What Is Frozen Yogurt Made Of?

Simon King
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What Is Frozen Yogurt Really Made Of?

Many think of frozen yogurt as a healthy snack, but what is frozen yogurt really made of? There’s no doubt that it’s a much healthier choice than ice cream, but it’s important to know exactly what’s going in your mouth.

Frozen yogurt usually starts with Greek yogurt, Egg Yolk, milk, sugar, and sometimes can include fruit juice or honey. So while you’re reducing the amount of saturated fat in your diet, you are also increasing the amount of sugar and calories.

Next, the mix goes into the freezer to freeze and thicken before churning. In the final stage, any extra flavorings or bits of fruit are added. These simple additions make a huge difference in the nutritional value and flavor of the end product.

Watch out for flavored frozen yogurt that may have added sugar, fat, and other unhealthy ingredients.

Yogurt Culture

The yogurt culture that is responsible for the tangy taste of yogurt, also known as "good bacteria," is a mixture of acidophilus, bifidus, and lactobacillus. These microorganisms produce an acid that gives a tart flavor and a texture somewhat like cottage cheese. Acidophilus is the primary bacterial strain, while bifidus and lactobacillus help maintain the acid for a more pleasant taste.

The yogurt culture helps to reduce the risk of diarrhea, which is caused by the growth of a different type of bacteria called pathogens. The acid probiotic reduces this risk by nourishing the body’s immune system and natural defenses.

Yogurt contains live bacteria cultures that may help to defend against the growth of bad bacteria, to stimulate the immune system, aid the digestion of lactose, reduce inflammation and ease a wide range of other chronic health problems. That is what makes yogurt such a healthy choice over other dairy products.

The acidophilus bacteria contained in yogurt can boost the immune system's resistance, help fight colds and flu, and promote digestive health. It also works to eliminate irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and diarrhea, both of which are common health problems that many people struggle with. Yogurt is also used to prevent cavities, and to lower the risk of cancer and other disorders.

Milk and Milk Products

Most frozen yogurt comes in yogurt-style cups, in sorbet-style cups, and in pre-packaged tubs. In all cases, the main ingredient is milk.

Frozen yogurt is made from yogurt typically by heating it to a temperature of 160~197°F (80~92°C) for medium-temperature products, or 172°F (77°C) for low-temperature products, then cooling it to 39~41°F (4~5°C). The milk and sugar are then added, mixed, and the mix is then flash frozen.

The low temperature produced causes the yogurt to have a much denser, creamier texture than traditional yogurt, and generally a lower fat content.

Sugar

Sugar and cream—that’s what frozen yogurt is made of (along with some yogurt culture from the dairy). There are several varieties of frozen yogurt available commercially. When you buy one of them in the supermarket, most of the time you're not eating the "real thing".

Most varieties of frozen yogurt found in supermarkets have added water or other dairy products.

They are also usually made with some sort of sweetener. Some are the usual high fructose corn syrup or sugar, but others are more exotic such as honey or agave.

The amount of water or other dairy products varies, but generally, there's much more water than actual yogurt.

Generally, commercially produced frozen yogurt contains as much or nearly as much sugar or corn syrup as other frozen desserts. That's why you should go easy with the store-bought stuff.

As an alternative, you can make your own frozen yogurt using ingredients that are more natural than the typical store-bought varieties. The recipe detailed below offers an alternative using fresh ingredients.

The process here is very similar to making a custard. The base of the custard is the flavored yogurt.

In addition to the yogurt, in the recipe below, I also add fresh lemon juice with the milk.

Air and Water

Frozen Yogurt— – it can be made of milk, cream, yogurt, fruit, and/or sugar syrup. But what does it mean for your body?

Frozen Yogurt contains an average of five to eight grams of protein, which is a non-negotiable number that will always be a consistent part of your yogurt. It also contains a significant amount of calcium and vitamin D, which are important for building strong bones. The protein, calcium, and vitamin D are all available in higher quantities than regular yogurt. This is partly due to the fact that it is pasteurized at a higher temperature to eliminate any harmful bacteria.

Additionally, the protein found in frozen yogurt is more easily digested than regular yogurt because the high temperature pasteurization breaks down a lot of the lactose sugars found in regular yogurt. This is why people who suffer from lactose intolerance seem to have less of a reaction to frozen yogurt than regular yogurt.

Stabilizers and Emulsifiers

There are no eggs, dairy products (milk, yogurt, or cream), or gelatin in frozen yogurt. Instead, it is made with stabilizers and emulsifiers.

Stabilizers are compounds that keep the yogurt creamy without requiring the dairy products that are used in ice cream. These compounds are also what causes the texture of frozen yogurt to differ from ice creams, which contain milk.

Emulsifiers are compounds that hold the hydrogenated oils and water in suspension while stabilizers keep the structure rigid enough for scooping.

The two major stabilizers used in frozen yogurts are sodium carboxymethyl cellulose and gelatin. Both closely resemble the texture of ice cream while in low concentrations and have many of the same creamy textures. What is the difference between the two?

Carboxymethylcellulose is a non-animo formula stabilizer that does not come from animal products and is commonly used in gluten-free products.

Gelatin stabilizers are derived from the boiled skin, bones, and connective tissue of animals.

Frozen Yogurt Manufacturing Process

At face value, frozen yogurt seems self-explanatory – it’s yogurt made for the freezer. But there’s a lot more to it than that. When you order your frozen yogurt, you may find a plain variety (which is non-fat) or a variety made with various flavors, sugar, and fat.

However, there’s no reason to be concerned if you are joining a health club or you are working out. It’s really a healthful food because it has low fat content and high calcium.

You may be wondering how this frozen yogurt is made. Well, it’s made similarly to the way ice cream is made. It’s made using milk and sugar in a water bath.

Initially, the yogurt is mixed with cultures and refrigerated three times. During the cooling and chilling process, the yogurt nitrate is broken down or separated. The cooled and separated yogurt is then sugar and fat are added along with emulsifiers such as soy lecithin, egg yolk, gelatin, and other ingredients.

The mixture is then stirred to help it be lighter and more creamy. After that it is frozen.

Processing the Mixture

The manufacturing process begins with the frozen yogurt powder. This comes in the form of 20 pound cases. The first step in the case packing process is for the frozen yogurt powder to be stored for 24 hours at 45 degrees F or less. The empty 20-pound case is placed on a table while the lid and bottom are opened. The scoop is placed into the case and the case is then closed.

A pencil is fixed to the inside of the top of the case and the position of the scoop has to be marked. The pen moves down by one mark after every filling and the place where the scoop touches the lid is called the stop mark. When the case is filled, the pen taps the stop mark and a signal is sent to indicate the end of the powder filling. If the quantity to be packed exceeds the amount that the scoop can hold, the powder is allowed to settle after every filled scoop.

Scoop positions vary from 20 to 210 to 12 depending on the kind of product. There are different types of mixer and blenders that are used for different purposes such as for containing dry ingredients and others for liquid and therefore a different kind of action is needed.

Pasteurizing the Mixture

The process for making frozen yogurt involves heating the ingredients to a temperature just a few degrees below boiling, which is 130-140 degrees F. This kills any bacteria or other microorganisms to prevent spoilage.

Next, the mix is cooled to around 10-30 degrees F below the freezing point of water. It will depend on how low you want the super chilled finished product.

The mix is then continuously stirred in order to prevent any formation of large ice crystals.

The mixture is now ready to pass through the freezing chamber, which will freeze it into 'slush'.

After being frozen, the slush is agitated in order to further break up any possible ice crystals. Once complete, the frozen yogurt is distributed into containers or onto a conveyer belt to be packaged.

Non-Frozen Yogurt

As with any food made with milk, there are also non-frozen yogurt options. The difference is that in non-frozen yogurt, the fat found in yogurt is removed from the product. This process is dependent on the type of yogurt as well, but generally it is scooped out. When this occurs, the water content is increased. The remaining yogurt is much denser and sometimes has chunks of solid yogurt. For consistency, powdered milk is also added.

Both types of yogurt have many of the same benefits. However, non-frozen yogurt is often higher in calcium, vitamin B12, and protein.

Homogenizing the Mixture

Frozen yoghurt is created using the same process as ice cream. The ingredients are homogenized until they are evenly dispersed and then put into industrial freezers until the mixture gets firm. The main difference between frozen yoghurt and ice cream is that the fat amount is lower in yoghurt.

Essentially, frozen yoghurt is a mixture of milk with some sort of fat (usually cream) and with common sweeteners and flavorings – such as vanilla and chocolate. The yoghurt then undergoes use of high-pressure homogenization. This means that the fat is broken down into tiny particles that are evenly dispersed throughout the mixture. These microscopic fat particles give frozen yoghurt its creamy texture when it melts. It also means that you get the same fat content in your frozen yoghurt as you would in a regular scoop of ice cream.

This process is the secret behind frozen yoghurt. How you create this creamy frozen yogurt also influences the texture of the end product.

Let’s look at an example. The ideal vanilla yoghurt is thick and smooth, not too tangy and not too sweet. It is a great all-around choice.

Adding the Yogurt Culture

To make frozen yogurt, you basically need milk and a yogurt starter. A popular starter culture is the yogurt strain Lactobacillus delbrueckii subspecies bulgaricus. There are several brands such as Dannon and Stonyfield that sell this starter culture.

Once you have the starter culture, it’s time to add it to the milk. The yogurt strain has to be added to a minimum of 2% milk fat and the best temperature for culturing the yogurt is between 105 and 115 degrees. This process involves culturing the yogurt for a minimum of 6 to 8 hours.

Cooling and Aging

After the yogurt is made it is cooled in shallow pans. Cooling the yogurt at this stage is known as aging it and is an important step in the final process. The temperature is gradually reduced to force bacteria that produces the tartness to change the flavor. This process takes from six to seven hours.

The yogurt is then packaged in small containers for the market. Although it is a low-fat product, it is full of nutritional value and trans fat-free. The growing trend is to have flavors and toppings mixed into the yogurt. This is called "Froot Inc" and is available at most major yogurt companies.

Flavoring, Coloring, and Freezing

Frozen yogurt is yogurt that has been transformed into a frozen dessert. It's frozen just like ice cream, but it does not have the butterfat that ice cream has. It often contains fruit or other ingredients, but it is most identifiable by its creamy, more dense texture than that of ice cream.

Frozen yoghurt is often called "the good stuff" because it is thought that it's healthier. If you are watching your weight, frozen yogurt may hold the key to the magic number.

The word "yogurt" is a derivative of the Turkish word "yoğurt," which means "milk and cream." Yogurt is technically a good source of calcium, protein, riboflavin, magnesium, and zinc.

So why is yogurt better for you than traditional ice cream?

First you need to look at what is in yogurt. The first ingredient is usually milk. Milk is a good source of energy and carbohydrates.

Next it may contain a variety of fruits, vegetables, or other fillers. These can be good sources of vitamins, carbohydrates, or energy.

Some types of frozen yogurt also contain sugar-based sweeteners, such as sucrose, glucose, honey, or fructose.

Then of course, there is air. Air whipped into frozen yogurt softens it and gives it a fluffy, creamy texture.

On the other hand, ice cream is rich in dairy fat.

Soft-Serve Frozen Yogurt

The main ingredients in soft-serve frozen yogurt are water, sugar, nonfat milk, high-fructose corn syrup, and gelatin. Depending on the brand, ingredients may also include artificial flavors, high-protein soy flour, titanium dioxide, citric acid, and/or colorings.

The addition of artificial flavoring and coloring helps add a sweet flavor and a uniform color to frozen yogurt and makes it visually appealing.

Soft-serve frozen yogurt is virtually fat-free, as it contains just three grams of fat per five-ounce serving. That said, soft-serve nonfat frozen yogurt has a number of calories.

One cup of soft-serve frozen yogurt contains around 130 to 140 calories, half a gram of fat, ten to eleven grams of sugar, and about 75 to 85 milligrams of sodium.

The largest variation among soft-serve frozen yogurts is fat content.

Many brands offer both nonfat and low fat frozen yogurts.

The low-fat versions are often a bit thicker than nonfat frozen yogurt, which is usually quite runny in consistency.

Frozen Yogurt Nutrition

Frozen yogurt is simply a mix of yoghurt and generous amounts of sugar. Many manufacturers also supplement it with ingredients such as almonds, walnuts, and strawberries. As a result, the nutritional value of this treat looks a bit better than its plain yoghurt counterpart.

Regular Frozen Yogurt

There are many non-dairy and lactose free frozen yogurts on the market, and they are very healthy for you. Many people are lactose intolerant and have a hard time digesting it and enjoy some cold, creamy frozen yogurt once in a while.

To make homemade frozen yogurt, there is nothing better than a regular recipe.

You will need:

  • 1 pint of plain yogurt (without any sweetener)
  • 1/4 cup sugar or honey
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • cup fresh fruit
  • crushed Oreos or toasted almonds
  • In a saucepan, combine the milk, sugar, and vanilla. Stir constantly over medium heat until edges begin to bubble. Reduce heat to low, and cook 5 minutes more.
  • Remove from heat and cool.
  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and alternate layers with the yogurt and fruit in several containers until full.
  • Place in freezer overnight.
  • Freeze one hour before serving. Top with chopped Oreos or toasted almonds.
  • Homemade Frozen Yogurt – a healthy dessert!

Fat Content

Frozen yogurt is very similar to ice cream. It is made from heavy cream and milk, with a thickener called gelatin or non-fat cream added.

On top of that, it has added sugar (the number of tablespoons depends on the brand) and different flavors. It can have any toppings too. Just like ice cream.

Frozen yogurt has already some advantages over ice cream so it is definitely healthier in general.

First, it has almost 0% fat content compared to around 10% in ice cream.

Second, it has less calories. The variation is depending on the brand, but 8 ounces of frozen yogurt contain around 160-190 calories. Ice cream has around 220-320 calories, depending on the brand.

Third, it has probiotic bacteria that helps digestion and boost the immune system.

Finally, it contains a little bit more calcium and potassium and has some additional vitamins like D and B12.

As you can see, frozen yogurt is definitely healthier and there is no need to feel guilty about eating it. Just remember to stay away from syrups and whip cream and you should be fine.

Probiotic Factor

You might not know it, but many products in your freezer are probiotic. You just might not see that label on them often. You'll see it on frozen berries, beef, milk, and yogurt, but not so much on ice cream or popsicles. Frozen yogurt is one of the few products that are branded as yogurt because it has probiotics.

So what makes frozen yogurt probiotic? Is it just yogurt that is frozen? Or is there more to it? Is there some method to get the yogurt to have a stable shelf life, so you can eat it in the summer?

What is Frozen Yogurt Made of?

Let's take a look at what's in it. Frozen yogurt is made of whole milk, sugar, and bacteria. Yogurt is made of fungi and bacteria. The frozen yogurt process is one that seeks to use frozen yogurt as a healthy food, not specifically as a healthy frozen yogurt.

It's low-fat (4.5 percent) for a frozen dessert product. Co-founder of Menchie's Frozen Yogurt, Adam Hofman, says, “It's pretty much the same concept as regular yogurt; frozen yogurt is typically a health food item.”

Frozen yogurt is a solid instead of a liquid, so it doesn't require cups to be kept in the freezer to keep them from spilling. Convenience isn't the only benefit.

Sugar

Sugar and cream—that’s what frozen yogurt is made of (along with some yogurt culture from the dairy). There are several varieties of frozen yogurt available commercially. When you buy one of them in the supermarket, most of the time you're not eating the "real thing".

Most varieties of frozen yogurt found in supermarkets have added water or other dairy products.

They are also usually made with some sort of sweetener. Some are the usual high fructose corn syrup or sugar, but others are more exotic such as honey or agave.

The amount of water or other dairy products varies, but generally, there's much more water than actual yogurt.

Generally, commercially produced frozen yogurt contains as much or nearly as much sugar or corn syrup as other frozen desserts. That's why you should go easy with the store-bought stuff.

As an alternative, you can make your own frozen yogurt using ingredients that are more natural than the typical store-bought varieties. The recipe detailed below offers an alternative using fresh ingredients.

The process here is very similar to making a custard. The base of the custard is the flavored yogurt.

In addition to the yogurt, in the recipe below, I also add fresh lemon juice with the milk.

Calorie Content

Frozen yogurt is a low-calorie, creamy, dairy dessert. It has about a third of the calories of regular ice cream. Frozen yogurt has the same creamy richness of ice cream, but because the bacterial cultures in the yogurt break down some of the lactose, frozen yogurt is a much lower calorie dessert than regular ice cream.

As with regular ice cream, the calorie content of frozen yogurt is somewhat dependent on the add-ins, but most varieties contain between 90 and 135 calories per serving. Whey is an important ingredient in the preparation of frozen yogurt. Whey is the watery part of milk that remains after the liquid has been curdled. Frozen yogurt contains a higher percentage of whey than ice cream. Also, the bacteria used in the production of frozen yogurt are partially responsible for the lower calorie content of this dessert.