Yogurt tenderizes the protein in flour, resulting in soft-to-the-bite muffins, pastries or cakes. Its slightly acidic flavor adds a bit of tang.
Yogurt is a cultured milk product that is soured and thickened by the action of adding specific lactic acid-producing cultures (Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus) to pasteurized milk.
- You can prevent curdling when using yogurt in hot dishes by adding the yogurt as late as possible during preparation, heating gradually and stirring gently.
- If separation occurs in yogurt while it’s in its container, you can gently stir the liquid back into the yogurt.
- If yogurt is not heat-treated after it is produced, the bacterial cultures will remain active.
Plain Yogurt is unflavored yogurt made from pasteurized nonfat, low-fat or whole milk. Regular yogurt contains no less than 3.25 percent milkfat, low-fat yogurt contains between 0.5 percent and 2 percent milkfat and nonfat yogurt contains no more than 0.5 grams milkfat per serving. Plain yogurt is available in 8-, 16-, 24- and 32-ounce containers.
Flavored Yogurt is sweetened and flavored with fruit or other flavors. It is not generally used in baking.
- Buttermilk or sour cream, due to their high acid content, make the best substitutions for yogurt in baking. When substituting buttermilk for yogurt in a recipe, use a little less due to the higher water content.
- When substituting yogurt for milk in baking, don’t add any of the baking soda called for in the recipe unless the recipe’s list of ingredients includes brown sugar, molasses, or honey. In that case, use the amount called for in the recipe.
To make yogurt cheese, a silky, creamy cheese that can cut fat in baked goods, simply drain nonfat plain yogurt through cheesecloth that’s been placed over a bowl in the refrigerator for 24 hours. After one day, you’ll have a deliciously creamy cheese that’s much sweeter than original plain yogurt. Depending on how long it’s drained, yogurt cheese can resemble sour cream or a lighter cream cheese. It can be used in place of cream cheese in most cheesecake recipes. It can also be used as a base for dips or as a spread for bagels and crackers.
Yogurt Crème Chantilly
Whip 1/2 cup heavy cream with 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Fold into 2/3 cup soft drained yogurt cheese (see above). Serve right away or cover and refrigerate a few hours. Serve with scones or fresh fruit such as strawberries or peaches, or use as a filling for cakes.
Yogurt Fruit Dip
Softly whip 1/2 cup cream and fold into 3/4 cup whole milk yogurt. Sprinkle 1/4 cup brown sugar over the surface, cover bowl and refrigerate until the sugar melts. To serve, swirl the sugary syrup through the yogurt-cream mixture. This is an ideal accompaniment to fresh berries, poached pears, apples or peaches, and even cakes.