Dairy Product food items made of milk, which include butter, cheese, curd, and a wide variety of milk based sweets. Traditionally, dairy products have played an important role in the diet of Bangladeshi people. Notable dairy products are cream, curd, chhana, butter, butter oil (ghee), etc. Cream is that portion of milk, rich in fat, which contains not less than 18 percent milk fat and usually contains 18 to 80 percent milk fat. It is indigenously known as malai or sar. It is usually used for manufacturing of butter, butter oil (ghee) and icecream.
Curd (dahi) is a fermented milk product which may be made from whole milk or skim milk. The milk is boiled, and allowed to cool to room temperature. Little amount of previously prepared curd of pure culture of any appropriate fermenting organism is then inoculated and incubated until the desired fermentation is complete. It may be plain, sweetened, or flavoured with cane sugar, fruit juices, etc. To prepare better quality curd, pure cultures of Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus species are often used. It is a very popular and nutritious food item in Bangladesh. Curd made in Bogra is especially popular. In western countries curd is commonly known as yogurt. In general, the nutrient value of curd or yogurt depends upon the milk it contains and the substance added to it during manufacture.
Cheese (paneer) is made of coagulating milk. The solid so formed is cut into small pieces to allow the whey or limejuice to drain off. The solid curd is dried, salt is added and the cheese pressed or moulded and allowed to ripen. Depending on mode of preparation and taste cheese is variously named. The cheese of Austogram, a prosperous village under Kishoreganj district is famous for its quality and taste.
Chhana (indigenous name for a variety of cheese) is formed by the precipitation of protein with entrained milk fat from milk by adding sufficient sour whey and a strong citric acid solution to boiling milk. Due to destruction of all the biological agents in the boiling process, chhana can never be ripened. Chhana forms the main substrate for making a wide variety of sweets, such as rosogolla, sandex, kanchagolla, chamcham, manda, malaikari, etc. Kanchagolla of Natore, chamcham of Tangail, and malaikari of Comilla are famous sweets. Sweetmeats are very popular food items in the Indian sub-continent, particularly in Bangladesh, and a must in certain ceremonies. Buffalo milk is not suitable for making chhana.
Butter (makhan) is made from cream by churning. The cream used contains 35-42 percent milk fat and may be used fresh or allowed to go sour, a process known as ripening. The composition of butter is variable. An average butter item contains 82 percent fat, 0.4 percent protein, 15 percent water, 2 percent salt, and vitamins A and D.
Ghee (butter oil) is clarified butterfat that may contain about 99.7 percent milk fat. It is made from both cow and buffalo milk. Ghee is a concentrated source of energy and widely used in the preparation of polao, biriani, roast, korma and similar other delicious food items in Bangladesh. [AKM Abdul Mannan]