How is Greek Yogurt Made? | YogurtNerd.com

How is Greek Yogurt Made?

  • October 16, 2019
  • / By Dianne Miles
Fresh Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is more than just another food item these days. It’s a rage, it’s a trend! Fitness freaks go absolutely gaga over it. Healthy eaters love it and so do many other people who just like having yogurt. 

It is yogurt, but better. It is better in consistency, in taste and its nutritional value. Fewer carbs, more protein — that’s what makes it so valuable.

It is healthy, it is tasty, it is all over goodness. But how exactly is Greek yogurt different from any other form of yogurt? What is the process that makes it so special? Let us look at the answers to these key questions in the following sections.

Greek yogurt is a type of yogurt that has a thick and creamy consistency. It is also characterized significantly by its tangy or tart taste. This taste is distinctive to yogurt. Due to its creamy texture, it is also known as yogurt cheese.

It is also called strained yogurt. This name comes from how Greek yogurt is made, which we shall be looking at in detail in the next section.

What is the Process of Making Greek Yogurt?

Greek yogurt stands out from the yogurt crowd because of its creamy consistency. This creamy consistency comes from straining of all the water that is usually found in yogurt. Before we move on to describe how Greek yogurt is made, let us quickly look at how yogurt is usually made, and also understand some crucial parts of yogurt.

Child Enjoying a Store-Bought Yogurt

Simple Steps to Make Yogurt

Yogurt is made by following these simple steps:

  1. 1
    Heat the milk.
  2. 2
    Cool down the milk to room temperature.
  3. 3
    Add bacterial culture to the milk. You may even use leftovers of yogurt.
  4. 4
    Leave this mix overnight, undisturbed.
  5. 5
    Once the yogurt is set, put it in the refrigerator.

What Do You See When You See Yogurt?

No, this is no trick question. No, I am not expecting you to see the live bacteria that reside in the yogurt. What I mean by this is to explain to you the components that constitute yogurt.

The usual variant of yogurt that is made using the process above has a watery substance that floats atop the white, lumpy and creamy mass. This watery substance is known as whey.

Making Greek Yogurt 101

When this watery substance, whey, is eliminated from the yogurt, we get a creamy-textured white mass of yogurt. This thick and creamy yogurt is known as Greek yogurt. It sounds quite easy to make yogurt and then strain the water out to get Greek yogurt.

It also is that easy. However, the success rate of achieving an ideal consistency depends on the recipe you follow. In the next section, we are going to look at a recipe to make Greek yogurt that has a fine consistency.

Meatless Gyro

How Can I Make Greek Yogurt at Home?

If you’ve grown up in a household where making yogurt at home is quite common, you will be used to winging the measurements for making Greek yogurt. You probably do not follow any guidelines or any recipes. For you, setting yogurt is possibly an almost everyday pre-bedtime ritual. 

However, if you are new to the world of DIY yogurt at home, first of all, welcome to the community! Second, don’t worry too much. The answer to how Greek yogurt is made is no big mystery. Here’s a simple yet effective recipe to achieve that perfect thickness, creaminess, and tanginess in your DIY Greek yogurt.

What You Would Need

  • 4 cups of milk
  • 2 tablespoons of live yogurt culture or packaged yogurt from the market
  • A saucepan
  • A whisk
  • A cheesecloth or an old cotton t-shirt

In case you do not have or prefer using cloth, you may purchase a Greek yogurt strainer, which will also make your life much easier.

Sauce Pan and Whisk

Let’s Get Started

Remember, making Greek yogurt is simple. Do not get overwhelmed by the process. Once you practice it a couple of times, you will soon know how Greek yogurt is made with perfection. Once you know it well, it will not seem daunting anymore.

Heat the Milk

It is highly preferable to use pasteurized milk to make yogurt. Bring the four cups of milk to a boil. Once the milk starts bubbling, turn off the heat and leave the pan to rest.

Cool the Milk

Heating and cooling—as ridiculous or redundant it may sound, the milk needs to be first boiled and then cooled down. You do not need to be a scientist, ready with a thermometer. Just leave the pan of milk to cool until it is pleasantly warm. This means that it is warm but does not burn your fingers if you dip them in the pan.

Add the Yogurt Culture

You may either be using a live bacterial culture or two tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt. The yogurt already has live bacteria in it, and hence makes it as good as the live bacterial culture. Stir it into the cool milk with a whisk.

Leave the Yogurt to Set

This is all about maintaining the temperature. An ideal temperature for setting yogurt would be 118 degrees Fahrenheit. To achieve this, depending on where you live, you may use the warmth of an oven light or simply wrap the utensil in a towel or a tea cozy.

Leave the mixture undisturbed for five to 10 hours. Once the time passes, you can check if it has set successfully by tilting the container. If it all moves away from the side in one piece, then it has set successfully.

Make it Greek

Now time to make the good, better. Use an old t-shirt or a double-layered cheesecloth to strain as much whey as possible. Let it strain for a couple of hours. The more whey it loses, the better. The creamy remains of the yogurt, which is the Greek yogurt, can then be stored in a separate jar and refrigerated.

Tzatziki Sauce

All Set to Have Some Amazing Greek Yogurt

Now that you have learned the science and the art of how Greek yogurt is made, you do not need to spend a whole lot on purchasing it off the shelf. Make making Greek yogurt a part of your daily life.

Once you get comfortable with the basics, you can take your Greek yogurt game to a whole new level by trying out different recipes that use Greek yogurt. Until next time, enjoy!