Yoghurt is made by adding cultures to milk to make it ferment. Lactic acid from fermented lactose produces yoghurt's signature tang and curd. Australians eat on average about 7.2 kilograms of yoghurt a year and most yoghurt in Australia is sold flavoured and sweetened and with various amounts of fat. When the fat is reduced, gelatine or vegetable gum is sometimes added to simulate the thickness and creaminess of high-fat yoghurt. Concentrated skim milk powder, often added to yoghurt, increases the nutrient value. There are claims certain bacteria used to ferment the milk produce extra health benefits but research is not conclusive.
Jalna Greek Yoghurt Natural
$2.25 for 200 grams
Jalna's yoghurt is set in the pot using live cultures, whole milk and cream with no added sugar. At 10 grams of fat per 100-gram serve, Jalna's yoghurt is at the creamy end of the yoghurt spectrum but the rich flavour of whole milk with a lovely acid finish and thick curds can't be compared with its low-fat competitors. This Greek yoghurt is designed to be eaten with honey and fruit but it's also a natural for dips and as a dessert topping. Sold at supermarkets.
Mungalli Creek natural biodynamic farmhouse yoghurt
$3.09 for 200 grams
So many yoghurts sold in Australia are dosed up with sugar, have little or no fat, are artificially flavoured and coloured and are thickened with vegetable gums or gelatine that it's easy to forget what real natural yoghurt tastes like. If you need a reminder, this lovely unhomogenised yoghurt by Mungalli Creek does the trick. With a buttery yellow colour, thick curds and sharp acidity, this yoghurt has real personality and a pleasant grassy flavour. Sold at gourmet grocers, fruit markets and IGA supermarkets.
Farmers Union Greek Style Natural Yoghurt
$2.09 for 200 grams
Beautifully rich and creamy, this Greek-style yoghurt is a great starting point for people new to natural yoghurt. US research has linked probiotic yoghurt with an increase in virility in mice yet the Australian Dairy Corporation tells us 40 per cent of men have never eaten the stuff. With 9.7 grams of fat per 100-gram serve, it is rich and thick, and you can use it instead of cream, or follow the Greek model and eat it drizzled with honey. Sold at supermarkets.
Westhaven Tasmanian creamy yoghurt
$1.89 for 200 grams
Creamy, thick and rich, Westhaven yoghurt has a lovely acidity and smooth mouth feel, even with a reduced fat content (3.3 grams per 100-gram serving). There are no added thickeners so the curds are light without being gluey. Clean flavours and grassy notes evoke Tassie's lovely green pastures. Sold at organic and gourmet grocers.