Plain, yet tangy

Low-fat yogurts, often used in sauces and dips, are scored in tasting

Test Kitchen

July 30, 2008|By Renee Enna | Renee Enna,Chicago Tribune

Yogurt is made with milk that has "fermented and coagulated because it's been invaded by friendly bacteria," according to the definition in Food Lover's Companion. It's a good-for-you food that is believed to promote better digestion and help the immune system.

The most versatile, for cooking purposes, is the plain stuff. It adds creaminess and tang, along with healthful nutrients, to sauces and dips. And if it's lunch you're after, it can be tailored to your tastes, with any number of mix-ins: honey, raisins and/or walnuts, for starters.

Admittedly, one person's "tang" is another person's "sour" - and yet another person's "acrid." That might account for the range of scores in our tasting of low-fat yogurts found on supermarket shelves. So maybe it's no surprise that mainstream Dannon won the tasting, earning the most consistent scores from our tasters. Second place went to Fage (pronounced fa-YEH, according to the label) Greek yogurt, a sheep's milk variety that has been gaining popularity for its thick, creamy texture.

Renee Enna writes for the Chicago Tribune. Sun reporter Kate Shatzkin contributed to this article.

The rankings

Products are scored on a scale of 1 to 9, with 9 being highest. Prices are based on what they cost at the supermarket and may reflect sales or discounts from frequent-shopper cards.

First place

Dannon Lowfat

(6 points. $3.69 for 32 ounces; 12 cents per ounce)

Tasters said: "Light, dairy aftertaste." "A mellow tang; would be a good mixer in recipes."

Second place

Fage Total 2%

(5 points. $4.39 for 17.6 ounces; 25 cents per ounce)

Tasters said: "Creamy, sweet quality and finish." "Very tart and clean tasting." "Cream comes through, but where's the tang?"

Also tasted (tie)

Brown Cow Low Fat Smooth & Creamy

(4 points. $3.19 for 32 ounces; 10 cents per ounce)

Tasters said: "Lumpy appearance, but creamy texture. Tastes like a mild sour cream."

Stonyfield Farm Lowfat Smooth & Creamy

(4 points. $3.69 for 32 ounces; 12 cents per ounce)

Tasters said: "Good creaminess and balance of sweet and sour, but the taste isn't really distinctive."

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