A good natural yoghurt is one of life's simplest, yet most pleasing foods; the chalky creaminess cut by its clean, refreshing, mild acidity. Throughout the Middle East and France, more jellied "set" yoghurt gets the thumbs up. In the UK, a slacker, creamier consistency seems to be the majority preference.
Nuances among yoghurts made with different milks are interesting – snowy-white goat's milk, sharper sheep's milk yoghurt, and buffalo milk yoghurt, which tastes like a richer version of the standard cow's milk. Taste differences among brands are marked too. Our shelves are loaded with low-fat yoghurts, but full-fat will always win out for its superior flavour and texture. Low-fat yoghurts often have starches, gums, even gelatine added to improve the texture once the fat is removed.
The health benefits of the lactic bacteria in yoghurt are well known. These include immune system support; less constipation, stomach acidity and diarrhoea; lower body fat; protection against food poisoning bugs; stronger bones and fresher breath. A highly nutritious food, providing appetite-satisfying protein, and a clutch of vitamins and minerals, unsweetened yoghurt makes an extremely healthy snack. Don't pour off the whey liquid that separates from the milk solids – it's full of protein. Organic milk is more nutritious than the non-organic equivalent.