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Greek yogurt is also called strained yogurt, yogurt cheese, sack yogurt, or kerned yogurt. It is made by straining the water content in regular yogurt thereby creating a creamier, thicker, and more dense consistency. (That is, the whey is being removed).
This type of yogurt has a thicker consistency than the normal unstrained yogurt; however, the distinctive sour taste of both are all preserved. Strained yogurt also has lower milk sugar than regular yogurt because the straining process has removed some of the lactose. This yogurt is usually strained to remove the excess watery whey, thereby creating a thicker and creamier texture.
In some countries such as the United States, thickeners are often added to regular yogurt and then referred to as “Greek yogurt”. Unlike real milk, greek yogurt contains a higher amount of protein. The body uses this protein for muscle building and bone repairs.
Making greek yogurt at home is not something very complicated. All you to do is to start by making your regular yogurt first; the end result is what determines the strained yogurt. To make your yogurt, you will need the two most important ingredients which are milk and a culture.
Greek yogurt ingredients
- Good quality milk: fresh milk or powdered milk is needed for making yogurt because it is what determines a good yogurt texture. Milk can be gotten from any source such as cow’s milk, goat’s milk, buffalo milk, powdered milk, or sheep milk.
- Starter culture: Starter culture is needed for making yogurt. This could be any small amount of another already formed yogurt that contains live bacteria – Some people add probiotics tablets to their yogurt, it is another type of starter culture too. You can simply buy your starter culture at the store (store-bought yogurt). Just be sure you are using yogurt that has live-culture or “active culture” in it so as to get the best result.
How to eat Greek yogurt
Eating Greek yogurt can help in weight loss; you can use Greek yogurt as topping for savory dishes such as crepes, pancakes, cheesecakes, banana bread, cookies cookie dough, dip, peanut butter smoothie, Greek salad and a lot more.
Greek yogurt is a good source of protein and some vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iodine, and vitamin B12, minerals, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and zinc. – Greek yogurt has less sugar content compared to regular yogurt.
Is Greek Yogurt bad for you?
The bad aspect of Greek yogurt is the fact that the water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, folic acid, and vitamin B12 as well as vitamin A in its beta-carotene form may be lost during the straining process.
How to make Greek yogurt
To make Greek yogurt we have to start by boiling the raw milk to destroy microorganisms and to reduce the water content and therefore create nicely textured yogurt at the end.
Making the yogurt
- Pour your desired amount of fresh milk into a medium-sized pot, place on heat to cook for 10 minutes.
- While the milk is cooking stir with a spatula every now and then to prevent it from boiling over.
- Once it has simmered for 10 minutes, take the milk off the heat and pour it out into the bowl you want to make the yogurt with.
- Leave the milk to cool down for 20-25 minutes undisturbed on the table surface.
- After 20 minutes of cooling the milk, insert a clean finger into the milk and wait for 8 seconds, (The ideal temperature for milk is about 42o C) at the end of the 8 seconds if your finger can no longer tolerate the heat from the milk, it means it is ready. But if it is still very hot wait for it. The milk should not be too hot or too cold if not the culture won’t work effectively as it is supposed.
- Dilute 2 tablespoons of your already made yogurt or starter culture with the boiled milk until it is runny. Your culture should be at room temperature.
- Pour it into the milk and stir 1 to 2 times, and do not over stir the milk. Cover the milk with cling film or a fitting cover.
- Use a thick towel or blanket to wrap the milk carefully to keep it warm all through. Place the milk in a warm place preferably in the warm oven to rest for 8 to 10 hours for it to set.
- 10 hours later, check the milk and unwrap it; you notice that a thick curd has formed which is the yogurt. If it has not fully formed, wrap it back and leave for another 2 hours to complete the process.
Straining the yogurt to turn it into Greek yogurt
- Place a cheesecloth in a strainer and place on a small bowl, pour your already made yogurt into the cheesecloth.
- Gently fold the cheesecloth and bring it together, you can place a little weight (pot cover or mug) over it to aid the straining process but do not press it hard.
- Leave the yogurt in the fridge to drain gently on its own; this might take about 4 hours.
- At the end of the 4 hours take the yogurt out of the fridge, you should notice a very thick and creamier yogurt, discard the whey once it has finished draining.
- Your Greek yogurt is ready; transfer into another bowl and sweeten with sugar. You can start eating it right away or store it in the fridge for later use. It can be used as a spread or for whatsoever that calls for Greek yogurt.
Greek yogurt health benefits
- It reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes because of its lower sugar levels compared to regular yogurt.
- The Protein in the strained yogurt is essential for good health
- Probiotics in Greek yogurt maintain the health of your gut