Astro 6% fat "Balkan style": The best taste... the natural acidity is rounded by the richness of the cream used to make the yogurt. It taste a bit like grass... quite pleasant.
Astro 1% fat "Bio Best": Strangely sweet for a plain yogurt (we looked at the list of ingredient, which is longer than for the two other yogurts and did not find any obvious reasons... pectin maybe? or lactase? I'm really not a food chemist).
Texture (because texture is key in appreciating a yogurt):
Liberty 2% fat: Almost liquid and a bit grainy on the tongue.
Astro 6% fat "Balkan Style": Again the best... it is creamy but has a nice firmness.
Astro 1% fat "Bio Best": This one was the worst... it was quite firm, almost like jelly (I believe the agar and pectin listed in the list of ingredient is responsible for this annoying texture) but kept its equaly annoying graininess.
It is sad but it seems the best yogurts need to show a relatively high fat content (nothing like cream, mayonnaise or ice cream though). I'd love to compare the Liberty 10% yogurt with the Astro 6%... I am quite sure the Liberty would win the competition.
I also believe that the least number of ingredients, the best the yogurt will be. All the yogurts I like have 2 main ingredients: milk and bacterial cultures. The milk however is often found under different forms (milk powder, milk protein concentrate...) under the generic term: "modified milk ingredient".
I know it is very easy to make our own yogurt but I've never tried... I might want to try to make my own later on... watch out for a possible account of such an experiment on this blog.