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What Is Balkan-Style Yogurt?

A man making Balkan-style yogurt.
Balkan-style yogurt can be made from a variety of different milks.
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  • Written By: C.B. Fox
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 26 August 2014
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Balkan-style yogurt, which is often called set-style yogurt, is any type of yogurt that is allowed to ferment inside individual containers rather than in a large vat. This type of yogurt is commonly seen in stores and is nearly always used for yogurt that is packaged with fruit on the bottom. The process for making Balkan-style yogurt is similar to that of making stirred or Swiss-style yogurt except that Balkan-style yogurt is packaged just after the bacterial culture is added rather than after the yogurt is fully fermented.

Like other types of yogurt, Balkan-style yogurt starts out as raw milk. Though cow's milk is the most common type used to make yogurt, milk from sheep, goats, yaks, and camels can also be used. The milk intended for yogurt that is mass produced for distribution through grocery stores is often pasteurized to kill off unwanted microorganisms. This helps make the yogurt safer for human consumption and, at the same time, allows the desired yogurt culture to reproduce in the yogurt without having to compete with other microbes. The milk is often homogenized as well in order to prevent the cream from separating out of the yogurt as it ferments.

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After the milk has been properly prepared, the next step in making any type of yogurt is to allow the milk to cool. Once the milk is at the proper temperature, bacteria are added. At this point, Balkan-style yogurt is transferred to its final container which may be a small plastic or glass cup. Once it has been placed in this container, it is not handled again until it is ready to eat. In the case of Balkan-style fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt, the fruit is placed in the bottom of the container before the yogurt is placed inside.

Once the yogurt has been placed in the container, it is given time to ferment. The bacteria needs to grow inside the milk, consuming lactose and excreting lactic acid, a process that makes the yogurt sour and thick. Once the yogurt has fermented, it is placed in cold storage until it is eaten.

Simple to make, Balkan-style yogurt is popular as both a homemade and a commercially produced yogurt. It thickens evenly and sets up more firmly than stirred-style yogurt. As it is cultured in individual containers, Balkan-style yogurt can be produced less expensively because large vats that must be thoroughly cleaned between uses are not needed.

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anon947627
Post 8

Yes homemade yogurt tastes way better and so easy to make. I use 3 percent because the skim milks are full of chemicals which actually make you fat and fats actually help you lose weight because our bodies require healthy fats (ones found in animal olive oil avocado coconut fats) for optimum metabolism function. I sweeten mine with fruits or and unpasteurized honey and make smoothies.

ElizaBennett
Post 7

I've heard of the Greek style, but Balkan style is new to me. I'll have to keep an eye out for it. My kids and I eat a lot of yogurt. (Not everyone realizes that babies can have whole milk yogurt as early as six or seven months. Cultured dairy is easier for them to digest than regular milk.)

I only buy plain yogurt because to me, the flavored just has too much sugar. For the babies, I just mix in pureed fruit. For myself, I like to mix in cocoa powder, a smidge of sugar, and a drop of vanilla to make my own chocolate yogurt. Yummmm.

Or if I happen to have some good strawberry or other nice jam flavor around, sometimes I will mix that into the plain yogurt. Similar to fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt, but again, not as much sugar as the big producers use.

golf07
Post 6

I like just about any kind of yogurt and have eaten a lot of Balkan-style yogurt and more recently, some Greek yogurt.

There are so many digestive benefits from eating yogurt on a regular basis. Eating a cup of yogurt is such a healthy, inexpensive snack that also keeps you full.

We have a local dairy that makes the best yogurt. Every season they make their seasonal favorites that you can't find anywhere else.

I have never made my own yogurt because it is so convenient to purchase it at the store. There are so many flavors to choose from that you can go for 2 weeks without repeating any flavors.

I have my favorites, but also like to have a variety. Having the fruit on the bottom to mix in is another easy way to get fruit in my diet too.

bagley79
Post 5

My dad is in his 80's and over the last couple of years has lost 50 pounds from what he calls his yogurt diet.

Losing this weight has been intentional and he feels much better physically from this weight loss.

Instead of eating an evening meal, he just eats a container of balkan-style yogurt. He likes the ones that have fruit mixed in, but really enjoys having so many different flavors to choose from.

Sometimes he will add some granola on top so there is a little bit more protein and some crunch.

This has been a slow weight loss and so far he is not tired of eating yogurt every day. I am sure this has also helped with any digestive problems he might have had as well.

whiteplane
Post 4

I have always preferred Balkan style yogurt to Greek or other styles of yogurt. Its hard to put my finger on exactly what is so unique and delicious about this particular type of yogurt but it definitely has a leg up. Maybe it is just the ubiquity. Balkan style yogurt is the most common kind and the type that most people start off eating so perhaps the familiarity makes it taste better.

Regardless, I love it. I like fruit and yogurt but I don't like the kind that comes pre-maid from the store. It is so easy to make yourself that I usually just buy plain yogurt and then mix in whatever fruits or nuts that I think sounds good. Its so good this way and you get a lot less sugar than you do with the processed stuff.

candyquilt
Post 3

@burcinc-- I agree, Balkan-style and Greek yogurt are two of my favorites. Balkan style is even better because it can be used to make so many things. I haven't tried making shakes with them, so I will definitely try it out next week when I start my new workout class.

Balkan-style yogurt is really good for desserts though. My friend made a low-fat cheesecake with it and it was really good, did not taste low-fat at all! I've also made fruit parfaits and frozen yogurt with it. My kids are a fan!

The brand I buy is also selling 100 gram containers of it now. I'm so happy because now I can take it to work as a snack too.

burcinc
Post 2

Balkan-style yogurt is so good! I buy a large container of it from the organic store and use it to make post-workout shakes. It's really good with granola and fruit as breakfast too. I think this yogurt tastes better than regular yogurt and it's very thick. The kind I buy is also very high in protein and low in fat, so it's the perfect yogurt for me since I'm trying to loose a couple of pounds.

I haven't tried it yet but I think it would also be a great base to make tzatziki sauce and as a replacement for mayo in sandwiches since it's pretty creamy.

serenesurface
Post 1

My mom makes Balkan-style yogurt at home. My family consumes a lot of yogurt so it is much cheaper to make it at home than to buy it. I've seen my mom make yogurt many times and making Balkan-style yogurt is probably the easiest way to make it.

She first boils the milk which is usually full-fat or 2%. She told me that when she lived on my grandfather's farm, they would take the milk directly from the cows and boil it for yogurt. Boiling actually pasteurizes the milk because the heat kills the bacteria. After boiling, she just leaves the milk to cool down until it is barely warm and pours into multiple plastic containers. Then she mixes a couple of spoons of yogurt into the containers, closes the lids and covers them with a blanket.

After about six hours, the containers are put in the fridge and the next day we have fresh yogurt ready to eat! It's so easy isn't it?

Recently, my mom has been making yogurt using probiotic yogurt and the results are amazing. This Balkan-style yogurt is even better than the store-bought kind. It's delicious!

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