We in Bulgaria are proud of our exclusive invention- the Bulgarian Yogurt- known in Bulgaria as Kiselo Mlyako. The Bulgarian Yogurt/ Kiselo Mlyako acquired legendary status as a means of longevity.
There are no exact data for the origin of Bulgarian yogurt but it is widely accepted that it has been derived from the Thracians 4000 years B.C. Thrace had fertile soil, abundant vegetation and wide pastures. For Thracian people the most popular domesticated animal was sheep.
The ancient Thracians observed that the fermented milk exhibits better endurance compare to the fresh one. By adding fermented milk to boiled fresh milk they obtained a product known as “prokish” or “kvaseno mliako”. The regular and continuous preparation of “kvaseno mliako” resulted in the natural selection of the two lactic acid bacteria of Bulgarian Yogurt/ Kiselo Mlyako - Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus /L. bulgaricus/ and Streptococcus thermophilus /S. thermophilus/. The first original Bulgarian Yogurt / Kiselo Mlyako was made from sheep’s milk. Later on it became the basic food of Slavs and ancient Bulgarians. Herodotus mentions sheep’s milk yogurt as a gift from the Thracian people.
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First data on Bulgarian Yogurt / Kiselo Mlyako under the name “yogurut” appear in literature in the eighth century A.D. In the 11th century the name of Bulgarian Yogurt/Kiselo Mlyako is changed to “yogurt”. Even the word 'yogurt' is said to derive from the words for 'thick' and 'milk' in ancient Thracian / “yog” – thick and “urt” – milk, i.e. thick milk /
In the 12th century Tchengis-Khan used Bulgarian Yogurt/ Kiselo Mlyako as basic food for his troops and as biological means for preserving meat.
In the early 1900s, young Bulgarian scientist Dr Stamen Grigorov found the agent causing Bulgarian yogurt fermentation--a bacillus--while working at: the University of Geneva. Grigorov went on to pinpoint: two more bacteria: a Streptobacillus and a harmful Streptoccus thermophilus which existed with the Lactobacillus in a natural symbiosis. These two bacteria are not part of the micro-flora that exists in the human intestinal tract; instead, they are sourced from green plants and milk in Bulgaria.
Dr Stamen Grigorov's findings were well received by the Pasteur Institute at Paris, and after he presented his discoveries about the starter culture--known as Bacillus bulgaricus ( Grigorov ) at that time--numerous other scientists across Europe embarked on their own investigations into the Bulgarian yogurt yeast cultures. Russian scientist Ilya Mechnikov, a Nobel Prize laureate in Physiology and Medicine ( 1908 ) who worked at the Paris-based Pasteur Institute, discovered that: more people lived to the age of 100 in Bulgaria than in any of the 36 other countries he studied. The highest concentration of people aged over 100 in Europe was in the Rhodope mountains in southern Bulgaria. And their daily diet consisted predominantly of Bulgarian Yogurt / Kiselo Mlyako.He directly linked this to the country's most: traditional food—Bulgarian Yogurt/ Kiselo Mlyako. In the early 20th century, Ilya Mechnikov, similarly suggested that aging is caused by toxic bacteria in the gut and that Lactobacillus bulgaricus can counter that.
Other Bulgarian and Japanese researchers have found that Bulgarian Yogurt/ Kiselo Mlyako strengthens the immune system and helps prevent tumor growth, producing cancer-suppressing compounds. The Bulgarian Yogurt/ Kiselo Mlyako has been credited with having a number of healthy effects on the human body, including: reducing cholesterol, reducing unhealthy bacteria in the gastro-intestinal tract, increasing calcium levels thus helping against osteoporosis.
The beneficial health effects of Bulgarian Yogurt/ Kiselo Mlyako have made it particularly popular in Japan , since 1972. where millions of people start their day with a cup of yogurt.
Today , almost 100 years after the appearance of Mechnikov’s hypothesis and the discovery of Dr. Stamen Grigorov, we are witnessing the process of scientific revelation of the biological value of Bulgarian yoghurt. Application of contemporary molecular, biochemical and genomic approaches revolutionized the understanding the biological nature of this fermented milk product.
Bulgarian yoghurt characteristically contains high number of live beneficial lactic acid bacteria, which counts vary between 400x106 and 1x109 per gram yoghurt. These bacteria cause profound changes in the milk content and synthesize substances which positively influence the human organism.
Bulgarian Yogurt/ Kiselo Mlyako is unique, worldwide famous fermented milk product. Since the antiquity it has been considered a food that sustains the human health , beauty and life longevity.