Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Yogurt test

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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:

Flavour:

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.

Conclusion:

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.

11 comments:

MagicTofu said...

I bought some of that Liberty 10% fat 'mediterranean' yogurt today. The texture and taste is wonderful and do beat the Astro 'Balkan style' yogurt confirming my theory about the fat content of yogurt. The yogurt was almost as thick as the 'better yogurt' I made (see next post) but the flavor and texture was of an incredible richness... I wonder what would happen if I decided to drain the excess water from this yogurt too!

Stevie said...

Hallooo
Came upon your site when googling to determine if my Balkan style yogurt addiction was going to land in me in the coronary ward and came upon you. Crazy.
Anyhow, agree completely, and have decided that if I am going to have a little extra fat in my diet, it is going to be in my yogurt. Have you tried Balkan style with dried cranberries on top?
In the words of Homer... well, I can't spell that drooly thing he does when in gastronomic heaven, but you get my drift.
S

Anonymous said...

I'm eating the Astro Balkan Style at the moment, and I have to say that it is the absolute best that I have tried, other than the "Greek Style" which was available in Australia but, sadly, not in Canada.
I use it as a sour cream substitue as well. I gave some to my partner on perogies and he was surprised when I asked him "So how is it with yogurt?" He thought it was sour cream.
That being said...I still like to eat it plain!

-Dani

Anonymous said...

have you tried the astro original all natural yogurt? 11% fat. sweeten with honey, very good!.

Anonymous said...

Astro's balkan style yogurt is my hands-down favourite. Its so creamy and fluffy but has a firmness about it and the best part is - despite the rich taste it doesn't leave a greasy film in your mouth.

Anonymous said...

Go to an ethnic store, where they have real balkan/turkish yogurt. You can buy it in buckets.

The Bulgarian and Turks have legends where people have lived for over a hundred years of age because of this particular type of yogurt. A North American brand will not make it the same way.

Make a smoothie with sour balkan/turkish yogurt, your favorite fruit (for me, fresh berries and/or bananas), vanilla, honeydew honey or buckwheat honey (strong honey, Spanish honey is good), nutmeg, rose water and a tiny bit of milk. Yumm.

Anonymous said...

Could you post a reference to an ethnic store where you can get the real balkan/turkish yogurt?
I live in Toronto.
Thanks

Anonymous said...

I also love Astro Balkan style yogurt and I have found a way to make it thick like Greek yogurt. Line a metal strainer with paper coffee filters. Use two basket style coffee filters and overlap them a bit to get more surface area. Place strainer over a glass bowl. Pour yogurt into metal strainer. Leave overnight in the fridge to drain the water. You get a thick creamy yogurt the consistency of frosting. Drizzle with honey and walnuts close your eyes and taste heaven.

persephonesawakening said...

Thanks for posting this - I really appreciate your review. I am an Astro Balkan fan to the core.

murt said...

I love the Astro Balkan style too. It tastes almost like homemade yogurt. It's funny though sometimes when I'm organized enough I make homemade yogurt with 2% milk so less fat, but it still tastes better than all of the store bought brands.

Anonymous said...

The Greek style yogurt that I can get in Europe is NOT the same as here. I don't know why.
Also, I used to love Liberty Mediterranean yogurts (and bought them exclusively for years), but about 6 months ago I noticed that the taste and texture had totally changed. Any ideas why??