Tuesday, September 27, 2011

homemade greek yogurt

Wow. My blog has been depressing lately. Talk about a Debbie Downer, huh? wuah wuah. Time to move on to happier topics.

I don't normally like yogurt, but I was addicted the first time I had Greek yogurt. What's the difference? Greek yogurt is thick. Mmmmmm. Because it is essentially concentrated yogurt, it packs an impressive amount of protein per serving. My diet is definitely lacking in protein, so this helps.

However, Greek yogurt is not cheap. My favorite brand is about $1.50 per 6-ounce serving. I can make my own for about 30 cents per serving (plus whatever I decide to add to it--honey, jam, fruit, etc).

It turned out "okay" the first couple of times I made it, but after a few tweaks, my latest batch is smooth and yummy. Take note: this is not a quick process, but it is much cheaper than buying Greek yogurt.

Here is what I do:


2 quarts (or 2 liters; doesn't have to be exact) of fat free milk (I use 2% now, because I ran out of fat free one day and the 2% was soooooo good as yogurt)
1/4 cup yogurt with live active cultures
1/4 cup honey (optional)
candy thermometer

*Yields about 1 to 1 1/2 quart/liter depending on how much whey you strain out. If you want thin yogurt, don't strain out any whey and you'll have 2 quarts/liters.


Note: I prefer to start this process in the evening since it needs to sit for 6-12 hours.
1. Heat milk in a large pot to 175-180 degrees (be careful not to scald it otherwise the bottom may burn and a film might form on the top).

2. Remove from heat, stir in honey (optional--you can make it plain and add flavor later), and allow to cool to 100 degrees. If you would like to speed up the cooling process, transfer to a casserole dish or bowl that has a lid. (Either way, the cooling process takes a long time.)

3. When the milk reaches 100 degrees, turn on your oven to the lowest setting (warm). This is just to warm the oven a bit.

4. Add 1/4-1/2 cup yogurt (be sure to use yogurt with live active cultures, which is pretty much all yogurt...).

5. Add the mixture back to the bowl of milk.


7. Did I mention TURN OFF THE OVEN? You don't want to cook the yogurt.

8. Put the lid on the pot/bowl (or cover it somehow) and set it on the rack in the oven.

9. Leave in the oven over night (6-14 hours. They say it is more tart the longer it incubates.)

10. In the morning, it should be somewhat firm (the texture of soft yogurt). If it's still runny like milk, it didn't work. My condolences to you. Better luck next time. However, it has worked every time for me.

11. If you like thin yogurt, you are finished! Stick it in the fridge and enjoy! If you want thicker (Greek) yogurt, press on, my friend.

12. Line a colander with layered cheesecloth or a thin dish towel (I prefer a large thin white dish towel) and place the colander in a bowl to collect the whey.

13. Dump the yogurt into the towel in the colander, gather up the sides of the towel and twist gently to contain all the yogurt inside. You will see the whey straining out of the towel and colander into the bowl. (Empty the bowl if the whey reaches the bottom of the colander.)

14. Put the bowl/colander/towel/yogurt contraption in the fridge for an hour or two (less if you like thinner yogurt, more if you like thicker yogurt).

17. Unwrap the strained yogurt and dump it into a clean bowl (saving the whey on the side). Most recipes would say you are done, but this is the step I discovered to make it really good. Using a hand mixer, whip the yogurt until it is smooth again (adding whey if it is too thick for your liking). Taste it and then whip in more honey as needed. I think I added a lot. :) I like things sweet.

18. Throw out the rest of the whey and put the finished yogurt in a mason jar or other container to store.

Stirring in jam or fresh fruit makes for yummy yogurt, too. Enjoy!


Hilary said...

Muy impressive! I will have to try this because my greek yogurt habit is taking over my wallet. Can I use your photo to link to your post on my blog?

Ashley said...

Okay I will not be making greek yogurt! I wouldn't even know where to find yogurt with live cultures. Is that most yogurt? Or do you have to go someplace special to get that? Anyway, I always hear about Greek yogurt and I've never tried it but I want to. I am a big believer in protein. I'm going to have to shell out for some though, because I don't want to do anything that calls for cheesecloth.

Ian, Jessica, Halle, Camdyn, and Quinn! said...

YUMMMMM! Thanks for this! I have been craving Greek yogurt and as you can imagine, we don't have too many options in Gridley :). Can't wait to try this with fruit and honey!!!

Chelle said...

Wow, impressive! You do some really fun stuff with food. So I never got to tell you THANK YOU for e-mailing your tips on hypnobirthing. Even though I didn't end up getting to use it, I still really appreciate you taking the time to give me all your tips. And just for a heads up, we ARE going to do Disneyland next Oct. The Hills are going, the Starkweathers are prob going, and we haven't talked to the Hawks yet, so if you guys want to join the party let us know!

Emma and Dan said...

Aw, you're so lucky that you get invited to take vacations with the Hollister crew. :)
Your greek yogurt recipe shows just exactly how dedicated you are to saving a buck but still getting what you want. Wish I wasn't so lazy. If I want something that's too costly, I just pretend I don't want it after all. Way to take charge!