Cultured milks are products made by use of special lactic acid bacteria cultures. They fall into two broad categories. Those made by use of lactic acid bacteria which grow well at ambient temperature (25-30Â°C). Such lactic acid bacteria are known as Mesophilic starter cultures. The other type of cultured dairy product is the one made by use of lactic acid bacteria which grow well under warm conditions (38 - 45(C) The lactic acid bacteria used are technically known as Thermophilic starter cultures. Yoghurt or yoghurt like products belong to this group. Cultured milk products have been enjoyed in the Middle East, Europe, and parts of Asia for centuries. The Greeks felt that yogurt had therapeutic qualities for diseases caused by intestinal disorders. Bulgarians attribute their good health and longevity in part to their daily intake of cultured milk products. The most common of the cultured milk products are yogurt, kefir, piima, buttermilk, and quark or cottage cheese. Yogurt is simply milk thickened to a custard consistency by certain acid-forming bacteria growing in it. The special bacteria that turn milk into yogurt are lactobacillus bulgaricus, lactobacillus acidophilus, and streptococcus thermophilus. The coagulation and the fermentation of milk sugar into lactic acid is caused by these bacteria. This action curdles the protein in yogurt and acts as a preservative. The bacteria in yogurt have already begun to break down the protein molecules into lactic acid, making it easy for the body to assimilate. Thus yogurt is helpful for people who have lactose intolerance, because they lack an enzyme that helps to digest milk sugar in regular milk. Yogurt helps the digestion process to move along smoothly and quickly. In the Near East, babies are frequently fed yogurt for two or three months after they are weaned. Breast fed babies receive bacillus bifidus, a bacteria similar to lactobacillus bulgaricus found in yogurt.