Have you noticed that all of the yogurt brands have gone Greek? The probiotics craze has died down a little, so now a Greek yogurt craze has started. A straining method is used to remove the watery whey from the yogurt, producing a thicker and creamier product. About a year ago, health food stores were about the only ones that carried Greek yogurt. Now, it’s become so trendy that even Yoplait and Dannon have jumped on the bandwagon. You can already dismiss Yoplait as a viable contender because it contains gelatin (!). Since the prices have gone down, I’ve been able to sample a few, and I have fallen in love! Greek yogurt is very rich and creamy, yet can be low in fat depending on the milk fat percentage that you buy. It’s also a vegetarian’s dream because it can pack up to 24 grams of protein per 8 oz. serving!
So far, I’ve tried Stonyfield Farm’s Oikos Brand, Voskos, Dannon, and my own. They were all very good and had the same consistency. Their nutrition profiles differ slightly. Stonyfield’s Oikos and my own seemed to be the tangiest. Voskos Exotic Fig is the only flavored one that I tried. I’m not a fan of flavored yogurt because it has way too much sugar or sometimes contains gelatin. As a foodie, I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never tried fresh figs before. I’ve never really noticed them at the store, and I’m sure they would be expensive. So, I jumped on the chance to try fig flavored yogurt. It was delicious, with a plum taste to it that reminded me of plum baby food. Maybe the flavor was skewed by the additional fruit juice concentrate (pineapple, peach, pear). I would like to try the plain Voskos brand, as well as another brand called Fage (pronounced fa-yeh). I’ve even seen Fage sold at Costco!
Greek Yogurt can be a little pricey because it can take almost 3 times the amount of milk to make, so sometimes it’s better to prepare it at home. It’s really simple and tastes great! There are many ways to drain the yogurt. Besides cheesecloth, paper towels and coffee filters can also be used. I learned this method from a Cooking Light book that I own and use frequently. I’ve only tried the overnight drain. Plain or vanilla low-fat yogurt can be used, but make sure that it does not contain gelatin.
Option 1: Quick Drain (One 8 oz. container will yield ¼ cup)
- Spoon yogurt onto several layers of heavy-duty paper towels; spread to ½ inch thickness.
- Cover with additional paper towels; let stand 5 minutes.
- Scrape into bowl using a rubber spatula; cover and refrigerate.
- Place a colander in a 2 quart glass measure or medium bowl. Line colander with 4 layers of cheesecloth, allowing cheesecloth to extend over outside edges.
- Spoon yogurt into colander. Cover loosely with plastic wrap; refrigerate 12 hours.
- Spoon yogurt cheese into a bowl; discard liquid. Cover and refrigerate.
Source: Wesler, Cathy. (2000). The Complete cooking light cookbook. 2000-06.