To avoid congealey failure and maximize delicious success, follow these tips when cooking with yogurt:


  • Don’t bake with it unless it’s thinned out and don’t heat it quickly or the concentrated milk proteins will separate from the remainder of the whey, never to unite again.
  • Don’t use aluminum cook or bake ware when dealing with yogurt, the acidity reacts unpleasantly to the metal.


  • Do bring it to room temperature before you add it to the dish, so that the temperature shock is not too great (otherwise it might curdle and separate), and add it to the dish spoon by spoon and at the very end of cooking.
  • Do substitute yogurt for buttermilk or heavy cream, two things you might not readily have in your fridge (who has buttermilk in their fridge?) Just water it down slightly, if needed to match the consistency.
  • Do put it in your ice cream maker with some fresh fruits, it freezes fast and creamy. Plus the healthy bacteria will even survive a freezing!
  • Do marinate! This is one instance where yogurt’s clinginess is a good thing. You can use less yogurt in a traditional marinade but still get the same tenderizing and moisture and flavor-enhancing effect.


2 cups plain yogurt
1/2 large onion, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper

Once you have all that in the blender, you can choose your own adventure:

Option 1 Lemon-Pepper: “The Classic”
1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped
Juice from two lemons
1 really nice squeeze of honey
Even more black pepper (about 10-15 grinds)


Option 2 Tandoori: “The Crowdpleaser” (from Bon Appetit)
1 cup cilantro leaves (no need to chop since it’s going in the blender)
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon garam masala (McCormick now sells this — it’s an Indian spice blend that’s kind of sweet)
1 2-inch piece ginger
juice of one lime

Option 3 Middle Eastern: “The Middle Easterner”
1/2 cup fresh oregano, stems removed
1 clove garlic
juice from one lemon
2 teaspoons cumin

Option 4 Mustard and Herb: “The Pantry Special”
½ cup Dijon mustard
leaves from a couple sprigs of thyme
2 tablespoons cider vinegar

Option 5 Chutney: “The Cheater”
1/2 cup your favorite chutney (these are my favorite)
1/2 cup cilantro

Whichever direction you’ve chosen:

Give the ingredients a good whirl in the blender, then pour into a large freezer bag along with your meat — 2 to 3 pounds chicken thighs or breasts  (pounded flat between two pieces of wax paper), drumsticks, or…here’s some breaking news: SHRIMP! I’ve discovered that a good flavorful yogurt marinade is a great way to kick up the sometimes bland frozen shrimp we pick up in the Northeast. (The photo above was made with the tandoori marinade — the dipping sauce is chutney mixed with lime and…more yogurt!)

Marinate your chicken or shrimp (thawed if frozen) in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight. Build a medium fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to medium-high. Brush grill grates with oil. Scrape excess marinade off chicken or shrimp. If you are making shrimp, thread them onto skewers. Grill chicken turning once, until browned and cooked through, 3-4 minutes per side. The shrimp will take a little less time, about 2-3 minutes a side.



Yogurt and kefir are both cultured milk products but there are many differences between the two. This includes how they are made, the type of bacteria present, and the health benefits of each.

Incubation Type

There are two types of yogurt: those cultured at room temperature and those that the culture requires a specific range of temperatures to incubate.

Kefir can culture at room temperature. Many yogurt strains, however,  require some sort of warming device to properly culture.

There is also a difference in what is used to propagate the culture in the milk. Yogurt is made by mixing a bit of a previous yogurt batch into fresh milk. Once the new batch is complete you may use that starter again, or in the case of raw milk a separate starter is kept with pasteurized milk. Yogurt can also be made with a dried starter.

Kefir, on the other hand, is made with either a dried starter or a set of kefir “grains.” These gelatinous grains will multiply over time, leaving you with extra grains to use, give away, or compost after every batch. In making kefir, the grains are simply removed from a newly made batch of kefir and added to fresh milk to make the next batch.

Types of Bacteria Present

Yogurt and kefir contain different types of bacteria, each of which perform different tasks.

The beneficial bacteria found in yogurt help keep the digestive tract clean and provide food for the friendly bacteria found in a healthy gut. They pass through the digestive tract and are called “transient bacteria.”  You also have to make sure your yogurt contains “active cultures” or it will not provide the health benefits.

The bacteria in kefir, on the other hand, can actually colonize the intestinal tract. Kefir also contains a lot larger range of bacteria, as well as yeasts. So while yogurt may contain a handful of different strains of bacteria, kefir may contain many more than that.

Kefir Contains Yeasts

Both kefir and yogurt are lactic acid fermentations. On top of that, though, kefir contains beneficial yeasts that can also produce alcohol that give kefir it’s natural carbonation.

Texture and Flavor

Yogurt has a flavor that most of us are familiar with: tart, smooth, and creamy. Kefir is also tart, but it can have a touch of yeast or alcohol flavor to it due to the beneficial yeasts present in the culture.

Most varieties of yogurt are also thicker than kefir, given the same length of fermentation time. While yogurt is almost always eaten with a spoon, kefir can often be eaten with a straw out of a glass.

Both yogurt and kefir are beneficial cultured dairy products that can perform different, helpful tasks in the body.


1000 mg (≤age 50)
1200 mg (>age 50)

Maybe you are tired of milk or just want to try something new. Either way, these tips can help you to build your bones while adding some variety to your diet.

Better juices
Switch from regular fruit juice to a calcium-fortified juice, but watch your serving size. The calories from juice can add up fast!

dry milk

Milk powder
Mix 1 quart of milk with 1 cup (C) of dry milk powder. Use just as you would regular milk.

Fruit dip
Make a fruit dip using 8 ounces of vanilla yogurt, 2 tablespoons (Tbsp) of sugar (or an equivalent amount of sugar replacement), a dash of cinnamon, 3 Tbsp of orange juice concentrate (make sure it is calcium fortified), and ¼ C shredded coconut.

Dried figs
Add some dried figs to your frozen yogurt, salad, hot cereal, or snack mix.
beans 2
Add beans to your favorite soups and casseroles. Look for new recipes containing beans.


If you have never tried tofu before, there is nothing to fear. The important thing is to make sure that you choose a product that is calcium-fortified. Tofu essentially has no taste, taking on the flavors of whatever other foods it is cooked with. You even can add silken tofu to a fruit smoothie or milk shake.

Frozen yogurt
Choose frozen yogurt instead of ice cream.

Salmon burgers
Make salmon burgers, but not from boneless salmon—you actually want to consume the tiny bones. Also sardines (if you like them) can be eaten with whole grain crackers.

Cottage cheese
Use cottage cheese in place of ricotta cheese in your favorite recipes.

Reduced-fat or fat-free sour cream
Top your baked potatoes, tacos, etc with reduced-fat or fat-free sour cream.


Yogurt parfait
Layer yogurt, fruit, and cereal in a dish or fluted glass. If you use plain yogurt, add a drizzle of honey.

Choose a bread that is fortified with calcium.


Add almonds to your favorite baked goods or eat them whole.

Better than milk
Add Carnation® Instant Breakfast or Ovaltine® to your milk.


Choose a calcium-fortified cereal, such as General Mills Total®.

Reduced-fat cheddar cheese
Top your chili, baked potatoes, casseroles, crackers, or tacos with reduced-fat cheddar cheese. Cabot® 50% Reduced Fat Cheddar contains 70 calories, 4.5 grams (g) of fat, 8 g of protein, 6% of your daily allowance for vitamin A, and 20% of your daily allowance for calcium in each ounce. For many other ways to incorporate this healthy source of protein and calcium into your diet, visit