Yoghurts around the world
Different cultures of fermented milks

There are many fermented milk products around the world, and often the difference between one and the other depends on the type of milk used (cow, mare, camel, donkey, buffalo, zebu, yak, ewe, goat...) and of the microorganisms used in the fermentation process.
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Four hundred different names for fermented milks have been identified throughout the world.

Kefir or kephir, probably originally from the Caucasus, is whole or reduced-fat milk that is fermented using several species of bacteria and yeasts, making it slightly fizzy and alcoholic, generally about 1%. It has a sharp and somewhat bitter flavour. It is delicious served chilled and garnished with mint leaves, or poured over fruit.

Koumiss from central Asia is effervescent, slightly acrid and contains alcohol made from yeasts. Traditionally it is made from mare's milk. Its flavour is reminiscent of white wine.

Dahi from India is a type of set yoghurt made from cow or buffalo milks.

Langfil is typically found in parts of northern Sweden. It is similar to cultured buttermilk, but much more viscous and characterised by string-like filaments.

Lassi is a popular and traditional Punjabi yoghurt-based drink of the Indian Subcontinent. It is made by blending yoghurt with water and adding Indian spices.

Leben is an Israeli milk product similar to yoghurt, though created using different cultures than those commonly found in traditional yoghurt. The product was created by Jewish settlers in the area around the beginning of the 20th century and was named leben, which is Arabic for white, the colour of the basic product.

Viili is a type of yoghurt that originated in the Nordic countries. It has a ropey, gelatinous consistency and a pleasantly mild taste resulting from lactic acid. This cultured milk product is the results of microbial action of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and a surface-growing yeast-like fungus.

Smetana is a soured cream product like crème fraîche from Central and Eastern Europe.

Ayran is a milk drink and yoghurt very popular in Turkey and Armenia. The Assyrian-Chaldeans and Kurds call it Dawe, while the Armenians use the word Tahna. It is composed of one third of yoghurt and two-thirds of lightly salted water.

Chal, or shubat is a Turkic beverage of fermented camel milk. Sparkling white with a sour flavour, it is popular in Central Asia, most particularly in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. In Kazakhstan it is known as shubat, and is a staple summer food.


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