Sbabi: the real ‘makoya’ yoghurt

Sbabi: the real ‘makoya’ yoghurt

ROMA – HOW does the National University of Lesotho (NUL)-made yoghurt, Sebabatso, fare against yoghurts made in South Africa?

That is a good question but very difficult to answer.
A scientist at the NUL, Kemelo Matela, sought out to find the answer and his findings will surprise you.
What he discovered was that Sebabatso beat the South African varieties in the ‘health department’ with the foreign

yoghurts excelling better when it came to taste.
Of course Sebabatso’s huge base of fans will disagree with that finding.

The results are now being published in peer reviewed journals.
A scientist, Kemelo Matela, who is supervised by Dr Manoharan Pillai, put his emotions aside as he investigated how the little-known Sebabatso fares against the mighty and gigantic South African yoggurt brands (whose names we won’t mention).

He found that David could, indeed, bring down Goliath.
Here is how he did it.

He took three brands, Sebabatso from the NUL and the other two from South Africa and studied three flavours in each brand to compare. So there were a total of nine flavours. Here are the factors he considered.

Moisture content: Acceptable moisture content allows for starter cultures to do a good fermentation of milk to yield yogurt. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that moisture content of yoghurt be less than 84 percent. Sebabatso (Sbabi) and another brand scored 79 percent and the third brand had 76 percent.
So Sbabi was doing well.

Ash content: This measures the amount of minerals in yoghurt. Sbabi had an ash content of 0.9 percent followed by the other two at around 0.4 percent. Sbabi was rich in minerals which is a very good thing for strong bones.
“It could be that Sbabi was made from mineral-rich milk,” Kemelo said.

Carbohydrates: These are generally associated with sugar content. Sbabi was at 13 percent while the other two ranged around 18 percent in carbs content. Now, more is not always better — which is true in this case.
“Carbohydrates in milk can also be found in the form of lactose,” Kemelo said. “Too much lactose can be bad for people who are lactose intolerant.”

Protein: All the three yoghurts were mostly below 2.7 percent protein content, which is a standard recommendation.
Standards recommend that yoghurt should have protein content not less than 2.7 percent. All of them had less than 2.7 percent protein but close to it as they ranged around 2.4, 2.6 percent and only one flavour out of the nine (of a South African Brand) had exactly 2.7 percent.

Fat: Sebabatso was rich in fat (those who have tasted it know what we are talking about). That rich creamy taste can be attributed to Sbabi’s high fat content. Now this may be good or bad thing, depending on where you come from.
For children, who don’t have weight or cholesterol to worry about, it’s all good. For adults who have weight or cholesterol issues to worry about, that may not be too good.

According to the USDA standards, any yoghurt with a fat content of more than 3.25 percent should just be labelled “yoghurt” (Sbabi was at 3.5 percent). Anything between 0.5 and 2.0 percent is to be called “low fat yoghurt.” So Sbabi ain’t no “low fat.”

Sbabi is for those that like the real thing, “makoya.”
Fibre: Codex standards for yoghurt recommends that yoghurt should have no fibre. Sbabi had no fibre. The other two brands had very small fibre content of about 0.03 percent.

Total solids: Here, Sbabi and the rest are around 20 percent. The standard recommendation is that yoghurt should have between 20 and 24 percent total solids.

Above 24 percent, growth of microorganisms is inhibited. Below 20 percent, the yoghurt becomes thin and tasteless.
Total solids non-fat (SNF): These are the solids on which microorganisms feed during a fermentation process. Sbabi had 16 percent of these while one brand ranged at 18-19 percent and another at 20-21 percent.
Both the USDA and FDA recommend that SNF in yoghurt must not be below 8.25 percent. So all the yoghurts did great.

Energy content: This is normally associated with sugar content. Sbabi had the most moderate energy content. Low sugar content makes for a healthy yoghurt.

PH: Sbabi was also good here. It had the highest PH (Lowest pH – more acidic) which is said to make calcium bio-available. That means when the PH is low, your body is able to utilise the calcium. You can have high calcium content in yoghurt only for your body to be unable to absorb it because it is not bio-available.

Syneresis: It is the ability of gels to separate from other liquids. When Symerisis is high, it means the yoghurt is not stable.

Sebabatso did not do well here. Hence it needs to be stored in really cool spaces to last long.
Sensory analysis: Here, a number of people at the NUL tasted all nine yoghurts and they were then asked to grade the three brands and their three flavours on the basis of sensory evaluation, taste, flavour, aroma and overall acceptability.

Sbabi came last mainly because others were sweeter due to high sugar content and many people like sweet taste.
“Overall,” Kemelo concluded, “Sbabi beat them in health, they beat Sbabi in taste.”

Own Correspondent

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