The history of yogurt follows that of milk, whichis its source ingredient. The fermented milk iscalled yoğurt in Turkish, which is taken from theroot word yoğurmak, meaning “to knead ormould,” according to Prof. Dr. Ayşe Baysal in“Yogurt: A Globalizing Turkish Food,” publishedon the Turkish Cultural Foundation website.
When milking animals, the process of fermenting dairybecame an integral part of it. In Prof. Baysal’sarticle, historians credit the nomadic people of Central Asiafor developing fermented milk products such as yogurt. “InCentral Asia, where summertime temperatures reach 40 C(105 F), they noticed that milk soured/clabbered after a shorttime.” the thick and smooth stuff that rises to the top werethen strained and made into cheese, after which yogurtmaking, with its tangy goodness, was developed.
Back then, “yogurt was made and stored in animal skins, or inwooden or earthen vessels. Yogurt was also placed in an animalskin, known as a tuluk, and churned with a wooden implementmade especially for the purpose to make butter,” writesprofessor Baysal. As the Turks travelled the world, so did theproduction of yogurt spread in countries such as “Anatolia, theCaucasus, Russia, and the countries of East and CentralEurope, as well as China and India.” The Turkish immigrants’yogurt making tradition reached North America in the 18thcentury but did not yet flourish large-scale.
But it is only in 1919 when industrial yogurtmaking was introduced, in Barcelona, Spain. Itis attributed to Isaac Carasso in 1919 whoseyogurt company was called Danone, namedafter his son Daniel, according to the DairyFarmers of Canada website. That son, DanielCarasso, together with Juan Metzger “took overa small yogurt factory in the Bronx, New York” inthe 1940s. It became known as Dannon in theUnited States.
Yogurt became even more popular as the health food culture gainedground from the 1950s onwards. Now we have a wide range ofyogurts to choose from, including products like frozen yogurts andyogurt pops. Also, with Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishesbecoming known in the food world outside of their countries oforigin, so did the yogurt-based dishes in their cuisines.Yogurt Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies