There are many cultured milk products, kefir and cheese among them, but yogurt-type dishes are characterized by a gelatinous texture, and a fairly limited number of bacteria strains, usually between two and six. Yogurt is also something that can be made fairly quickly.
Many cultures have traditional cultured milk dishes based on yogurt or yogurt-like cultured milks. Additionally, there are a variety of traditional yogurts from different parts of the world. Cultures for Health sells a few such traditional yogurts, such as matsoni (from Georgia), viili (from Finland), filmjölk (from Sweden), and piimä (from Finland).
Labneh is a strained yoghurt used for sandwiches, popular in Arab countries. Olive oil, cucumber slices, olives, and various green herbs may be added. It can be thickened further and rolled into balls, preserved in olive oil, and fermented for a few more weeks. It is sometimes used with onions, meat, and nuts as a stuffing for a variety of pies or kebbeh balls.
Mishti dahi is an East Indian dessert made by boiling strained yogurts in open vats so that the liquid content is reduced. This makes a thick, custard-like consistency, usually sweeter than western yogurts.
Tzatziki is a yogurt sauce or dip made with strained (Greek) yogurt by adding grated cucumber, olive oil, salt, and, optionally, mashed garlic. It is a well-known accompaniment to gyros and souvlaki pita sandwiches.
Lassi is a traditional drink from India, made by blending yogurt, water, and spices. Salted lassi can be blended with cumin or turmeric, while sweet lassi is blended with sweeteners, fruit juices or pulps, rosewater, saffron, butter, or other sweet substances.
Chaas is similar to lassi, but has more water and less butterfat. Seasonings include salt, coriander, ginger, and green chilis.
Clabber is a naturally fermented milk, made by letting raw milk sit at room temperature for several days. The bacteria present in the milk acts much like yogurt bacteria, but more slowly, to produce a thick, slightly sour product similar to yogurt but without yogurt’s characteristic astringent flavor. It used to be popular in the southern United States as a food eaten with brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, or molasses.
Amasi (maas in Afrikaans) is an African yogurt with a mild, almost cheesy flavor. It’s made by allowing raw milk to ferment naturally in a calabash (squash) container or a container made from hide. It can also be produced very much like yogurt, with Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis and L. lactis subsp. cremoris bacteria in pasteurized milk.
Dadiah/Dadih, from Indonesia, is made by letting unpasteurized buffalo milk ferment at room temperature in a bamboo tube capped by a banana leaf.