Friday, June 05, 2009

adventures in greek yogurt

If you read many American food sites, you may have noticed one of the newer crazes in yogurt: Greek. They talk about how healthy it is, how thick it is, and how tasty it is. At first this was very confusing to me, as the only types of greek style yogurt I find around here are in the 5-10% fat range (don't be fooled by the Mediteranee claim that it is creamy without the sin...though the lemon is really quite delightful). I suppose that's not bad if you compare it to ice cream, but for yoghurt, that's a lot of fat.

Then I started to poke around the food blogs and saw that down in the states there are low fat greek yoghurts just about everywhere. They rave about their oikos, their Chobani, and their curiously pronounced Fage. I was kind of jealous. It looked so thick and delicious and was low fat! (i just flashed back to the Seinfeld episode with the frozen yogurt and the mayoral election) So the next time I was in the states, I gave both Chobani and Fage a try...and I loved it. It was as thick and delightful as I thought it would be, but of course it only lasted so long. So I went back to my regular yogurt and every so often bought a little of the 10% stuff.

A friend at work also loved the fabled american yogurt and had a brilliant idea one day at Costco: make her own greek yogurt. It is essentially just strained yogurt. She tried it, it worked, and so I tried it too. The results- delicious

So, here is how you too can make your own thick and delicious low fat greek yogurt:

Start with plain yogurt without any extras like gelatin in it. (I used the 2% Liberte because it comes in a two pack at Costco) Pour the tub of yogurt into a strainer lined with something like cheese cloth or paper towel (paper towel worked just fine for me).
Let it sit for a bunch of hours (I left mine overnight). Depending on the size of your bowl, you may need to dump some of the liquid after a couple of hours so that the bottom of the strainer isn't resting in the liquid. (You might be surprised as to how much liquid actually gets drained. I know I was) And voila- thick, creamy, low fat greek yogurt. And it really is thick. In fact, it might take a bit to get used to just how thick it is...but I'm guessing that if you find it a little too thick after leaving it overnight, you can just adjust the number of hours you drain it, then there will be more liquid in it and it won't be quite as "stick to your spoon" thick:
(that isn't about to fall off either, it was happily sitting there defying gravity)
If you want a little sweetness, stir in some maple syrup or some honey. Want it to be vanilla yogurt? Stir in some vanilla (and then wonder why the vanilla yogurt in the store is still so bright white because when you stir in vanilla, it turns kind of a tan/brown know, from the dark vanilla). I like it with a drizzle of maple syrup (or some maple flakes), some fresh berries, and a little bit of granola. Mmmmmm...delicious.

So not only is that a "made in Canada" alternative to the American greek yogurts (that haven't bothered to expand their markets north), but if you buy that double package of plain yogurt at Costco, it is actually cheaper than the ready made strained yogurts like Chobani.

If you try it, let me know how it goes.


Reverend Joyleaf said...

Your post reminded me of a yogurt post I read last year.

Check it out at The Amateur Gourmet.


"Yes," he said. "But our yogurt--which is called skyr" (pronounced SKeer) "has no fat and no sugar and it's incredibly good for you."

kris said...

You forgot to mention how the yogurt juice tasted.

k said...

i think i had read about that skyr stuff before...i wonder if it was that post? probably not.

Kirst said...

I will have to try it. I like thick yogurt. Next time I'm at Costco I will have to look for that yogurt and the pancake batter. It would be fun for camping.

Runner Leana said...

I've been feeling the greek yogurt envy too! I have to admit that the Liberte stuff is amazing. I like the Astro Balkan yogurt, and I just tried the 6% stuff today which is really great and creamy. I'm going to have to try straining some of the lower fat stuff though!

Heather said...

I'm intrigued. I've never had ANY greek yogurt.