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Topic: Greek yoghurt...food of the gods??  (Read 2318 times)
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batgirl
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« on: March 20, 2006 11:49:15 AM »

Greek yoghurt is just about the nicest food in the world...and the fatfree kind is so deliciously un-fat-free seeming. But what gives it that Greek style goodness? It's so expensive and hard to find...is there a way to "Greekify" normal yoghurt? Is it just strained? I must crack this ancient mystery! Any yoghurt afficianados able to unlock the creamy, dreamy secrets of this heavenly product?
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« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2006 12:01:28 PM »

The only time I've ever been able to find greek yoghurt was when I was in Madrid for a summer years ago.  We, of course, ruined the healthy aspect by adding a heaping teaspoon of sugar it and mixing - still soooo yummy!!
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« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2006 12:19:06 PM »

Yeah, of course I love it most with honey, almonds, cinnamon & nutmeg! Holy cow! But still, as desserts go that's pretty healthy!
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« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2006 01:21:49 PM »

Ah, I was going to direct you to several supermarkets...until I saw you weren't in the UK. We have plenty here just in bog standard stores, must be more popular over here I guess. Super yummy with greek honey & Pistachio's!
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« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2006 01:57:17 PM »

We have heaps over here in New Zealand too...
My favourite is this one, and its organic greek yoghurt, and then it has a thick layer of fruit sitting on the top and you mix it all in...sooooo so good!  And they have one variation with coffee sitting on the top OH MAN ITS LIKE HEAVEN!
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« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2006 02:02:40 PM »

We have it in stores like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods...but it's around $1.99 for  single serve container, whereas normal yoghurt is $3.50 for a huge container. So, I can GET it, I just can't afford it as a staple item...and it's so good!!
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« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2006 02:04:57 PM »

Oh, that's just plain mean of them! It's not too pricey here at all.
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« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2006 02:10:07 PM »

Tyler Florence has a recipe that uses it over on http://foodnetwork.com. The advice given is that if you can't get greek yogurt, to strain plain yogurt through cheesecloth over night in the fridge. I don't think it would be quite the same, not as tangy, but you could try adding tang to it with other things after you've thickened it up. Probably also expensive, but you might look for yogurt made from goat or sheep's milk. My mom used to make the best goat's milk yogurt, it was really thick, really creamy, and very tangy.
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« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2006 03:19:33 PM »

I was in Armenia last summer, and noticed that they made something deliciously similar to Greek yogurt by straining regular yogurt through cheesecloth, as TheBon suggested.  I thought it tasted slightly better than the Greek yogurt I've bought here in the states, but that might be because the milk was so fresh (right from our front yard!).  It was just as tangy as what we get here, and the consistency was great!  I haven't tried to make it yet (I do intend to), but I might try straining some off-brand first just to see if you can get close to your desired result, then maybe you could cut down the cost a little.  You can also make yogurt of your own.  Though I've never tried that either, here's a link with some ideas: http://www.stretcher.com/stories/971110c.cfm.  I wonder if that would be cheaper?
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« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2006 03:30:07 PM »

I ADORE Greek yogurt.  It is, truly, the food of the gods.  I eat two cups a day.  I'm not kidding.  I can't afford to sustain that, either....  Some stores carry larger tubs of the FAGE, which cuts the price a little. 

The straining works, but the product isn't quite the same.  The first problem is that the cheese-cloth method doesn't remove as much whey as the FAGE process does, so it doesn't thicken up quite as much.  The other nice thing about the FAGE is that they don't add milk solids to their cream base the way most US yogurt manufacuterers do.  They do that to thicken it up, and they add more extra solids to the low fat and nonfat varieties.  The problem is that it adds extra milk sugars, which are then gobbled up by the bacilli, resulting in a more sour yogurt.  I wondered for years why plain yogurt was so much sourer than full-fat varieties, and that is why.  Personally, I like a nice tang like you get with sour cream, but not overmuch sourness, so I prefer the strained yogurt that doesn't have that.  The other issue is that milk proteins will never feel as nice in the mouth as milk fats.  Adding milk solids raises the ratio of particular proteins to other components of the milk, meaning that the final result is less creamy, and may have a somewhat grainer (that's not really the right word, but....I can't think of a better one to express what I mean) texture than yogurts that haven't had those solids added, and basically just won't act like yogurt made in the traditional way. 

In other words, if you want to strain your own yogurt at home, you might consider trying to find yogurts that don't add milk solids.  This is difficult, because you can't always tell from the ingredients list.  Companies are allowed to include such solids along with the cream or milk they use, without listing them separately.  Moreover, a lot of yogurts use gelatin, pectin, cornstarch, and FOS, all of which will affect the straining process. 

To get around that, you can try to buy yogurt from a local dairy, but they aren't easy to find.  You can also go with organic yogurts, which are a bit more transparent in their manufacturing process.  The final option would be to make your own yogurt and then strain it yourself.  Yogurt making is supposed to be very easy, if you have a yogurt maker.  You start with milk, add starter (which is generally a couple spoons full of a commercial yogurt), and let it do it's thing.  Straining, on the other hand, is something of a chore.  I find it messy and inconvenient, and it never really measures up to the Greek.  But then, I've never strained a good yogurt--always the ones with gelatin and stuff.  So.

I may not have helped much.  But maybe this will give you some ideas.
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