If you have eaten Turkish food often, you will have found that yogurt is almost always a part of the meal. For thousands of years, yogurt has been an essential ingredient in the Turkish cuisine. Whether it is consumed plain, as a side dish or a dish whose main ingredient is yogurt, yogurt is an indispensable element during Turkish meals. Whereas many countries know yogurt mainly as a dessert or breakfast dish, in Turkey yogurt is used to make soups, dressings, sweets, drinks and many more dishes.
Actually, yogurt originates from Turkey and the Turkish were the first to make yogurt many years ago. Since in that time many Turkish were nomads, they developed different ways to preserve their food for long trips. And this resulted in milk being made into yogurt.
Looking at the different types of yogurt, they can be classified into three different groups in Turkey depending on the production method. First, there is the regular yogurt, where initially milk is boiled and then it´s left to cool down after which two teaspoons of starter yogurt are added. Then the container is closed and placed between towels so that the milk stays warm and the fermentation keeps going for about 4 to 5 hours. Second, there is the Silivri yogurt, which is typical for the Istanbul area and it´s produced with only lamb´s milk. The Silivri yogurt is very firm, creamy and tasty. Here the lamb´s milk is boiled in large cauldrons before it´s emptied into a container in a way that it develops foam. Then these containers are placed above a fire and the yogurt is left to sit there. Because of the heat, a harder and creamy top is created. When the containers are cooled down, yogurt yeast is injected with syringes into the mixtures from all four corners. Then the containers are sealed again and left to settle for 4 to 5 hours. Your Silivri yogurt is ready! Finally, there is strained yogurt. A similar procedure is used for producing strained yogurt as for the Silivri yogurt, however, the creamy top is removed and the yogurt that is left is placed in woven cloth bags. These bags are then hung at a height so that the liquid drops out. Then, the strained yogurt is put into tin containers. What is distinctive for strained yogurt is that it doesn´t contain vitamin B, since this ingredient leaves the yogurt with the liquid as it is strained off.
No matter their production methods, all these yogurts are delicious and very typical for the Turkish cuisine. In fact, it is almost impossible to find a Turkish family that won´t have yogurt in the fridge. In addition, the Turkish people believe that yogurt is a healthy ingredient with the ability to clean the body from toxins and poisons, all the more reason to have this as a key element of many dishes!
What is your favorite Turkish dish with yogurt? We would love to read about it in the comments section!