Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Home-Made Greek Yogurt, Part II



     Compare the two pictures above, they are both Greek yogurts.  One was made at home, one was the Oikos Greek Yogurt, made by Stonybrook Farm.  Can you tell which one was made at home?  No?  Fantastic.  (The home-made yogurt is on the left.)  I'm very proud to say that my Greek yogurt tastes very, very good.  It's tangier than the store bought too, because it's fresh.  It's very easy to make, if a little messy. 

     To refresh your memory, I had a pan full of freshly made yogurt at the end of Home-Made Greek Yogurt, Part I.  I knew the milk had turned into yogurt when I tilted the pan and it didn't move.  
    I scooped the yogurt into a large bowl that was lined with cheesecloth.  I bought my cheesecloth at Kroger; I believe most large grocery stores carry cheesecloth.

    I then brought up the corners of the cheesecloth and secured the top with a rubber band.  Yellow liquid will start draining out of the bottom of the cheesecloth almost immediately.  The liquid is called whey; the stuff that remains inside of the cheesecloth is the curd.  Yes, "curds and whey" like in cheese-making (or Little Miss Muffet).  Greek yogurt, or strained yogurt, is just a very soft cheese that does not get aged.  (In fact, the second time I made my Greek yogurt, I let it strain for almost 20 hours and I made yogurt cheese by accident!)  But back to the topic at hand.  The cheesecloth-wrapped yogurt was then suspended from a couple of chopsticks in the glass container of my blender.  I liked the blender because it had a handle and it fit easily into my refrigerator.  


     I checked on the yogurt about once an hour at first and drained off the collected whey as needed--the yogurt should not touch the whey, otherwise it will just reabsorb back into the yogurt.  

      For a very smooth Greek yogurt that has the consistency of sour cream, allow the yogurt to strain for 3-5 hours.  The length of time depends on the initial volume of yogurt.  The picture at the top of this post strained for about 5 hours.   The final volume of the Greek yogurt is about 1/2 of the initial volume.  Scooping the yogurt out at this stage is pretty messy, I recommend straining it for at least 12 hours.  The yogurt is more solid and it is much easier to scoop out of the cheesecloth.  To make the yogurt thinner, just add the whey (or milk) back into the yogurt. 

     For yogurt cheese, allow the yogurt to strain overnight.  This was what mine looked like after straining overnight.  It was so firm that it made cute little balls of cheese!  It was actually too firm for my purposes so I added some milk back into it, to make it the consistency of sour cream.   

 

    This yogurt was very easy to flavor and sweeten up.  I added 1 teaspoon (I have a huge sweet tooth) and small handful of blueberries to 6oz of yogurt;  The flavor was out of this world!   I've also used this yogurt to make a blueberry smoothie and it was one of the best smoothies I've ever made.  Greek yogurt has a higher concentration of protein, because the liquids are removed.  Thus, eating Greek yogurt or mixing it into a smoothie will keep you fuller for longer; that is a great asset for any diet.  

     I had a great time making my Greek yogurt.  If you make this at home, I'd love to read your comments!  

Nutrition Information Per 4-Ounce Serving*:
Calories: 63, Fat: 0g, Carbohydrates: 9g, Fiber: 0g, Sugars: 9g, Protein: 23g (!)

*I used the nutritional information for the Oikos Greek Yogurt, made by Stonybrook Farms.  






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