Saturday, April 9, 2011

Easy Thickened Yogurt and Whey

I've only haphazardly tried making my own yogurt - it's one of those things On My List that I will work into my habit more consistently once I've moved.  But I regularly buy my yogurt plain in one of the large tubs, making sure it's a good one with all the nice probiotics that make yogurt such a good thing to eat.

Usually, I wind up using a bit of it at its normal consistency to cook a meal that would call for yogurt or sour cream, and then follow this process to thicken it up.  My end result is somewhere between thick Greek-style yogurt and commercial cream cheese, and it works great as either a fluffly spread or as the base of parfait (throw in some crunchy granola bits, dried fruit, bits of fresh fruit, nuts, a drizzle of honey and this is an awesome breakfast or dessert.

I've seen instructions for this that call for cheesecloth and hanging it from the kitchen faucet and all sorts of convolutions like that but that sounds just fussy enough for me to rarely bother (my sink gets heavy use - food stuffs hanging out in there would be so beyond annoying to me).

So here's my lazy girl's method of thickening plain yogurt - get one of those middling sized mesh strainers (mine's 6" across) with a lip of some sort on it so it will rest on the edge of a bowl.    The bowl should be deep enough that the strainer allows for at least a couple inches at the bottom - you want to be sure that as the whey drips into the bowl, the strainer doesn't wind up sitting in the whey.

Now, instead of cheesecloth, jus slip a basket style coffee filter into the strainer.  Dump the container of plain yogurt into the coffee filter and... that's it.  Cover it (a clean dish cloth is fine) and pop it into the fridge.


In about 4 hours, you'll have good thick Greek yogurt.  Another 4 hours, and it will be as thick as spreadable cream cheese.

The coffee filter makes it extremely easy to turn it into a container for storage in the refrigerator - the filter can be picked up (carefully so the contents don't fall out), held over the container and one little shake plops the whole thing into the container with very little still left on the filter to be scraped off.

And then, there's the whey - the leftover liquid that has drained into the bowl is a wonderful little bonus - and reason enough to get your 'greek yogurt' this way rather than buying it at much higher cost already thickened.

Pour the liquid into a glass jar (this is a clean spaghetti sauce jar), and keep it stowed in the refrigerator - it'll keep for up to six months at least, although mine never lasts that long.

Whey is an acidic pale yellow liquid that is perfect for adding to dried beans when they're soaking to aid with digestibility, to soak whole grains for the same reason, as a healthy addition to soups or smoothies.  You can even stir a bit of it back into the thickened yogurt if you suddenly have an urge to eat it at its thinner consistency.  I add a couple splashes to whatever I'm making and by the time it's gone, so is my thickened yogurt, so I do all this again.

All of this takes about 10 minutes actual work total, including washing the dishes used, and yields great returns in terms of healthy refrigerator ingredients and in cost savings.  Can't beat that!

(shared with Saturday Nite Special, Whatcha Got Weekend, Weekend WanderCheck Me Out Saturday, Weekend Wrap Party, Show and Share Day, Think Pink Sundays, Not Baaaad Bloghop, Sunday Showcase, Sundae Scoop Sunday, Amaze Me Monday, Craft-O-Maniac Monday, Making Monday Marvelous, Motivate Me Monday, DIY Project Parade, Made With Love Monday, Homemaker Monday, Market Yourself Monday, Midnight Maniac Meatless Monday, Monday Mania, Motivated Monday, You're So Very Creative, Making the World Cuter Monday, Mad Skills Monday, Mouthwatering Monday, Tuesdays at the Table, Tuesday Night Supper Club, Made From Scratch Tuesday, Tuesday's Tasty TidbitsGet Your Craft On, Anything Related, Hearth and Soul Hop, What's On the Menu Wednesday, We Did It Wednesday, Whatever Goes Wednesday, Show and Tell Wednesday, Make It Yours Day, Real Food Wednesday, Works For Me Wednesday, Penny Pinching Party, Hump Day Link Love, Full Plate Thursday, Thrilling Thursday, It's a Keeper Thursday, Strut Your Stuff Thursday, Show Off Your Stuff Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter Thursday)

20 comments:

  1. I love the use of the coffee filter! I use those suckers for everything! I did not know all of that about the whey and never thought about adding it to beans or anything. Now that I know, I have GOT to try this! Thanks!

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  2. how cool. i never knew you could make your own greek yogurt. and the whey is that like whey protein that you add to smoothies at like jamba juice? this is a very interesting post. thanks for sharing

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  3. The powdered whey proteins are dehydrated, so yup, same benefits, just in a more direct form.

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  4. Love this post!!!Soaking grains in the liquid is a great idea. I am a new follower and love your blog! Stopping by from Flamingo Toes.
    Hope you will come see me too!
    http://lookmanohands-robinson.blogspot.com/

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  5. I am so doing this but what do you think constitutes a good yogurt to try this? I have wanted to make Greek Yogurt because it is so expensive in store! Great post!

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  6. Thanks! I go for either Dannon or Stonybrook Plain. I've done it with both low fat and full and it works either way, but the very best is using Stonybrook with the creamy top layer. We taste tested that as the base for this thickened yogurt against Oikos Greek yogurt and it was close to identical.

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  7. Thank you so much for sharing this! I have just recently found out about and started buying Greek yogurt. (it is quite expensive) I found you through DIY project parade. Would love to have you visit my blog sometime :)

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  8. I always wonder what to do with the whey after I make my yogurt greek! THANKS for posting on Tatertots and Jello!
    www.project-purple.blogspot.com

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  9. Popping in from Craft-O-Maniac ...

    Sweet! I've been wanting to try something like this for so long, but was turn off for the reasons you mentioned: fussy, hassle, etc. Thank you so much for a straight-forward approach and awesome tips for the whey.

    ~Nike@Thrive
    choosetothriveblog@gmail.com

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  10. Brilliant, I think I will try that out. Specially for replacing sour cream, thanks so much for sharing!

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  11. Thanks for posting this one.I love Greek food and I love the combination of yogurt in it..such a delight. I am your newest follower- Marelie www.cookiedropletsetcbymarelie.com

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  12. Nice! I totally need to make my own yogurt. Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

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  13. Wow! My husband is Middle Eastern and we have been making Greek Yogurt by hanging it over the faucet for years. This method is much easier. Also, I didn't know the tips about the whey! Great post. I might suggest using a coffee filter that is unbleached.
    Bleaching is not good for the environment or you. Bleaching uses chlorine which exposes you to a chemical toxin called dioxin.
    No-bleach production also doesn't pollute lakes and streams with chlorine

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  14. Thanks for the tips. Greek yogurt is so much more expensive than regular yogurt. I will try this next time I buy yogurt

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  15. love it!
    LIB
    http://bit.ly/9ZjoY1

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  16. Great tip! I often do this with my yogurt, especially so as to have whey around for soaking things. But I've always done the cheese cloth tied to a kitchen cabinet knob thing. And it's not my favorite task. A coffee filter makes it so much easier and neater!!

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  17. I've made all sorts of things from strained yogurt - "cheese balls", dips, etc. - but I've never thought to save the whey. Great tips for it's use!

    Thanks for sharing at the Hearth and Soul Hop!

    Michele@FitFoodista

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  18. how funny..i just made a batch of yogurt myself--i love all the great tips you give for the whey..i have to admit, i have been giving mine to the dogs with their food..it really helps with their coat. but now i am going to keep it for myself :) thank you for sharing with tuesday night supper club

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  19. I thought I commented on this already but I think I didn't complete it. I love this idea and I am going to try it really soon. Thanks for sharing.

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  20. I really use Yogurt often. This is great information to have. I am going to try it right away. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and hope to see you next week!

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