Turkish yogurt is yogurt that comes from Turkey or yogurt that is made in the Turkish style. This type of yogurt is one of the most commonly eaten throughout the world and is similar in style to Balkan, or set-style, yogurt. The word yogurt appears in many different languages around the world and was borrowed from the Turkish language where it first appeared over one thousand years ago. Though Turkey is one of many countries that has a long history of making yogurt, it is believed that this food first originated there as well.
An essential part of Turkish cuisine, Turkish yogurt is served at nearly every meal. It is used as a base for soups and sauces and is often added to the top of meats, vegetables, and wraps. Salads, such as cucumber yogurt salad, frequently feature yogurt as their base, though it is often thinned with water. Sugar, spices, and dried fruits may be added to yogurt as a dessert, and it may be combined with mineral water and salt to make the popular drink Ayran.
Like many other types of yogurt, Turkish yogurt is made by adding live cultures to fresh milk. In most cases, this yogurt is made from the milk of cows, though it is possible to make it from sheep's milk or a combination of the two. Live bacteria, such as bifidobacteria or acidophilus, are added to the milk, where they consume the lactose and produce lactic acid as a waste product. In most cases, the cultures come in the form of already cultured yogurt which can be stirred into fresh milk as a starter. The cultures take about a day to transform the milk into yogurt after which the yogurt can be eaten or refrigerated.
Aside from this standard type of Turkish yogurt, there are a couple of specialty Turkish yogurts that are also commonly made. Silivri Turkish yogurt, which is primarily made in Istanbul, is made from sheep's milk that is boiled before the yogurt cultures are added. This yogurt has a creamy top because the cream separates from the rest of the milk as the yogurt is fermenting. Another type of Turkish yogurt, strained yogurt, is made from silivri yogurt from which the cream has been removed. This yogurt is strained in cheese cloth bags to remove the excess water, making it richer than normal yogurt.