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x0x Nature's gift: Yoghurt

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  • TRH
    [See the following for more: http://www.care2.com/channels/solutions/food/1392 http://www.gourmet.gr/recipes/turkish/show.asp?gid=1&nodeid=18&arid=6820
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 3, 2005
      [See the following for more:
      http://www.ketisharif.com/recipes.html ]

      x0x Nature's gift: Yoghurt


      In order to survive in the wild, the first thing man had to do was
      find something to eat. Until the invention of agriculture, he hunted
      and eventually learned to domesticate animals. The sheep and the goat
      were the first, with roots going back to Central Asia. The sheep's
      suckling of her young led to the discovery of milk. Fragile in
      structure, milk begins to change the minute it is exposed to the air.

      Accelerated by bacteria peculiar to the climate of Central Asia and
      the Caucasus, fermentation turns the liquid
      into a solid. This chemical change produces the physical change that
      the Turks call `yoghurt'.

      Yoghurt is soft, smooth, and slightly sour in taste, refreshing to the
      produced from nature's own raw materials. As old as human history, it
      is perhaps the first example of food production.

      Yoghurt remains important today among the time-honored nutritional
      techniques of Central Asian, Middle Eastern and Anatolian societies.


      The first person to carry out scientific studies on yoghurt was
      Pasteur's assistant, the Russian biologist Metchnikoff, who discovered
      that it was the product of a chemical reaction caused by two bacteria,
      `Streptococcus thermopilus' and `Thermobacterium bulgaricum'. Yoghurt
      is made at home by adding a little old yoghurt to milk as a culture.

      According to the Larousse Gastronomique, however, the ancient Turks
      made their yoghurt by boiling milk and then storing it for 2-3 days in
      closed containers made of leather or clay. Again from Larousse
      Gastronomique we learn that yoghurt first arrived in France in the
      time of Francois I. During the Ottoman period an Istanbul Jewish
      doctor is known to have used yoghurt to treat this French king's
      intestinal complaint and to have returned to Istanbul without
      divulging the secret formula. Yoghurt is not only rich in vitamin B,
      protein and calcium, it is also easy to digest. Medically, it is
      believed to be very useful for promoting development of the flora
      needed by the intestines. Although yoghurt spread throughout the
      world, more precisely to the West, thanks to
      the First World War, it has still not caught on in western cuisine.


      Yoghurt is an integral part of everyday life in Anatolia. Under the
      conditions of nomadic life, the Turks developed yoghurt into a virtual
      fast food. Techniques for drying yoghurt to a powder, for example,
      storing it in cloth bags and reconstituting
      it with water when needed were passed from nomadic to sedentary

      The best of example of this is tarhana, the world's first soup mix,
      which was made in Anatolia. Tarhana arose from the need to be able to
      preserve yoghurt. Tarhana soup is believed to have originated from a
      process of reducing wheat to flour and mixing it with milk in the form
      of yoghurt and then drying it to a powder that could be stored for
      years. There are an estimated 150 varieties of this soup in Anatolia.


      Turks use yoghurt in the preparation of hot soups and other dishes. In
      fact, yoghurt separates when heated. But this can be prevented by
      mixing it with a little egg white or yolk or a small amount of
      cornstarch. As well as aiding digestion, the yoghurt used in hot
      dishes leaves a refreshing taste on the palate, unlike the cream used
      in the West, which is very filling. Gaziantep specialties like
      yuvalama, alinazik, siveydiz and garlic soup all testify to the
      miracle that the addition of yoghurt can work.


      Several varieties of yoghurt are encountered in Anatolia. Among them I
      would only like to describe the `burnt yoghurt' peculiar to the
      Denizli region, which has an extraordinary smoky flavor. The producer,
      Tekin Bey, describes the making of this yoghurt as follows: "Pour some
      milk into a copper kettle and heat very hot.

      To this burnt milk, add the milk that is to be made into yoghurt and
      boil. When it reaches 41 degrees, the culture will `work'. Remove from
      the heat and wait for the yoghurt to form." The smoky taste produced
      by burning the milk is, to my mind, an extraordinary gastronomic

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