As a kid growing up in my native Venezuela, the only type of yogurt, I knew was creamy yogurt. I didn't even know it was called Greek.
As I went to college in the USA, I came across other types of yogurt, like Bulgarian.
Yogurt is one of the most popular foods worldwide, enjoyed nearly everywhere you find breathing humans.
It has been around forever, and folks all over the place consume it because of its ease of preparation and nutritional value.
Greek and Bulgarian yogurt have both seen increases in popularity in recent years. We will compare their nutritional value, flavor, and texture.
But let's move on before we both fall asleep.
The Battle of the Yogurts: A Comprehensive Comparison of Bulgarian Yogurt Vs. Greek Yogurt
Introduction to yogurt
Yogurt is a dairy food made from the fermentation of milk.
It goes through a fermentation process when yogurt makers stir a starter culture into milk.
The microscopic critters convert the lactose into lactic acid.
But don't ask me how that happens. I fell asleep in that biology class. This process gives yogurt its sour taste and thick consistency.
Yogurt has many nutrients, including protein, calcium, and beneficial microorganisms, that can improve gut health and boost immunity.
Those yeast cultures called probiotics, work wonders in maintaining healthy gut flora.
Types of yogurt
There are many types of yogurt mainly traditional Cow's milk Yogurt, Bulgarian Yogurt, Goat's milk Yogurt, Icelandic Yogurt(Skyr), French-style Yogurt, Kefir(liquid) Yogurt, Greek Yogurt, and many types of plant-milk Yogurt like Almond Yogurt, Cashew Yogurt, Coconut Yogurt, and Soy Yogurt.
In this article we only compare Greek yogurt with Bulgarian yogurt, touching briefly on Icelandic and Australian yogurt characteristics.
What is Bulgarian yogurt?
Bulgarian yogurt, also known as kiselo mlyako, is a type of yogurt that originated in Bulgaria.
The secret to the unique Bulgarian yogurt is these two strains of long-winded, weird-sounding bacteria names: Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilous.
These live cultures are unique to Bulgaria and are responsible for giving Bulgarian yogurt its distinct taste and consistency.
How do they keep those Bulgarian cultures from escaping to other countries? I don't know.
The fact is that Bulgarian yogurt is known for its high protein content.
Many athletes and health nuts all over the place love the stuff. It gets lots of love.
What is Greek Yogurt?
Greek yogurt comes from fermenting milk with bacterial strains related to Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus.
Greek yogurt, or "strained yogurt," is filtered to remove the whey.
The straining process, usually done using cheesecloth, gives Greek yogurt its thick and creamy consistency.
The term "Greek" refers mostly to its consistency and thickness.
Nutritional Comparison Between Bulgarian and Greek Yogurt
Bulgarian and Greek yogurt offer a lot of nutrients to health buffs like us.
But watch out. There are some differences in their nutritional values.
Bulgarian yogurt is higher in protein than Greek yogurt.
The University of Rochester experts tell us that an eight-ounce cup of Bulgarian yogurt will add about twelve grams of protein to your daily needs.
Greek yogurt would provide ten grams of protein for your daily needs.
Since we should keep our daily sugar intake low, Bulgarian yogurt is our friend here since it is also lower in sugar than Greek yogurt.
An eight-ounce cup of Bulgarian yogurt tips the scale at about four grams of white sweet poison, while Greek yogurt contains about six grams.
Because of the straining process, Greek yogurt has a lower lactose concentration than Bulgarian yogurt.
How do milk and starter cultures differ in yogurt varieties?
Cow's milk is the main ingredient in Greek yogurt.
The type of milk you use to make your favorite yogurt makes all the difference in your dairy snack's taste and texture.
The ferment cultures used in manufacturing Greek yogurt are the same as those used in standard yogurt making, but the straining process gives Greek yogurt its thick and creamy texture.
The truth is Greek yogurt sold in America does not come from Greece. It comes from regular cow's milk in America. The term "Greek" refers mostly to its consistency and thickness.
The yogurt starter cultures used in yogurt production give yogurt its tangy taste and creamy texture.
The bacteria used in traditional Bulgarian yogurt are Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus.
These bacteria are unique to Bulgarian yogurt and give it that taste and texture.
Also, traditional Bulgarian yogurt makers preferred sheep's milk for their yogurt formulas.
The importance of beneficial bacteria in yogurt
Beneficial bacteria or Probiotics are vital for a healthy gut. Probiotics enhance digestion, boost immunity, and crush inflammation.
I discovered how destroying your gut flora by taking too many antibiotics can lead to terrible health problems.
Back in the 2020 pandemic, with little health care available, I overcame serious digestive issues by taking liquid probiotic yogurt.
Yogurt is an excellent source of probiotics, containing millions of live cultures per serving.
The bacteria used in yogurt production can vary depending on the type of yogurt.
Bulgarian yogurt contains two specific strains of bacteria, giving it a distinct flavor and density.
Greek yogurt contains the same bacteria as standard yogurt, but the straining process increases the concentration of bacteria per serving.
Taste and Texture Comparison between Bulgarian and Greek Yogurt
Bulgarian yogurt and Greek yogurt have different tastes and textures.
Bulgarian yogurt has a sharp, slightly sour taste and is creamy and smooth. It is thinner than Greek yogurt.
It is easier to mix and blend with other ingredients.
Greek yogurt has a sharp, aromatic taste with a thick, creamy texture. It is denser than Bulgarian yogurt.
What is the finest yogurt type for probiotics and protein?
Both Bulgarian yogurt and Greek yogurt are sources of healthy bacteria and protein.
However, Bulgarian yogurt is higher in protein and contains two specific strains of bacteria unique to Bulgaria.
Greek yogurt is lower in lactose and has a higher concentration of bacteria per serving.
When choosing yogurt for good bacteria and protein, look for a yogurt product labeled high in pro and prebiotics.
That way, you will consume a high-quality product with a high beneficial live culture concentration.
Other types of yogurt: Icelandic and Australian yogurt
In addition to Bulgarian and Greek yogurt, you can find other types of yogurt, like Icelandic and Australian yogurt.
Icelandic yogurt, also known as Skyr, is a type of strained yogurt thicker than Greek yogurt. It is high in protein and low in sugar, making it the logical choice for many health enthusiasts.
Australian yogurt is made with whole milk and honey, hailing from down under.
Conclusion on the Battle of the Yogurts
Bulgarian yogurt and Greek yogurt are delicious and nutritious foods with many health benefits.
They might have different tastes and textures, but both are excellent sources of probiotics and protein.
When choosing a yogurt, look closely at the quality of the milk, the presence of sugar and harmful preservatives, and the starter cultures used.
Making yogurt at home saves money and guarantees high quality.
For us vegans, home yogurt also guarantees that the yogurt only includes plant-origin ingredients.
Finally, your choice between Bulgarian and Greek yogurt comes down to personal preference and dietary needs. If you were looking for us the declare a clear winner in this battle, sorry. Your taste buds will declare the winner.
Get out there and start buying and testing different kinds of yogurts. or even better, whip up your own with one of our vegan yogurt recipes.