Thursday, June 2, 2011

Homemade Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt has been quite fashionable these days, and it is easy to see why. It is thick and decadently creamy, even in the low- or zero-fat varieties. It also has much higher protein than regular yogurt (making it my snack of choice all throughout my pregnancy.)
But while Greek yogurt has increased in popularity here in the U.S., it isn't always easy to find. Where I live, it is easy to find conventional and low-fat Greek yogurt, but nearly impossible to locate Greek yogurt that is both organic and made from whole milk. Fortunately, it is very easy to make your own Greek yogurt from store-bought (or homemade) yogurt!
Greek yogurt is much more expensive than regular yogurt, but when you strain the regular yogurt, it decreases by about half. I found that even with the yield being cut by half, I was still saving money (although prices vary by store and region). It was nice to save a couple quarters, but it was especially nice to get such a creamy, delicious, and all natural end-product!
We snacked on our fresh Greek yogurt mixed with local honey and raspberries. This might be our toddlers' new favorite food!
Homemade Greek Yogurt

1. Place a colander over a large bowl, ensuring that there is enough space below the colander for the yogurt to drain and not sit in the whey.
2. Fold cheesecloth four times and place into colander.
3. Place yogurt (store-bought or homemade) into cheesecloth, and then fold ends of cheesecloth over the yogurt so it is completely covered.
4. Place a small plate on top of the cheesecloth-covered yogurt, and something heavy (like a ceramic bowl) on top of the plate. This helps press the whey out of the yogurt.
5. Let drain in the refrigerator for about 6-10 hours, and then remove yogurt from cheesecloth and store in sealed container. You can save your whey for another use (like our Lemony Barley Salad) or discard.

20 comments:

  1. There is something about Greek yogurt I really dont like and I wish I could! I know how much better it is for you, but I cant handle the tangy-ness I think. :( It tastes soured. :( Yours looks lovely though, and your pics are getting prettier and prettier! Yum for local honey, its the best.

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  2. Thank you, Nik! If you like regular yogurt, you might try straining whichever brand you prefer. I found it creamier and less tangy. Might be worth a shot. :)

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  3. I love this idea! I have such a hard time finding organic, full fat greek yogurt. I couldn't get enough of it while pregnant because of it's rich texture and extra protein. Now, I love to use it for my toddler's breakfast. I might try it with goat yogurt and see how it tastes.

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  4. I wish I liked Greek yogurt more--so much healthier than Yoplait. This looks fantastic, and your photos are gorgeous. Love love love!

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  5. i am officially in love with this blog, and will most definitely be trying out some of the things here. YUM!!

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  6. Love Greek yogurt! Use it like cream on everything! (almost)

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  7. Love this tip, after just coming back from Greece you realize how the Greek yogurt we get over here in the UK is just not the same. It's noway near as thick as it should be and just doesn't have that same depth. Will def try this with the regular yogurt and i can eat it with my Kefalonia honey. Nom.

    Thanks!

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  8. does this make the yogurt have super amounts of protein, like how greek yogurt does? thanks for sharing...i want to try this with goat's milk yogurt.

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  9. Lauren - yes this yogurt has a more concentrated amount of protein than regular yogurt because we're draining the whey, which leaves the creamy milk solids behind. I'm not sure of the exact content of protein, though. I bet it would be awesome made from goat's milk yogurt - let us know!

    Nik - I recently bought some 2% greek yogurt (Chobani brand) because there was no full fat available, which is what I normally buy. I am shocked at how much more tangy it is than what I'm used to! Either it's the fact that it is lower fat, or the Chobani brand but WOW...doesn't even taste like greek yogurt to me. Have you experienced the tangy-ness in greek yogurt in low or non-fat types? I wonder if that is the difference.

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  10. Sarah - I think it may have been a low/non fat kind. Hmmm, I will have to purchase a full fat and see if that makes a difference! I have tried the Chobani, Oikos, Dannon and Fage yogurts. I never really looked for a difference in fat content, but I will now. Thanks for sharing the info, I so badly WANT to like greek yogurt! :)

    Dulcie - Youre welcome! :D

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  11. I absolutely love Greek Yogurt. It's one of my favorite protein sources.

    May I add a few points to your useful post?

    It's tempting to find your favorite yogurt and strain it for that thick, Greek texture and quality, but, it's very much a case of "quality in, quality out."

    You mention your preference for quality, organic, whole milk yogurt, but it's important to note if substitutions by your readers are going to be made, some commercially popular American "yogurts" are actually thickened with PECTIN (BLECH!) to get them to gel, and these should not be strained as they will not produce enough whey or really give you the creamy texture you are looking for. They break into ugly curds from the melted pectin. If your favorite yogurt has pectin as an ingredient, it's not a quality yogurt and alas, I'd consider finding a new brand.

    Also, if you strain it for more than 24 hours or more, you'll end up with YoChee -- Yogurt Cheese. This can be used as a tangy, high protein substitute for cream cheese in dips and spreads. It's not sweet like cream cheese, it's very tangy, but it will mix and hold as well as cream cheese in any dip, spread, sandwich -- even to thicken gravy in pan drippings.

    Next, don't throw out the whey, even if you don't like it (I don't), because if you have a pet, this healthy liquid poured over dry cat or dog food will have your pets loving you something fierce, especially cats, and it's good for them.

    Finally, if you find strained Greek Yogurt too tangy or sharp, you'll like this miracle fix. It may seem counter-intuitive to add full fat to a strained fat free yogurt, but, if you strain yogurt, and then stir in 1 tablespoon of heavy whipping cream to a good size serving, and let it sit, it seems to take away all sharpness for me and I think I'm eating a big ole bowl of cream.

    My fave way to have this is to layer a drinking glass with berries at the bottom, thick, strained greek yogurt (unsweetened, fat free) with 1 tablespoon of heavy cream mixed in, poured over the berries, and then a light sprinkle of brown sugar over the top. I put this in the fridge over night, and by morning, the brown sugar has melted into the yogurt in brown rivulets, the cream has completely tamed the yogurt tang (I taste NO tang), the berries have macerated, and I am eating a big bowl of decadent berries and cream, for not that many fat grams at all. Sometimes I put coconut in the bottom and it's coconut cream pie in a glass. Other times bananas. Once I even added cooked riced and oats to the bottom, more brown sugar on top. That was damn good eating, too.


    Enjoy1

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Dulcie and Kristina. Kristina answered my lingering question (Yo Cheese) and the whole idea is fantastic!

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  12. You are brilliant! Thanks for the info...now I'm excited to try it!

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  13. Wow thanks for all the info, Kristina. I'm going to try the "miracle fix" for tangy yogurt...sounds delicious.

    As for icky thickeners and additives, I thought this Cooks Illustrated article had some great info on fat-free Greek yogurt: http://www.cooksillustrated.com/tastetests/overview.asp?docid=28179

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  14. That was a useful article, thanks for sharing. Now I need to find that issue so I can read the brand name results. My least fave Greek Yogurt is Greek Gods because it's too watery and sour. My favorite is Fage, and, I find Trader Joe's Greek Yogurt 0% and 2% are both excellent, as well.

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  15. I love your blog and all your wonderful recipes! Thank you so much for sharing your skills. I thought I would pass this on to you-
    http://girlsguidetobutter.com/2010/02/crock-pot-yogurt/
    This woman's site is also loaded with cool recipes. I make my own organic whole milk Greek yogurt using this recipe, then straining it similar to your method, until desired consistency. It's amazingly good, much less expensive and all around awesome!

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  16. If you are straining whey off of the yogurt, the resulting product will have less protein, since whey is high in protein. Commercial greek yogurt is higher in protein because it strains water from the yogurt, not whey. (I don't know what type of strainer does that.)

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  17. so what brands work out best for this?

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  18. Hi Dulcie

    May I suggest you re-write the recipe again with more detail. I have never made yogurt thus I am a bimbo. I actually do not understand your instructions at all. Some pics of the process would be helpful too.

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