“Yogurt is a yogurt” is what most people would say but is that really so? Greek yogurt is different, tastier, and healthier! This is exactly the reason why health conscious people across the world are wondering how to make Greek yogurt at home.
So, how is Greek yogurt different from any other yogurt that you find in the supermarket? Greek yogurt is basically created through straining. It is a type of yogurt that has no whey and this means this yogurt possesses thick consistency. The consistency is somewhere between that of cheese and traditional yogurt. At the same time, the sour taste of yogurt is also well preserved.
Greek yogurt is not only consumed in Greece but also features in other cuisines like that of the Indian Subcontinent, Eastern Mediterranean, and Central Asia. This type of yogurt is consumed raw and is also used for a variety of recipes.
Can you believe it – The $4.1 billion yogurt industry in the US is alive and thriving thanks to the Greek yogurt segment. In Greece, this yogurt is used primarily as a base for their favorite tzatziki dip and desserts while in the US, it is used as a substitute for the high calorie crème fraîche or sour cream.
Making Your Bowl of Greek Yogurt!
Yes. Making your bowl of Greek yogurt is as easy as a walk in the park! Let’s take a peek into how to make Greek yogurt at home.
There are a few things that you will need in order to make this strained yogurt and they are:
- 3-4 cups or a plastic measuring cup
- 1-2 tablespoons of live culture yogurt, which is easily available at grocery stores
- 3-4 cups of milk. It is important to ensure that the milk has higher fat content as then the yogurt would be better
- A medium sized saucepan
- An egg beater or whisker
- A cheese cloth
Step#1: Scalding the Milk
Time: 5 to 10 minutes
The first step towards making Greek yogurt is scalding the milk. Scalding is a process through which you can pasteurize the milk. What you need to do is pour 3-4 cups of milk into a medium sized saucepan bring it to a boil. When you notice the milk bubbling around the edges of your saucepan, it is ready to be removed from the burner. Cover the milk in the pan with a lid and let it be.
Step#2: Cooling the Milk
Time: 60 minutes
This is an important step in the process of how to make Greek yogurt. You need to let the milk cool down to at least 115 degrees. If the milk is not cooled down completely then the process won’t work and you might end up getting yogurt that is too sour or lacks consistency.
Step#3: Adding the bacteria
Time: 1 minute
It is time to add the bacteria. Greek yogurt and for that matter any yogurt is produced through bacterial fermentation of milk. The traditional yogurt is prepared by using “lactobacilli” bacteria but for Greek yogurt you can use yogurt culture packets. All you need to add is 2 tablespoons of the culture and stir it well. Pour this mixture into another vessel or saucepan. Once in the saucepan, you can whisk it well.
Step#4: Greek Yogurt is formed
You need to keep the mixture overnight at a temperature of 108 degrees. Depending on your need, you can also keep it for a shorter duration like 4 hours.
Alternatively, you can use an electric yogurt maker, which can chill the mixture for shorter or longer periods depending on your need. If you keep it in the yogurt maker for shorter period of time then the yogurt will be mildly flavored.
If you are not using an electric yogurt maker then keep the mixture into the oven and warm it for 4-5 minutes. Take it out of the oven and keep it in your kitchen covered with a lid for 6-12 hours. When you wake up in the morning, the yogurt will be ready!
Obviously, there is one last step still remaining in how to make Greek yogurt!
Step#5: Straining the yogurt
Time: 2 hours
Whether you are making your yogurt using an electric yogurt maker or the traditional way, you need to strain it in order to derive your bowl of Greek yogurt.
At this point, you can use a cheese cloth or any other old t-shirt or tea towel for straining. Stretch the cloth well over the top of the bowl containing the curd. Make sure, the cloth stays in its place during straining. Now, pour the yogurt into the strainer and keep the bowl and yogurt in strainer together in the refrigerator. Let it drain for a few hours.
Note: The longer you drain, the thicker will be the consistency of the yogurt.
You are now ready to serve your Greek yogurt! Now wasn’t that easy?
Benefits of Greek Yogurt for the Health Conscious
- Digestion: Thanks to the probiotics in the Greek yogurt, it is considered a blessing for your gut. The healthy bacteria present in the strained yogurt helps in increasing the good bacteria that already exists in your digestive system. The healthy balance of good bacteria in your gut can take care of several digestion related problems or issues. One of the problems it fights well is diarrhea. It is also helpful for patients suffering from intestinal diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s, and irritable bowel syndrome.
- Bone Health: Yes, your Greek yogurt is rich in calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, protein, and potassium! These minerals work together in promoting healthy and strong bones. It is any day better than over-the-counter calcium supplements.
- Lactose Intolerance: People suffering from Lactose intolerance are basically sensitive to lactose, which is a milk sugar. Some of the symptoms of lactose intolerance include flatulence, bloating, and diarrhea. Since, Greek yogurt is considered to be a lower lactose food, it is a blessing for those with Lactose intolerance. Greek yogurt contains probiotics that help in breaking down lactose sugar and this makes it easy to digest.
The Greek Yogurt Maker for the Health Conscious!
Why do you need a Greek yogurt maker or rather do you need a Greek yogurt maker? Well! For once, something as simple as yogurt has become a globally popular form of food that is enjoyed all the way from Canada to Chile and from Germany to Japan.
A research by Global Industry Analysts, Inc has forecasted that the global consumption of yogurt is expected to be in excess of $67 billion by 2015. This is more so because of the growing desire of the consumer for healthy food products and the fact that there has been an increasing popularity as far as yogurt being a functional food is concerned.
The Greek yogurt is being preferred over the traditional or conventional yogurt because of it having low calories. In an age where people are increasingly becoming health conscious, the Greek yogurt stands apart from other functional foods as one of the most ideal mediums of delivering healthy ingredients.
One of the prime reasons for the popularity of yogurt is the fact that it is a great source of calcium. As it is good for the digestion, it can be consumed by everyone right from children to the elderly.
If you are someone who loves to remain healthy and fit then Greek yogurt is the way to go. It is a time consuming process that requires making the yogurt and straining it but with the help of the new age Greek yogurt maker machines, creating the perfect yogurt for daily consumption has become even easier.
How to Choose a Greek Yogurt Maker
When it comes to picking up a Greek yogurt maker, it can be quite a difficult path to follow. The question is how can you choose the right yogurt maker for your home? Here are a few things to check out:
- Price: Different brands of yogurt makers come with different price tags. You need to understand that it is a simple machine without any complicated process and hence the price should be highly affordable. If you find a yogurt maker with a price tag of $300 then that is one deal you should steer clear from.
- Capacity: The capacity is another important aspect to look out for. The capacity is a determinant of price and should be chosen based on the requirement. A family of four people having Greek yogurt once a day does not require a machine with a capacity of 4 quarts. A 2 quart (0.5 gallons) capacity should be good enough.
- Multi Jars: There are some Greek yogurt makers that are available with multi jar functionality. This works great for families with more members and each member wanting a taste of different flavors. Yogurt makers are available for anywhere between 2 to 7 jars and you can prepare Greek yogurt with different flavors in each jar. The more the number of glass jars, the more flavors you can use. The deal is that these jars are dishwasher safe and BPA free!
- Controlling Ingredients: This is another important functionality that you should check before picking up a Greek yogurt maker. Some of the machines have been created to help you in controlling ingredients, sweetness, consistency or thickness as well as calorie or fat content. The fat content can be selected in some of the machines like whole, 1%, 2%, skimmed, etc.
- Timer and Controls: You need to check for controls that are easy to use. Most of the modern day Greek yogurt makers come with a built in timer functionality. The job of the timer control is to ensure you are able to set a specific processing time for making Greek yogurt or any yogurt recipe. Some machines lack a timer control while others come with an automatic cooling and shut off functionality.
- Thermostat: Not all Greek yogurt makers have a built in thermostat. The function of the thermostat is to control the temperature and ensure it is effective enough for making the yogurt. It is in fact one of the most important elements or part of a yogurt maker.
- Inbuilt strainer: Straining is an essential aspect in the process of preparation of Greek yogurt. You wouldn’t want to end up straining the yogurt using a cheese cloth as this is a lengthy procedure. A strainer is a type of sieve that helps in straining the yogurt to make its consistency richer. The longer you strain, the better your Greek yogurt would be.
- Electrical: There are two varieties of yogurt makers available – electric and non-electric. In non-electric machines, hot water has to be added to warm the milk to enable fermentation. The electric machine has a timer control that helps in controlling the temperature and keeps it consistent for perfect fermentation.
- Light indicators: Most of the electric Greek yogurt makers are available with an on/off switch and light indicators that will notify you regarding the working of the system.
- Warranty: Last but not the least; check out the warranty. The warranty is normally applicable on the Greek yogurt maker and its parts. The duration of warranty may vary from product to product but the standard warranty is from 1 to 3 years.
There are several salient benefits of using a Greek yogurt maker not to mention the health advantage. The benefits you can enjoy include:
- Healthy food in the least possible time: Using the yogurt maker, you can prepare Greek yogurts in less than 5 years while the conventional process requires at least 12 hours.
- No additives or preservatives: Since you are preparing yogurt at home using these machines, you can ensure no preservatives or additives are used. The home made Greek yogurt will also not contain any artificial colors.
- Cost of yogurt: In the long run, the cost of making yogurt at home will be much less than buying it from a grocery store. You will end up saving a lot of money.
The bottom line is that a Greek yogurt maker is definitely one really valuable addition to any home as it helps in the preparation of a food that has several salient health benefits.