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Lactobacillus bulgaricus

Lactobacillus Bulgaricus (LBB) is a bacteria used for the production of yoghurt(yogurt), not only in Bulgaria, but in many other countries. It is typical to Bulgaria (thrives freely on the Balkan Peninsula), and is very difficult to reproduce in other parts of the world, hence the name - Bulgaricus. It still works (makes yoghurt) in other places, but would not reproduce (you couldn't make yoghurt elsewhere by just adding a few spoons of the ready yoghurt to warm milk and keep it warm a while, like you could in Bulgaria). The bacteria feeds on the milk and produces lalctic acid which also helps preserve the milk a little while. It partly breaks down lactose and is often acceptable to sufferers of lactose intolerance (their digestive system lacks the enzymes to break down lactose to simpler sugars). One of the biggest importers of the bacteria is Japan.

A legend tells that a Bulgarian shepherd in the Balkan Mountain (Stara Planina) once did not enough vessels to put all the milk he milked fom his sheep, so he made a bag from a fresh lamb's hide and put the extra milk there. The next morning he found yoghurt in the bag, most likely generated by this same Lactobacillus Bulgaricus (LBB). So the first yoghurt was known to be made of sheep's milk, but nowadays it is made mainly of cow's milk, and rarely from sheep or goat milk, because the much higher cost offsets the higher quality.

Between 13th and 18th century AD Bulgaria was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, and Turkish was the official language. The word yoghurt most probably came into English from the Turkish "yogurut".

Other legends tell that yoghurt was known even to Bulgars (a.k.a. Protobulgarians), being a nomadic tribe, along with kumis (refreshing, slightly alcoholic drink from a mare's milk).

In countries (like the US) where real yoghurt is not valued for its qualities commercial production employs various starches, gums, gels, stabilizers and powder milk with little and often no live bacteria, thus maximizing profits from ignorant and often negligent consumers. This also creates a low quality yoghurt, far from the real, live bacteria one, that is popular to have a benefial effect on the digestive tract. Also few find such yoghurt appealling without adding flavors or fruits.



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