Although kefir and yogurt are both cultured dairy foods, there are a lot of differences between the two that you may not be aware of. This includes factors such as how they are made, the flavour, the consistency and the types of bacteria present. Understanding the difference between the two will make it easier to decide which is right for you.
The Different Cultures Used
Milk kefir uses a mesophilic culture, meaning it cultures at room temperature regardless of the type of starter used. This starter is called kefir grains. However, yogurt uses both mesophilic and thermophilic cultures. Thermophilic is a heat loving culture and is prepared in a yogurt maker or other appliance at around 40 degrees Celsius.
What About the Bacteria?
One of the major differences between yogurt and kefir is the number of bacteria. Kefir contains around three times the number of beneficial bacteria than that of yogurt. The milk in kefir is fermented with a diverse combination of 10 to 20 different types of probiotic bacteria and yeast. However, yogurt is fermented with much less. The higher and more diverse the bacteria, the more benefits there are for digestive and immune health.
Yogurt vs Kefir - Taste and Consistency
Yogurt is available in a variety of consistencies, from thin and milky to thick and creamy, depending on how it’s made. On the other hand, kefir has a runny consistency compared to yogurt. Kefir is often referred to as a runny type of yogurt or drinkable yogurt. While the consistency can be similar in some cases, the taste of each is very different.
Milk kefir tends to have a tart flavour, but may have a slight yeasty flavour as well. Due to the beneficial yeast present in the culture. Milk kefir is usually sourer than yogurt, however it’s possible to change the flavour of kefir based on its fermentation time.
What Are the Health Benefits?
Yogurt is a popular fermented dairy product. Regular consumption of yogurt is associated with several health benefits, such as:
Protection against osteoporosis
Reduced risk of heart disease
Possible anti-inflammatory effects
Yogurt tends to have a higher sugar content compared to kefir depending on what brand you purchase. It is a good idea to read labels, as some yogurt brands are very high in added sugar.
Milk kefir is fermented with a wide variety of lactic acid bacteria and yeast living on a matrix of polysaccharides which makes up the kefir grains. Kefir is associated with a number of health benefits, including:
Possible tumour suppression
Improved wound healing
Low or no added sugar
Because kefir is fermented at room temperature, it is very easy to make without the need for special equipment. You probably have everything you need in the kitchen already and will only need to buy kefir grains.
Both kefir and yogurt offer several health benefits. However, it depends on your taste preference and if you’re seeking more probiotic strains. If you’re looking for a tasty fermented product that provides an abundance of beneficial bacteria and yeast, then kefir is probably the best choice due to its higher content of probiotics.