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What Is Kosher Yogurt?

Man making kosher yogurt.
A bowl of yogurt.
Kosher yogurt.
A rabbi is required to certify that yogurt is kosher.
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  • Written By: C.B. Fox
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 06 August 2014
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Kosher yogurt differs from other yogurt only in that the process of making the yogurt is in accordance with Jewish dietary laws. These laws are a set of dietary restrictions followed by many people of the Jewish faith. Though the main ingredient in yogurt, milk, is kosher so long as it comes from a kosher animal, such as a cow, goat or sheep, the cultures used to turn this milk into yogurt and the additives used to give it its consistency are often derived from non-kosher sources. Kosher yogurt must also be processed on equipment that is never used for non-kosher foods.

In order for yogurt to receive kosher certification, a rabbi must inspect the ingredients and processes used. The rabbi does not make the yogurt kosher but only confirms that no non-kosher ingredients have been used and that the equipment used has not been used to process non-kosher food. There are a few different organizations that offer kosher certification, and each may follow slightly different procedures when evaluating the kosher status of a food such as yogurt.

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Yogurt contains a number of different ingredients, all of which must be reviewed for compliance with kosher rules before it can be considered kosher yogurt. The live culture used to turn milk into yogurt must be grown using nutrients taken from kosher sources in order for the resulting yogurt to be considered kosher. Cream used to add to the yogurt's fat content must be separated from milk using a method other than whey cream processing, and non-fat dried milk added to lower the yogurt's fat content cannot be dried in the same facility as non-kosher meats or cheeses. Any thickeners or stabilizers used in the yogurt, such as gelatin, must be gathered from kosher animals or plant sources.

Additionally, kosher yogurt needs to be manufactured on equipment that is only used for kosher foods during all parts of the process. The bacteria grown to add live cultures to the milk must be grown in containers that are only used for kosher-fed bacteria and the yogurt must be cultured in vats that are only used for kosher yogurt. If there is fruit added to the yogurt, it must also be processed on equipment that is not used for non-kosher foods. The difficulty of following kosher practices throughout the process of making yogurt often makes this yogurt difficult to find it in stores, though there are a few brands that follow kosher practices.

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Discuss this Article

anon338921
Post 4

Not all milk in the grocery store is kosher and there is a reason or two. First, not only does the animal have to be a kosher classified animal, it also has to be vegetarian fed. Second, how the milk is processed in the plant is also an issue, especially if any other foods are made there. A good organic, kosher yogurt is Organic Valley. All of their stuff except the packaged cheese is kosher.

fify
Post 3

@burcinc-- My parents don't believe that the milk in grocery stores are kosher. You can't really know unless you were personally there during the whole process and saw that the milk didn't mix with other non-kosher milk.

We get our milk and yogurt from a certified kosher farm. I know not everyone has kosher products available to them though. So it makes sense to make it at home yourself.

burcinc
Post 2

@burcidi-- Hey, I make my own kosher yogurt. I make it with a kosher starter that I get from online. It's a freeze-dried product that's certified kosher. I keep the starter in the freezer and it lasts me a good six months.

Some people might argue with me on this, but I'm of the opinion that all milk in stores is kosher. So that's what I use when making my kosher yogurt. The important thing is that the milk must come from a kosher animal, so there is no problem with cow milk.

I've made kosher yogurt so many times now that I'm really good at it. The end result is also really good. If you're not experienced, you can use a yogurt maker. I even made kosher frozen yogurt at home a couple of times. That turned out really good too.

burcidi
Post 1

Oh wow, I didn't know that there were so many requirements for yogurt to be kosher!

I want to pay more attention to my diet and make sure I don't have non-kosher foods. I'm having the hardest time with dairy products though, particularly milk and yogurt.

I've yet to find kosher yogurt. There aren't any Jewish groceries in my area and none of the organic markets I've checked have had kosher yogurt. I'm willing to make my own yogurt at home, but I need some kosher yogurt first as a starter. Otherwise my yogurt will not be kosher.

I really don't know what to do. Does anyone have suggestions?

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