Tuesday, July 17, 2012

It's Greek to me

All of these were in my fridge. Yes, I love yogurt.
Greek yogurt is the thing. I've been the skeptic. I figured it was a marketing ploy to charge $1.19 for a six-ounce container or $6 for a quart ($9.59 at the Good Food Store). Rip off.

See? Only milk.
I have my own yogurt that I love, love, love. I buy Dannon Low Fat Vanilla yogurt by the quart. It has saved my butt (literally from getting bigger) when I'm craving dessert. Dannon plain or vanilla has recognizable ingredients. Milk.
Uccky, gunky yogurt

Most other kinds (including the cheap Greek brands) have weird gunk in them like carrigeen and guar gum. (What the heck is guar gum anyway...is it even natural? Is it from a guar tree?)

But finally I caved and bought Greek. I saw Fage Greek at Aldi's. I tried it and I admit it was quite wonderful. Still expensive though, even at Aldi's. I decided to make my own.

Found out the only thing that makes Greek yogurt Greek is that it's strained. The whey separates from the solid part. Whey is the watery stuff.

Anybody can do this.  Use good yogurt; gunky won't work. Stick a coffee filter into a colander and place it over a bowl. Dump in the yogurt and put it the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Keep it in longer and it gets thicker. Voila! Greek yogurt--nothing short of glorious.

The other way is to make it from scratch. I used to make yogurt when my kids were little. They loved eating it with a little little freezer jam mixed in. Only thing it was kind of runny. I decided I'd try again but strain it after it had set in the fridge overnight.

You need just milk and a couple tablespoons of good quality plain yogurt for the starter (like Dannon, Fage, or Old Home). You can use nonfat. But I use low fat which makes a less tart yogurt,  is yummier and only a few calories more. A good bargain, I'd say.

Making yogurt is kind of like doing a science experiment. Not really time consuming once you get the hang of it. Just putzy.  Here's the best set of directions I found.  http://www.makeyourownyogurt.com/

I made two quarts. Both are already gone. I ate it all, I admit, in a few days. I eat it with fresh berries. Sometimes I add a little vanilla, honey or sliced almonds. It's so good, I could weep.

I promise, if I keep blogging, I won't make this into a foodie blog. There are enough good ones out there with amazing pictures and awesome layouts. My photographs are more the point-and-click variety and my layout is the basic template from Blogger. My skills are limited.

5 comments:

  1. Who are you and where is my friend Jacci?? lol

    Good job, I'm impressed. :)

    I love Greek yogurt btw... even made cupcakes for the wedding w/it.

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    1. What makes you surprised,LaDonna? I don't get it. Yeah, yogurt is a good sustitute for a ton of things in baking.

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  2. good going, Jacci!
    When I was a kid, yogurt was not available in stores as it is now. I guess that dates me, eh? So, my Dad, having grown up with yogurt, just made it all the time. Voila! Greek yogurt! Of course, we just called it yaiourti, never really knew it by it's English name. (By the same token, we called "'Greek chicken", "chicken.) He was a scientist, and we loved how carefully and meticulously cooked the ingredients, keeping a watchful eye on the temperature, and then wrapped the warm pot of yogurt in blankets. We would eagerly accompany him to check to see if it was ready yet. But, my favorite part was when he poured it into his homemade cheesecloth wrap and hung it over the sink. We would watch the liquid drain out, licking our lips as we waited, not so patiently, for it to set and be ready to eat. It was so good, we ate it plain, or for an occasional treat, added a little honey. In Greece, yogurt and honey is almost always on the dessert menu of any restaurant.
    When grocery store yogurt became available, it had absolutely no resemblance to what we had grown up with. It is great to see a resurgence of appreciation of the "real" thing, and to have it so readily available. (By the way, the brand that I really like is Oikos. It is made by Dannon and one other dairy. One of the two is made with only milk. Of course, that is the best one.)

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  3. Connie, you have such a rich heritage! I thought of you when I wrote about this post since you actually are my only Greek friend in Minnesota. :) I did hear, though, that Greek yogurt isn't solely Greek. Other Europeans make the same strained type of yogurt. A friend of mine years ago said how wonderful European yogurt, and there was no resemblance here.

    I try to stick with real food. Stuff that has less than five ingredients which are all recognizable and easy to pronounce. Yogurt is milk. Period.

    And, yes, Connie, I am just as outdated. Yogurt didn't make it into the stores until I was probably in junior high.

    Thanks for your comment, Connie!

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  4. I was just asking someone did you tell me about straining yogurt to thicken it up? the person i asked looked at me like i was a nutbag (this may be true but...). anyway, i'm glad i read this post because i got dannon and tried to do it, but apparently didn't wait long enough. thanks for the reminder!

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