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Matsoni is a fermented milk product which consists of macrobiotic bacteria. It is especially popular in Georgian and Armenian cuisines, but has also expanded to North America and Japan. This product is well noted for its excellent health benefits, such as replenishing good bacteria in the body and promoting healthy digestion.
In Armenia and Georgia matsoni, also referred to as matson or matsoon, is used to make a variety of nourishing soups and dishes. One well-known Georgian dish made with matsoni is called khachapuri, or Georgian cheese bread. This recipe calls for a significant amount of the yogurt, along with other dairy products such as eggs, butter, cream cheese, and mozzarella cheese. The bread is made using whole wheat flour, baking powder, and salt.
Many North American enthusiasts of matsoni are also those who enjoy making their own yogurt at home. Creating matsoni from scratch is a relatively simple process. One half of a cup (118 milliliters) of fresh raw milk or pasteurized milk is heated to 160 degrees Fahrenheit or more (71 degrees Celsius or more). The milk is allowed to cool to room temperature. Next, half a teaspoon (4.8 grams) of matsoni starter is added. The mixture is then left alone for at least 6, and no more than 24, hours. It becomes the starter batch of the yogurt culture, and will ferment as it remains at room temperature.
Making this product at home can save money for those who regularly consume yogurt. Buying organic yogurt every week can leave a noticeable dent in one's food budget. Matsoni can be made at a fraction of the price using organic whole milk or soy milk. The mixture thickens on its own, so there is no need to spend money on expensive skim milk powder or gelatin.
Caspian sea yogurt is what the Japanese call this product. It became wildly successful in Japan because the Japanese believe that eating the yogurt can prolong life. Dr. Mori Yukio, Professor Emeritus of Tokyo University, first introduced matsoni to Japan. He brought it from Georgia after his research showed that a village of people who consistently ate the yogurt lived longer than other people in the country. Today, the Japanese market has many products for matsoni including special yogurt makers called casupimeka and caspian sea yogurt powder.
The abundance of good bacteria in this yogurt, such as actobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus and streptococcus thermophilus, makes it a rich probiotic source. Probiotic materials aid in digestion. They also prevent harmful bacteria, such as candida, from proliferating inside the body.