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What Is Bulgarian Yogurt?

By Eugene P.
Updated May 16, 2024
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Bulgarian yogurt, called kiselo mlyako in Bulgaria, is a type of yogurt that is formed from two specific types of starter bacteria. Although the process of creating Bulgarian yogurt is identical to that of making other yogurts, it is unique because of the exclusive inclusions of only the two distinct cultures. The yogurt also is not traditionally made from cow’s milk but instead uses sheep’s milk, buffalo milk or goat’s milk. Some believe the Bulgarian variety of yogurt has exceptional health benefits that could allow someone to live a longer life. The cultures used in Bulgarian yogurt are not exclusive to the country and the yogurt can be produced anywhere.

For thousands of years, Bulgarian yogurt has been made and eaten. The two types of starter bacteria that make it Bulgarian are Lactobacillus delbrueckii, subspecies bulgaricus, and Streptococcus salivarius, subspecies thermophilus. Most yogurts produced around the world have these two bacteria in them, but the difference with Bulgarian yogurt is that they are the only two starters used. Some Bulgarians believe the cultures in the country that are used to make new yogurt are actually the same ones that have been used for generations.

Bulgarian yogurt was originally made from sheep’s milk. It came over time to be made with many other kinds of milk, including cow, buffalo and goat. Each of the different types of milk has different properties and can generate different textures of yogurt.

Bulgarian buffalo milk yogurt has some special properties. It is low in water content, so it is thicker than cow’s milk yogurts. It also is able to carry beneficial bacteria into the intestinal tract more efficiently than yogurts made from other types of milk. Buffalo milk yogurt is easy to spot, because the milk lacks carotene, making it a very bright white in color.

It is possible to make Bulgarian yogurt anywhere in the world, even at home. The cultures used to start making the yogurt are available and can be easily purchased. The process of making it is identical to the process used in other yogurts, except no other bacteria can be allowed to enter the milk.

Like all yogurts, Bulgarian yogurt has many health benefits. Some of these include improved digestive health, a reduced risk of osteoporosis and a reduced risk of high blood pressure. The Bulgarian variety also has a large amount of good bacteria called probiotics that can help to remove harmful bacteria from the intestines.

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Discussion Comments

By donasmrs — On May 25, 2013

@burcinc-- I'm quite sure I saw Bulgarian yogurt at the grocery store, in fact by a popular yogurt brand.

If you don't find any at your grocery store, try European groceries, they usually carry Bulgarian yogurt and cheese. I get my Bulgarian sheep's milk yogurt and cheese from an international grocery.

You can use Bulgarian yogurt as a culture, but you can also buy the culture at online stores. I'm not sure which is better though.

By stoneMason — On May 24, 2013

I started eating Bulgarian yogurt a couple of years ago for the probiotic benefits. Bulgarian yogurt has an extremely high amount of beneficial bacteria. All yogurt has good bacteria, but Bulgarian yogurt has much more than regular yogurt.

I used to have a lot of gastro-intestinal problems before due to long-term antibiotic use. Antibiotics kill good bacteria in the gut. Ever since I started eating Bulgarian yogurt, these symptoms have disappeared.

By burcinc — On May 23, 2013

Where do I get Bulgarian yogurt?

And can I use this yogurt as a starter to make Bulgarian yogurt at home?

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