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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Making my own Greek Yogurt

Okay most of you know that I have this thing for Greek Yogurt. I LOVE IT! but it is expensive. I got to thinking there has GOT to be a way to make this sutff. So I got searching on the interent and also talked with some friends who tried a similar method. It sounded easy so I gave it a try.  It is SO easy and super yummy. So here are the easy instructions.. You have got to try this out.

I have a huge crock-pot so I made a full recipe. You could easily make less, by using half the ingredients.

1 gal milk ( I used fat free but the more fat the creamier the yogurt)
1 cup of plain high quality yogurt with active bacteria ( I used Nancy's)
White 'flour sack' type of dish towel or Cheese Cloth
Big Bowl
Crock Pot

Pour the milk into the crockpot. Turn on to low. Let cook for 2 1/2 hours. Unplug crock pot. Wait 3 hours. Scoop out a cup of the warm milk into a small bowl. Mix in the plain yogurt until smooth. Stir this mixture back into the warm milk. Put lid back on crock pot. Wrap crock pot in 2 big bath towels. Go to bed. In about 8-12 hours you will have a crock pot full of plain yogurt! Now before it is ready to eat you have a few more easy steps to do.

On top of the yogurt will be this watery liquid that is slightly yellow. This has to be drained off. To drain the yogurt: Open the dish towel and place it in the colander, put the colander in a slightly larger bowl. Scoop out the yogurt from the crockpot and let drain.  The more of the liquid you drain off the thicker the yogurt will be. You can just drain off a little and then whip it all up together. This will be about the consistency of plain store bought yogurt. The thick greek style that I like is about the consistency of sour cream I let mine drain about 4 hours and it was almost as thick as cream cheese! I mixed back  in some of the drained water to make mine the way I prefer. Let the yogurt cool in the fridge. I let mine drain and cool at the same time. When it's cold it is ready to eat.

I like mine just plain with a little fruit (berries especially) and some of my homemade granola. But you can add jam, fruit spread, honey, whatever to make it how you like it. I read that the Greek's like it with honey and walnuts, that sounds yummy! You can also use the plain yogurt as a substitute for sour cream.

Now the difference between regular plain yogurt and the thick greek style aren't just the consistency. I did a nutritional comparison on both. They both have the same calories and fat per serving BUT the greek style has double the protein (23 grams per cup!) and also about half the sugar, the sugar that is naturally in milk- so therefore less carbohydrates. Both are great for you, but I like the higher protein content. Adding some fresh fruit and a little homemade low fat granola and you have a great breakfast!

I am sure I will be making this a lot. I am going to experiment with some flavor additions. I will let you know how they tun out. My kids are pretty willing guinea pigs! I might even stop buying yogurt all together. It's nice knowing I am making a product without any added sugar, preservatives or gelatin that is in most store brands.  In fact look at the label next time you eat a small container of yogurt. Most brands have at least 27 grams of sugar per serving and most of those are from High Fructose Corn Syrup or chemical sugar substitutes.  For 27 grams of sugar you might as well have a bowl of sugar cereal or a donut- not the healthy choice you were thinking it was, right?  Okay off my soapbox for the moment.

Let me know if you try it out.

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