Thursday, July 31, 2008

Greek Style Yogurt and Flavored Yogurt from Homemade-And Homemade Yogurt Cheese All in One Post!

First let's talk about Greek Style yogurt. What is it exactly?

It' s a high fat content yogurt that is really creamy. Thankfully, making it is one of the simplest things ever. This is also how to thicken your yogurt that was a bit too runny.

Plain yogurt made from whole milk.


Line a plastic colander with a clean cheese cloth. Place inside a large bowl. Pour the yogurt into the cheesecloth line colander. Pull all of the loose ends together and tie in a loose knot on the top, or use a clip or twist tie. If you can't close it up remove some of the yogurt and try again.

Put it in the fridge for a few hours. As it sits in the cheese cloth the whey, or liquid, will start to drain and the fat will remain in the cheese cloth. In a few hours you will have thicker creamier yogurt exactly like Greek style yogurt. If you leave it for a few days you will have yogurt cheese.

Do not discard the whey. Save it and use it as a substitute for buttermilk in any recipes you may have. You can also use it to start more yogurt.

The traditional way to sweeten Greek style yogurt is with honey which you can drizzle on top when serving, or stir in before hand. You can also add any other flavors you enjoy. Jam is a good way to add flavor to yogurt, or stir in fresh pureed fruit. And, you can freeze it and then you have it as frozen yogurt. What could be easier?

To flavor yogurt cheese. Add a bit of salt to taste and use as cream cheese or in dips. It tastes especially good with that Hungarian eggplant dip. What's it called...arghh! like Baba Ganoush but not. If you know what I'm talking about let me know?

I also like to chop up and add fresh herbs to it, like rosemary and basil and dill, with some fresh ground pepper, it tastes great on crackers and bagels, and as a dip for veggies, or plain on a pita with some hummus and olives. You'll find lots of ways to use it.

Now if you are really ambitious and want to try making fruit on the bottom yogurt like you buy it in the stores instead of stirring in flavor afterwards here is how.

You need to start with the fruit preserves. You can make this yourself by simmering fruit over a hot stove until it is a thick sauce, adding sugar or honey helps to thicken it. Or you can use a fruit preserve that is already made. Your own, or something you bought at the store.

Follow the instructions in Making Yogurt-How to make yogurt at Home.
When you get the containers ready for the warm milk, carefully pour some of the fruit preserve into the bottom of the containers. Try not to get it on the sides of the container. How much will depend on the container size, and how much flavor you like to add to your yogurt. I would say 1/2 to 1 inch high at the bottom of a quart jar. When your milk is ready to pour into the containers, slowly and carefully on top of the preserves. Be careful not to pour too quickly and stir the milk and fruit together. Place the caps on the jars, and carefully, so as not to disturb the layers, put it in your warm place and wait until it sets. Then pull it out and impress all of your friends with your stellar homemaking skillz. It looks pretty actually, and makes a good gift basket item. But it's just as easy I think to stir jam or preserves into plain yogurt just before you eat it.


Sandy said...

Thanks for this info. I'd like to try it. My question is if I've made my own yogurt as you describe at what point in the process do I use the cheese cloth / fridge to make greek style yogurt?

Carrien said...

Sandy-You can do this at any point after the yogurt has set before or after you refrigerate it the first time.

Sandy said...

OK, I tried it and it didn't set. Humph. Because I wanted the Greek Style of yogurt (speaking of $ saving) I put the whole oven safe pan into the oven after letting it cool and stirring in the Tablespoon of plain yogurt. I was very careful about temps - the only thing I can't know for sure is that my oven hadn't cooled down from making granola (300) - although it was open while the yogurt was heating AND cooling. Anything else? Did it matter that I put the pan in instead of the small containers? I thought maybe the oven wouldn't have been able to warm the milk as evenly in the large one? (but I didn't relish the idea of emptying out each small container to make the greek style, then putting it back into the small containers.) Help! Thx, Sandy

Sandy said...

ps - I did turn the oven off after putting the pan in. And, the oven does set at certain temperatures.

Sandy said...

OK, I think effort #3 might work. The problem seems like it was -- as you'd suggested -- temperature. My oven just doesn't stay up to temp enough. So, I kept it at 110 and that seems to be working. I'm getting watery stuff on top ... I pour that off before caping? Stay tuned.

Sandy said...

Failure. I'm guessing the "curds and whey" separated? liquid on top, thicker yogurt smelling stuff on the bottom. Like 1/2 and 1/2. Too hot in the 110 degree oven? (because this time I kept it on)

Carrien said...

Sandy-It doesn't get really firm when it's still warm sometimes. It sounds like you may have just needed to give it more time. And using a whole pan should be fine, it would stay warmer on it's own.

There will always be a bit of liquid separating in real yogurt, until you strain it to thicken.

Your oven is probably hotter than it says it is if it separated. You can use it for cheese still. Strain it through the cheesecloth. Use the liquid as buttermilk and you will get a soft cheese texture. Add some honey to it and it would be a great spread. Experiment with different flavors on small amounts if you want to.

Sorry I wasn't here earlier.

Sandy said...

Thanks for the info. Not to worry, I wont give up. (although I might buy cheepo milk to experiment with this time!:) ) stay tuned.

Sandy said...

I've been meaning to let you know that I've finally mastered the yogurt making and even have gotten my SIL to try it too. Been making it once a week for awhile now. Thank you!! -Sandy

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Taryn said...

I did this with a paper towel one time to substitute yogurt with sour cream. It worked great!

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