Yogurt is a thick and creamy product most commonly made from cow's milk, but milk from goats can also be turned into the creamy treat. Goat's milk yogurt contains the same type of fermentation bacteria as cow's milk yogurt, and the finished product has a similar texture and taste. Some people who are intolerant of cow's milk are able to eat goat's milk yogurt with no issues despite the fact that goat's milk contains lactose, a common allergen.
Goat's milk is sweeter and saltier to taste than cow's milk. This extra sweetness means that goat's milk yogurt often does not need to have sugars added to it to achieve the desirable yogurt sweetness. The milk also contains more water and so may need to be concentrated prior to making yogurt from it.
The fats naturally present in the milk do not rise to the top of the liquid like the cream in cow's milk does. Instead, the fat remains distributed through the liquid milk. Goat's milk is fattier than cow's milk, but it contains about the same amount of calcium and calories.
Typical fermentation bacteria that goat's milk producers add in order to make yogurt are similar to those used in common cow's milk. Lactobacillus bulgaricus, L. acidophilus, and Streptococcus thermophilus are some of the fermenters. These bacteria break down the components of the milk to form the yogurt's texture and flavor. Substances such as pectin or tapioca may be added to boost the thickness of the yogurt.
Many flavors of goat's milk yogurts are available on the market. Some yogurts have no sugars added, but some contain extra sugars, such as honey, for flavor. Fruits can also form part of a yogurt product, as can flavorings like vanilla. Goat's milk yogurt can also be live, which means that it contains high levels of live bacteria in the finished product.
Although goats have been domesticated for about 10,000 years, according to the American Dairy Goat Association, in the Western world, cow's milk is much more commonly available. As well as yogurt, goat's milk can make cheese and ice creams in the same manner as cow's milk products. An advantage to goat's milk and its yogurt product is that it can be more easily metabolized by some people who suffer health issues when they drink cow's milk. This may be due to certain proteins in cow's milk being less common in goat's milk. Lactose, a significant allergen in cow's milk, is, however, still present in goat's milk.