Fermented Milk Products from All Over the World. Skyr (Iceland)
For almost 1000 years, skyr is made in Iceland, is one of the most favorite dairy products of this Nordic country. It is rather hard to determine what skyr is, with precision, since it is classified as a type of cheese, due to its properties and consistency, although many consider it a type of yogurt. It is believed that this product made out of fermented milk is 1000 years old, being part of the Icelandic cuisine for as long as anybody can remember. Because it is a fermented product, after all, skyr has the slightly sour taste most products of the kind have, but the difference is that it leaves a pleasantly sweet aftertaste, which makes it so special. The traditional way of enjoying skyr is cold, with milk and a topping of sugar. In stores, you can find it in fruity varieties, as a way for manufacturers to attract more customers.
Skyr is great for health because it is a product low on fat, but high in protein content. Not to mention that it has high calcium content and vitamins that are specific to this kind of products. Back in the days, skyr was made with fresh, raw milk, which may still be respected in the case of homemade skyr, if raw milk is available. But, in most cases, pasteurized skimmed milk is used. Streptococcus salivarius subsp. thermophilus and Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus are the species of bacteria that take care of the fermentation process that turns milk into skyr. Usually, a small amount of skyr, from a previous batch, is added to the fresh milk, for culturing it, and then it is left to ferment and coagulate. Once the milk coagulated, it is strained to remove the whey, which explains why skyr is such a thick and creamy product. It can be used as it is, with a bit of sugar, or mixed with jam or fruits, in the form of a dessert. But it can be also consumed for breakfast with cereal, as a thick sauce for cooked fish, or topping for cheesecake.
Nutritionists recognized the value of skyr when it comes to following a healthy diet, due to the high content of proteins, vitamins, and minerals it contains. Besides introducing good bacteria into our digestive system, skyr also manages to provide a full sensation for longer, in comparison with other fermented milk products, regulates blood sugar levels, protects the heart, and may prevent osteoporosis, due to its generous calcium levels.