Greek yogurt is easy to make, and is an essential ingredient in numerous dishes. Contrary to what people think, it's quite simple to prepare at home.
Did You Know?
One cup of milk produces a cup of American-style yogurt, while 4 cups of milk are required to produce a cup of Greek yogurt.
Yogurt is derived from the Turkish word 'yoğurt', and has been consumed for over 5000 years. According to ancient Greek doctors, it is a valuable medicine with many healing properties.
In the 5th century, Greek historian Herodotus of Halicarnassus mentioned yogurt extensively in his writings for its intestine cleansing effect and laxative properties. Yogurt is made using live microorganisms (cultures), and have the ability to alter the environment in which they breed.
Making Greek Yogurt at Home
Greek yogurt is very different from regular yogurt made at home or available in the market. As it is traditionally made with cow's milk or goat's milk, it is thicker than usual yogurt.
It is creamier and thicker, because the milk contains 9% to 10% more milk fat, than other milk. The higher fat content and the process of straining is what separates the making of Greek yogurt significantly different from the others varieties of yogurt.
Whole milk, 1 liter
Yogurt, 3 tablespoons
Large nonstick saucepan
2 medium-sized glass or earthen bowls
1 wooden ladle
1 plastic or a metal strainer
Cheesecloth or muslin
Warm the milk in a saucepan over medium heat. When you notice steam escaping, remove from heat.
Do not let the milk boil. Pour the milk into a glass or earthenware bowl. Avoid using steel bowls.
Set aside the milk to cool down, until just lukewarm.
To check the milk's temperature, feel the sides of the bowl with your hands.
Add 3 tablespoons of yogurt and stir to blend well.
Cover with a cloth napkin, and leave it overnight or for twelve hours to ferment. Don't move it from its place, until it is fermented.
After twelve hours, the yogurt will look like a white, thick custard. Place the cheesecloth or muslin cloth into the strainer and place a glass bowl underneath.
Using the ladle, spoon the yogurt into the cloth and strain all the whey, until it reaches desired consistency.
The straining process will take several hours, so it's best to transfer the yogurt along with the strainer into the fridge.
This straining process in the fridge will make the yogurt thicker and creamier.
Never strain for more than eight to ten hours as longer duration of straining will turn the yogurt into cheese.
You can flavor Greek yogurt. Add an essence or honey in the milk, before you add the yogurt. For a fruity flavor either add purée or fresh or frozen fruit cut into very small pieces.
For those who prefer yogurt to be sweet, blend some dried raisins or berries into paste, and stir in the milk. Remember to add flavor once the milk has cooled down, and before adding the tablespoons of yogurt.
Greek yogurt makes excellent dips, and are healthier than mayonnaise dips. It can be eaten plain or with a sprinkle of nuts or slices of fresh fruit. Now that you know how to make it, make it at home and top it with delicious red cherries and a spoonful of honey and watch it being scooped off the table! Enjoy this Greek food recipe!!