Are you looking for more dairy options to add to your diet? Then you may be looking at a variety of options labelled under the domain of dairy products like milk, cheese, yogurt, butter. All confused about which to pick, are you? I think it’s better to imagine that these products exist on a spectrum which means in some contexts they are close together but in some others much further apart.
As both cheese and yogurt are alright for people with mild lactose intolerance and are absolute classics, let’s talk about them. Are they dairy products? Yes. Are they the same? No. In what way are they different? And in what way are they similar?
Let’s explore all of these doubts revolving in your minds and hopefully by the end of this comparison you would be able to choose the right one for you. You may have both of them but if you want to add just one these key differences would help you out.
Yogurt is much more acidic than cheese whereas cheese has a much higher percentage of fat and proteins as compared to yogurt. There are probiotics in yogurt (bringing the acidity) that are less in cheese. Both of them require milk to curdle but they are made in completely different ways.
You will notice people recommending yogurt more often than cheese simply because of its gut health benefits and low calories. Yet, cheese seems to be everyone’s favourite because of its flavour, texture, and culinary applications. Let’s take a closer look at the main differences between cheese and yogurt.
Yogurt is much more acidic than cheese because of the way it is made.
Yogurt contains a high amount of lactic acid produced by the Lactobacillus culture, which is required to make yogurt. This same culture is necessary to make cheese as well and is the main reason cheese curds form. Then, why is yogurt more acidic than cheese? Well, this is because the lactic acid and the bacteria producing it are left in the whey. Yogurt contains more whey than cheese and hence more acidity as well.
Cheese is made by straining curds, leaving the whey aside, and then these curds are pressed into blocks and left to dry and age. Yogurt on the other side is not strained and hence has a good amount of whey in it and is fermented for a longer time than cheese.
Are you wondering exactly how much is the acidity of curd? Let’s take a look. Acidity is measured in pH. A pH of 7 is neutral and anything under 7 is acidic whereas anything above 7 is basic or alkaline.
Milk is around 6.5, almost neutral whereas yogurt is 4.5, acidic in nature. For comparison, lemon juice has 2.2 pH which makes it extremely acidic.
Cheese has a higher fat percentage than yogurt because of the way it is produced. It requires high fat and protein amounts to keep the cheese curds together. Let’s take a look at FDA’s fat percentage requirements for cheese types in a roll or block.
- Cheddar – 50% milk fat by weight of solids
- Parmesan – 32% milk fat by weight of solids
- Roquefort – 50% milk fat by weight of solids
- Colby – 40% milk fat by weight of solids
- Gouda – 46% milk fat by weight of solid
On the other hand, yogurt has a different story as it has a wide range of fat percentages. But freshly made yogurt without any processing like fat removal or colour and flavour addition has 3.25- 8.25 milk fat by weight of solids depending on the milk used.
The actual percentages after this will vary depending on how the yogurt is processed. Some yogurts have a lot of fat skimmed and drop to fat percentages as low as 0.5-1.5. on the other hand, some yogurts end up with fat percentages as high as 10% when fats are added to make them creamy.
Yogurt is much quicker to make compared to cheese. Both of them need milk to curdle but afterwards, cheese requires weeks and months of setting, drying, curing, and ageing. In some cases, they even develop necessary mould growth as well.
Whereas yogurt is quicker to make, processed, packed and sold within a few days.
Cheese is buttery, nutty depending on the type whereas yogurt is tangy. Because of the high-fat percentages in cheese, it ends up having buttery, nutty, and smooth flavour and texture. This is especially true for mild cheeses made of cow milk, like Gouda or Swiss, or Colby.
You may get tangy cheese too but they are not as common as the buttery ones. This tanginess in cheese may be due to the following reasons
- It’s made of, or also includes, sheep or goat milk
- It’s brined
- It’s aged and has developed a mould or bacteria colony
On the other hand, yogurt is always tangy and has a smooth texture varying on the consistency and fat percentages.
Yogurt contains much more probiotics than cheese. This is because both cheese and yogurt require Lactobacillus culture to produce lactic acid but the amount of whey that contains the acid is different in the end product. Cheese curds are separated from whey then dried and aged whereas there is no separation of whey involved in yogurt thereby increasing its probiotic nature.
How do probiotics help us? Our intestines contain bacteria cultures that are required to maintain their function properly. But sometimes due to medications or other factors, these good bacteria are flushed out of our system leading to an imbalance in our intestines and thereby affecting our gut health.
In such cases, consuming yogurt can help provide the god bacteria, i.e., Lactobacillus thereby aiding digestion.
On the other hand, cheese doesn’t have that amount of bacteria culture in its end product. As the whey which is where the bacteria lives most comfortably is drained out from the final product it is much less probiotic than yogurt.
Cheese has a much higher protein content than yogurt. This is because it has much less whey and more concentrated milk curd. Yes, the whey decides both the probiotic nature as well as the protein content.
For example, 100 grams of 3.5% yogurt has 10 grams of protein, while 100 grams of plain cheddar has 25 grams of protein. Parmesan has 38 grams, Roquefort has 22 grams, feta 14 grams, and mozzarella 28 grams.
So, if the protein is the factor you are looking for in your dairy product, go for cheese instead of yogurt.
It’s definitely yogurt. Yes, yogurt is healthier than cheese as it has a high amount of probiotics and lower fat content. But this does not mean that cheese is completely unhealthy. It just means a proper regulation on the amount of cheese consumption has to be done by you if you are trying to lose fats.
So, between the two of course yogurt is healthier as it contains lower fats, sodium and aids digestion. But beware the lactose-intolerant people, because both can trigger the response.
As dairy products are labelled for a wide spectrum of products, they are similar to one another in some factors and worlds apart in the other. Just like that both cheese and yogurt being dairy products are made from milk curds through the process of curdling producing lactic acid by the Lactobacillus bacteria culture. But the process involved after curdling makes them worlds apart in terms of flavour, texture, health benefits, and applications.
Yogurt is probiotic in nature and thereby aids digestion and has a lower fat content. It is creamy and soft (watery) and tangy to taste. So, if you are looking for a probiotic dairy option or trying to lose weight or just like the flavour it imparts, add yogurt to your daily diet.
On the other hand, cheese has high fat and protein content and is available in a wide variety of flavours and textures from sweet, milky to tangy, nutty. So if you are looking for a protein or fat-rich dairy product then add cheese to your diet.
Both being classics are all-time favourite dairy products. It just depends on how you want to utilize their flavour, texture, and health benefits. We hope this would have helped you in choosing the right dairy product- cheese or yogurt for you!