In the last few years the popularity of Greek yogurt has exploded in the world market – with sales rising over 2,000% percent in some places! But in fact this essential item is not new – it’s been an important part of Greek life and dishes for hundreds of years. The dish dates back as far as 6,000 years ago, and has been virtually indispensable throughout the Mediterranean.
According to DairyGoodness.ca Greek style yogurt is thicker, creamier, and better for cooking than other types of yogurt. Traditionally, it can be made from either sheep or cow’s milk, though many commercial brands use cow’s milk and ewe’s milk is reserved for usage by smaller companies or those sticking to a more traditional recipe. This delicious food is either made from milk that has had some water removed by straining or boiling, or from plain yogurt with some of the whey strained out to create that thick texture and concentrated flavor. Great for using in dips or to add a creamy texture to chicken, tuna fish, or ambrosia salads, Greek yogurt can be used in many ways to bring variety and elegance to countless dishes.
Greek yogurt is a dairy product that can be incorporated into any diet to provide you with a high amount of calcium – essential for healthy teeth and bones – as well as being high in protein to help keep your muscles and other organs healthy. Yogurt is also well known for containing essential probiotics which aid in digestive regularity. The nutrition information for Greek yogurt ranges by brand and depending whether you add fruit, cinnamon, other spices, or honey to the yogurt for additional flavor, but overall it is fairly low in calories, sugar, and sodium and will help you keep on track healthy living when enjoyed in moderation. Because of its high milk-fat content, Greek yogurt does tend to be high in saturated fat and you should not overindulge if you are working toward weight loss goals. Nutrition Data’s website provides visitors with very descriptive charts and graphs showing how Greek yogurt breaks down according to which minerals, vitamins, and other essentials you are looking to have in your diet. But overall, this is a dairy food that can be made a part of virtually anyone’s lifestyle.
Make your own Greek yogurt at home
As Greek yogurt can sometimes be more expensive than other yogurt varieties, many people are interested in making it at home for themselves. It is healthy, easy to make, and can provide you with a wonderful ingredient to add to many of your favorite recipes.
There are many ways you can make Greek yogurt at home depending on how involved you want to get in the process and how comfortable you are in the kitchen.
Essentially, to make Greek yogurt at home, all you need is some milk, some commercial yogurt that contains live cultures, a pot, some bowls, a thermometer, and a device for straining such as cheesecloth, coffee filters, or towels.
The easiest way is to use commercial, thinner yogurt, and strain out excess liquid. You can do this by lining a sieve with coffee filters and placing it over a bowl. Then simply set the commercial plain whole-milk yogurt in the sieve and refrigerate for 12 hours, allowing excess water to drain.
If you want to put a bit more effort and love into making your own Greek yogurt – but don’t worry, it’s not difficult! – begin by bringing 1 gallon whole milk to almost boiling (about 170 degrees Fahrenheit). Stir frequently as it gets hotter to avoid scorching. Don’t let the milk boil, just simmer around the edges. Pour in a non-metallic bowl, cover, and allow cooling at room temperature to 110-120 degrees F. Mix in 1 cup plain or vanilla flavored yogurt to introduce live cultures, cover again with towels to keep warm or place in an oven that has been warmed to 200 degrees for 5 minutes. (If you decide to use your oven, turn it off before placing the yogurt inside!) Allow the yogurt to set for 6-12 hours – you can simply leave it overnight. Drain excess liquid with a cheesecloth or a muslin bag by allowing the yogurt to hang for several hours over a towel or bowl. Once it has reached the consistency you’re looking for you can add fruit, honey, spices, jam, vanilla, chocolate or other flavoring to put some variety into your yogurt and make it your own. Try peaches, pineapple, blueberries, strawberries, cherries, and more.
Whether you make your own Greek yogurt at home or decide to buy it pre-made from the store and save yourself some time, this fantastic food is something your whole family can enjoy guilt free, so eat up!