Bulgarian "sour milk" is a unique product. (it differs from the commonly known yogurt) It's taste difference depends on the region, the type of milk and the time of the fermentation.
It's tradition is a thousand years old, and the country's customs are still alive in the most important part of the Bulgarian state and before it. Here are some facts related to the history of Bulgarian yogurt:
Yogurt has been known to man since ancient times. The Thracians, who lived in our lands, found that yogurt kept much longer than fresh milk. They found that by adding yogurt to fresh milk, a product called sour milk or "prokish" was obtained.
The distinctive difference of the Bulgarian sourdough starters for yogurt, which distinguishes them from the sourdough starters used in the production of yogurt in other countries, is the fact that in the Bulgarian sourdough starters there is a permanent symbiotic relationship between the two types of bacteria (Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus). It is the symbiosis that is responsible for the difference between the taste and aroma of Bulgarian yogurt compared to sour milks produced with sourdoughs, isolated and created outside our country.
The sedentary lifestyle of the Bulgarians created even greater conveniences for obtaining yogurt. They adopted the tradition left by the Thracians of heating the milk over a fire and fermenting it in clay and wooden vessels instead of leather sacks, realizing that after boiling and fermenting with old yogurt, a tastier yogurt was obtained.
Dr. Stamen Grigorov - the discoverer of lactobacillus bulgaricus - the most beneficial bacteria for health:
The biggest advantage of yogurt is that it is a supplier of amino acids or proteins for the body, which are the building blocks of our body. The growing and regenerating body has a special need for them. Unlike fresh milk, yogurt has a big advantage - its protein chains are shorter, so they are digested more easily and quickly.
To make yogurt at home, you need fresh milk, as well as a little yogurt for leavening (1 tablespoon of yogurt is needed for a liter of fresh milk). Pre-boil the fresh milk 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. The milk is suitable for fermentation, if not steamed, but at a pleasant temperature.
Pour 1l. boiled milk into clay pots, leaving about 50 grams aside. In another small bowl prepare the "sourdough" 2-3 tablespoons of "alive" yogurt.
Mix the yogurt and add it as a sourdough to the warm milk and stir. Cover the bowl with a towel and wool blanket to retain heat and leave for 2-3 hours, checking occasionally. When you are sure that the milk has fermented, unwrap the towel and let it cool in the fridge or better in a cellar if you have one in the house. The milk should not be allowed to ferment for a long time, as it will become too sour and will not have a pleasant taste. Ready-made yogurt can be consumed directly or included in other recipes - tarator, salad, airyan, dessert, etc. It tastes best when chilled and it is a perfect addition to every "healthy meal".
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