Yogurt is one of the world’s best superfoods. It’s rich in probiotics, calcium, protein, and helps keep you healthy. With all its wonderful benefits for your body, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be enjoying some delicious yogurt every day.
There are many different kinds of yogurt varieties in the market. Greek yogurt is certainly among the best and healthiest of them all. It’s made using a special technique that results in a more nutrient-rich, thicker yogurt by straining the whey. But consuming Greek yogurt daily can take up a serious chunk out of your grocery budget; plus, you’ll end up tossing a troubling amount of plastic packaging out.
The process that goes into making Greek and regular yogurt starts out in the same way. Milk is heated, then cooled to a temperature that ferments, and finally the bacteria cultures will be added. The mixture is fermented until the bacteria continues to grow and produce lactic acid, then gels the milk’s proteins to form regular yogurt. Regular yogurt is then strained thoroughly to eliminate the excess lactose and liquid whey which gives you a thicker, tangier yogurt.
Aside from texture, there are also other differences between the two especially when it comes to the nutritional profile. Greek yogurt contains almost twice as much protein as regular yogurt, and unless you use nonfat milk, Greek yogurt also has thrice the saturated fat of regular yogurt. Lastly, Greek yogurt contains around half the carbohydrates except if you’re going to add sweeteners.
Making your own Greek yogurt at home is simple, easy, cheap, and healthy! It’s always satisfying to be able to make your own yogurt, and share it with your loved ones. As a bonus, you will always know what goes into every bite of your very own homemade Greek yogurt.
Benefits of Homemade Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is also an extremely versatile, tasty probiotic. It’s always good on its own, but here are some delicious ways you can integrate it into your food and cooking:
- Top it with your favorite fruits (even dried fruits), jams, nuts, and seeds for a nutrient powerhouse of a breakfast that’s loaded with all the good stuff.
- Use Greek yogurt to replace sour cream in virtually any recipe. It’s a much lower-calorie alternative.
- Instead of mayonnaise, use Greek yogurt to create a delicious but low calorie ranch dressing.
- Mix it up with oatmeal and berries for a sweet muesli parfait.
- Marinate chicken or pork in a mixture of Greek yogurt, dried herbs, and lemon juice. The active bacteria found in yogurt is a natural and effective meat tenderizer.
- Add some Greek yogurt to boost the protein content and enhance the avocado flavor of your guacamole. It also gives it a tangy bite.
- Blend it with a creamy but butter of your choice for a healthy sweet dip.
- Make a refreshing smoothie by tossing in some Greek yogurt and your favorite frozen fruits into a blender.
There’s an infinite number of ways you can use Greek yogurt in the kitchen.
But without further ado, here’s how you can make your own version right at home.
Greek Yogurt DIY Recipe
- 8 cups 2% pasteurized reduced fat milk
- 4 tablespoons plain yogurt (with active, live cultures; or a freeze-dried yogurt starter)
- 2 quart-sized glass jars with lids
- Small insulated cooler
- Pour the milk into a heavy-bottomed pot on medium heat. Bring the heat up to 180°F, and be sure to stir regularly to avoid scorching. When the milk has reached the ideal temperature, let it cool down to 110°F. You can also place the pot into an ice bath to speed up the cooling process.
- Once the milk has cooled down, add the yogurt to your pot. Whisk it thoroughly.
- Pour the starter mixture and milk into 2 quart-sized glass containers that have screw-on caps. Place the jars into a small, insulated cooler then fill it up with 120°F water until it nearly reaches the lid. Close the cooler then leave it in an area that is free from draft and any disturbances to incubate around 6 to 9 hours, or at least until it reaches your desired tartness.
- Once incubation has completed, remove the jars from the water bath and place it in the refrigerator for at least 7 hours to stop culturing and set the yogurt.
- After setting the yogurt, you can proceed to eat it as regular yogurt. However, in order to make it authentic Greek yogurt, it will require straining. Line a colander or bowl with two layers of cheesecloth, then place the finest mesh strainer you have over it. Add the yogurt by the spoonful onto the strainer, and allow it to drain for around two hours or until it has reached the desired thickness.
- Transfer the Greek yogurt into a storage container and keep refrigerated until you are ready to eat it.
Things To Keep In Mind
This recipe makes use of 2% milk, but you have the option of substituting it for skim or whole milk. The type and quality of milk that you use will have a great impact on the final product, so make sure that you use ingredients that are as high quality as possible. Some people prefer to use nonfat dry milk because it can help with thickening your Greek yogurt. Just make sure to use pasteurized milk; avoid the ultra-pasteurized varieties and UHT milk.
Additionally, while this recipe calls for setting the yogurt for 5 to 7 hours, it will work just fine if you leave it for even longer than that. You’ll also need store-bought Greek yogurt in this recipe, as long as it contains live and active bacteria cultures. For your future batches, you can use this homemade yogurt.
That’s all there is to it. We hope you enjoyed this recipe and making your very own homemade Greek yogurt.