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Making Greek yogurt

Way back last summer, when I first experimented with primal nutrition, Winston (in a comment section) mentioned something I’d never heard of at that point: Greek yogurt. Specifically whole milk Greek yogurt. (Primal nutrition means, among other things, kissing all that non-fat nonsense goodbye.)

My first reponse was that I didn’t imagine that the small-town grocery stores within my range would have any such thing. Turned out I was partly wrong: Greek yogurt — but only the non-fat varieties — is readily available in the nearby stores. I’ve been buying the plain stuff ever since and mixing it up with blueberries, strawberries, raw honey, and nuts. All Greek yogurt is higher in protein than regular yogurt. And tastier, too, I think. (Makes sense; it’s basically just regular yogurt with a lot of the whey strained out, so it’s more intense.) But not until I went to the Big City and was able to get whole-milk Greek yogurt did I really get hooked.

Oh man! Num! Think the richest ice-cream you’ve ever had, only yogurt-flavored. And that’s whole-milk Greek yogurt.

Only problem is, I have to make a 100-mile round trip to the Big City to get it, and have to make a 300-mile round trip the the Really Big City to get it at a great price. Hm. I don’t think the economics of that work out too well. So I’m looking into making my own. Haven’t done it yet, but I found these two good-looking info sources:

Greek yogurt recipe.

Greek yogurt-making videos.

Would any of you yogurt-makers out there care to comment on the instructions at either of those sites? Or recommend resources you think might be betters? Thanks!

15 Comments

  1. Suzan
    Suzan February 23, 2011 5:35 am

    The first recipe looks fine. I didn’t watch the video. When I used to make my homemade yogurt with raw milk, I used a yogurt starter instead of store bought yogurt (from amazon)

    When I was really lazy, I bought plain, full fat yogurt, and put it in a coffee filter-lined strainer over a bowl overnight. Next morning, voila, Greek yogurt.

  2. Pat
    Pat February 23, 2011 6:08 am

    While waiting for the train.

    ~ Add 1/3 cup dry milk to each qt. of milk, and mix well before heating. It makes the yogurt creamier. It can replace “2 Tb of full-fat milk.”

    ~ When draining whey, you can use a _very fine_ steel mesh strainer; it works as well as cheesecloth. Just wash and re-use.

    ~ Have you got a yogurt maker? I have one with 8 cups, but wish I’d bought a quart-size instead. It would allow me to drain the entire batch at one throw (instead of taking it out of each cup). I use yogurt in many different recipes, as well as eating plain; havepretty much eliminated most sour cream, cream cheese, ricotta, and cottage cheese from my diet now.

    ~ “The Book of Yogurt” by Sonia Uvezian is a wealth of information and recipes, and she is the guru. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=the+book+of+yogurt&x=17&y=20

  3. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty February 23, 2011 6:14 am

    I’ve made yogurt for years and find I get the best results if I carefully sterilize all the equipment first. This avoids getting strange and off flavors. I use a Bavarian yogurt starter powder, never having gotten good results using commercial yogurt as starter. I can make about 5 batches of new yogurt using starter from the last, but after that it seems to develop off flavors or gets too strong.

    I’ve never tried straining out the whey, but will the next time. I’d suggest saving the liquid and using it to make bread or something. There are bound to be a lot of good things in it and would be a shame to waste it. I use plain yogurt to make my “sourdough” bread often. Lots less effort than making regular sourdough starter. And no, it doesn’t taste the same, but I like it as a change of pace.

  4. MS Jordan
    MS Jordan February 23, 2011 8:34 am

    Clair
    I’ve been making regular and greek yougurt in my food dryer. Easy

  5. Heather
    Heather February 23, 2011 2:17 pm

    Google for crock pot (or slow cooker) yogurt making directions. No special equipment, and about as easy as it’s possible to be. I used store-bought Greek yogurt for my original starter, and always get nice thick yogurt.

  6. Adam Selene
    Adam Selene February 23, 2011 5:27 pm

    I have never made any yogurt, but I highly recommend Fage Greek yogurt in the full fat version. Add a few sliced strawberries.

  7. Ellendra
    Ellendra February 23, 2011 9:58 pm

    Don’t bother getting cheesecloth or special towels. Just watch for white hankies on sale. (Pat, I’ve never found a mesh strainer with small enough holes for it to work with yogurt, but I’ll keep an eye out for one)

    Try a couple batches on your kitchen counter first, but check the smell before you taste them. If your house isn’t warm enough, the milk may spoil instead of ferment. There are several options for providing heat for yogurt-making, some take more space and effort than others. I eventually broke down and got a 1-quart electric yogurt maker, as my house is too cold except during the hottest weeks of summer, even bread doesn’t rise here.

  8. Lisa
    Lisa February 23, 2011 11:25 pm

    I have not made yogurt before, but have always been interested in trying it. Whole milk Greek yogurt is incredible! My favorite is one with a little honey in it. You can mix fruit into it, or ground almonds, or even ground flax seed. Yummy!

  9. Winston
    Winston February 24, 2011 11:30 am

    Glad I could get you hooked on the stuff! It’s addictive.

    Can’t say I’ve ever made yogurt from scratch…my idea of “making” greek yogurt is the method Suzan mentioned above…just a coffee filter, strainer and some regular yogurt + whatever berries, honey, nuts you put in. As mentioned be sure to use the full fat kind though…I tried it with the Aldi brand which happened to be very cheap but it was some “light and fit” nonsense and I ended up with yogurt flavored mess.

    I still do it when I can find some yogurt on sale or something (often the big plastic tubs of yogurt go on sale here because not many people buy them. Perfect!). Otherwise it’s really not THAT much cheaper to make it this way as opposed to just buying it in cups…generally the best bang-for-buck to me is getting the big 24-pack of them at Costco. I don’t eat as much of it as I used to cause it’s expensive, and at 4-5k calories a day I can’t get fancy every week.

  10. Ellendra
    Ellendra February 24, 2011 8:46 pm

    4-5k calories Winston??? Tell me that’s a typo!

  11. Claire
    Claire February 24, 2011 8:50 pm

    Ellendra — +1 on that question! Winston, I know you’re a young, growing man and from things you’ve said, probably an athlete, too. But — egads!

    And everybody — Thank you for the yogurt-making tips. A friend of mine just got a yogurt maker, and turns out she’s also a recent fan of Greek yogurt. So maybe I’ll get together with her for some learning experiences. I suspect this is one of those comment threads that will become very useful to a lot of people in the long run as they do searches on the topic.

  12. Winston
    Winston February 24, 2011 10:28 pm

    Nope, no typo I go for between 4-5k calories a day…it adds up pretty quickly when it’s mostly stuff like pizza, big egg concoctions, burritos, overloaded fried rice, tons of whole milk…I’ve recently started full time weight training with intentions to put quite a bit of mass in quick fasion and 4-5k is pretty standard for actually gaining that good kind of weight. I could probably stand to up it honestly, considering that I also run and that my metabolism is naturally freakishly fast anyway.

    So yeah…I’m a bottomless pit.

  13. Linda
    Linda February 25, 2011 6:06 pm

    I make yogurt with 1/2 regular milk and 1/2 evaporated milk. Heat it to about 180 degrees. Then let cool to about 120 degrees.Mix in 1 tblsp of live culture yogurt per cup of milk. Pour into pint or quart canning jars and screw on lid. Place in a “playmate” type cooler with very warm water (not over 120degrees) to neck of jars. Leave for 6hr or longer. Test after 6 hrs to see if it is thick and tasty. If necessary can be left overnite. You can use a jar of this yogurt to make your next batch!

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