Yogurt, also spelled as yoghurt, is a dairy food created by fermenting bacteria that is present in milk, and it comes in many different varieties. Plain yogurt refers to types that are not flavored. Varieties that are fruit-flavored typically have pieces of fruit mixed with it, such as blueberry, strawberry or banana. Many people enjoy frozen yogurt as a substitute for ice cream. Types vary depending on where they are made.
Though all types are nutritious, plain yogurt tends to be more rich in nutrients than its fruit-flavored counterparts. There is no sugar added to plain varieties, and while it is less caloric than fruit-flavored versions, it is richer in calcium and contains nearly twice as much protein. Plain yogurt is usually made from cow's milk, but it can also be made from sheep's milk or goat's milk. Unflavored types vary depending on whether the type of milk used in making it is whole, low fat, or nonfat.
Fruit-flavored yogurt is popular because of its taste, but its sugar content tends to be high. Because its consistency resembles custard, it is sometimes called custard-style. Varieties flavored with fruit may also be referred to as French-style or Swiss-style.
People who are lactose intolerant can still enjoy yogurt because of changes that occur during fermentation. The process of making this product actually creates an enzyme, lactase, which is needed by lactose-intolerant people in order to properly digest dairy products. This is why some people prefer frozen yogurt over ice cream. Frozen versions, however, contain roughly the same amount of fat and sugar as ice cream, and freezing it destroys the majority of the live bacteria that promote good health.
Yogurt is made and enjoyed all over the world. European-style is particularly creamy and smooth because it is made in big vats where the curds can be stirred well. Greek versions, which are strained three times while they are being made, resembles sour cream in their smoothness and thick consistency.
Skyr, or Icelandic yogurt, isn't actually yogurt at all but an extremely soft, nonfat cheese. Dahi is a version from India that comes in sweet and sour varieties and is frequently eaten as a dessert or as an appetizer. Raita is a sauce for dipping that is made from dahi. Zabadi is a type from the Middle East that is popular in drinks. The fat content of Rahmjoghurt, a creamy German yogurt, tends to be around 10% higher than that of other versions made and sold in Western countries.