Bulgarian yogurt is known all over the world for the qualities of its taste.
For the people around the world it is a delicacy and for Bulgarian people it is part of their daily menu, which is always present on the table.
What is Bulgarian yogurt ?
Bulgarian people use yogurt to make many dishes. The yogurt is included into the composition of recipes for soups, salads, desserts, garnishes, etc. Yogurt can be made at home as long as you follow certain basic rules.
But what makes Bulgaria different from other countries and what causes the fact that only here, this small country on the Balkan Peninsula offers the most delicious yogurt in the world?
The reason lies in a small bacterium known by different names, but it is most often called Lactobacillus bulgaricus.
It causes the fermentation of milk and its superb taste. Its discoverer is the remarkable Bulgarian bacteriologist Dr. Stamen Grigorov.
What is History of Bulgarian yogurt ?
Stamen Grigorov was born in the village of Studen Izvor in Tran area in 1878. The homeland of Grigorov – the region of Tran, is famous throughout the country for its delicious yogurt.
Ever since he was a child, Grigorov was strongly attracted to nature and science, and the teachers at school were impressed by the ease with which he absorbed the material.
The professor was impressed by the young Bulgarian and tolerated him, and he even appointed him as his assistant. This was a great opportunity for Grigorov because it gave him access to the professor’s laboratory, which was one of the best equipped laboratories of its time.
And there he made his greatest discovery! At that time – about the beginning of the twentieth century, the purpose of Stamen Grigorov was to understand which microorganism caused the fermentation of milk.
At the same time, by the initiative of Pasteur’s Institute in Paris, whose director was the emigrant bacteriologist from Russia, Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov, a survey was carried out around the world about the number of centenarians and their share of the population of each country. Surprisingly, it appeared that most centenarians lived in Bulgaria.
By the way of logic, Mechnikov concluded that the cause for their longevity lied in the daily consumption of Bulgarian yogurt. This raised the question – how to make yogurt in other countries.
How to Make Bulgarian yogurt ?
In order to make yogurt at home, you will need milk and some yogurt for ferment (1 tablespoon yogurt will be enough for a liter of milk).
Boil the milk in advance and let it cool to a temperature of about 42-45° C.
If you don’t have a thermometer, you can dip your little finger in the milk. It is suitable for souring if it is not hot and has a pleasant warm temperature.
- Pour the boiled milk in a pot, leaving about 50 grams aside.
- Prepare the ferment in another small bowl. Mix the yogurt with the rest of the milk and stir.
- Add the ferment to the warm milk and stir.
- Cover the container with a cloth to keep the heat and leave for 3-4 hours, check it from time to time.
- Remove the towel and leave the milk to cool after you make sure that the milk has fermented
Milk should not be allowed to ferment longer, as it will become too sour and won’t have a pleasant taste.
The ready yogurt can be consumed directly or can be included in other meals – tarator (cucumber soup), salad, buttermilk, desserts, etc. The milk has best taste qualities when it is cold.
Original starters for Bulgarian yogurt
The original starters for Bulgarian yogurt are symbiotic co-cultures of Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus strains isolated from natural sources.
Bulgarian yogurt contains very high numbers of viable bacterial cells: at least 100 million S.thermophilus and 10 million L.bulgaricus cells per 1 gram.
The number of viable bacterial cells is a strict requirement of the Bulgarian State Standard 12:2010. To preserve the symbiotic relationship between the two bacteria in the starter for Bulgarian yogurt, selected combinations of strains are co-cultured together for many years.
This makes this yogurt different from other fermented milks where the strains are cultured separately.