Wednesday, April 27, 2011

D.I.Y., Fat-Free Greek Style Yogurt

If you love any kind of yogurt, and especially Greek style yogurt, then this is going to be a treat from the heavens.  If you have some spare time this week-end, invite some friends over and make yogurt together. You'll be dealing with fresh dairy, which contains live acidophilus cultures from yogurt, and you'll need to follow some simple but essential procedures – so it's a bit of a throwback to middle school chem class. Right up front I want to assure you that making yogurt is virtually foolproof – even for those lacking confidence in the kitchen. Just follow the three easy steps below.

Some purest strongly advocate the use of whole milk for Greek style yogurt, but I've adapted this recipe using fat-free milk and assure you that it is rich and creamy. (It also doesn't have the tartness that may turn some off.) If calories and fat are not an issue for you though, feel free to use any grade of milk you like. 

Basic Yogurt Facts
Many have heard that most (not all) store-bought yogurt contains a friendly bacteria called acidophilus, yet few really know why it is good for us. Acidophilus keeps the intestines clean, helps eliminates bad breath and flatulence, improves the complexion and can be effective in reversing the intestinal damage caused by antibiotic treatments. 

Yogurt is also great source of calcium, protein, and vitamin B.  Some people with digestive problems with Lactose common in dairy products can find some relief from eating yogurt because it the process of turning milk into yogurt transforms the lactose into lactic acid. This means your body doesn't have to process the sugars in the original milk product.

Personally, I've found that eating 8-12 ounces of yogurt not only aids in my digestion but helps me to lose weight.  Don't try and eat all that yogurt in one sitting, however. Break it up into 2-3 servings throughout the day and it can be quite sustaining.  It is thick, rich, and goes well with combinations of fresh fruit, granola or other ready-to-eat cereals. There are also a number of other uses for yogurt. For instance, it can be used in salad dressings, as a substitute for sour cream on your baked potato. Play and invent on your own and if you have a tip, please do share by leaving a comment at the bottom of the blog post. 



Easy 3-Step Homemade Greek Style Yogurt

Equipment and Supplies
digital thermometer (recommended)
4-qt stainless steel pot
glass or ceramic type bowl (preferably with a lid)
hemp bag or cheese cloth (used to strain the developed culture)



Ingredients
1 liter fat-free milk
2 tbsp fat-free plain yogurt with live active acidophilus cultures






  • Step 1
    Heat milk to 200-205°F – just under boiling point. (I like to heat the milk on medium-high heat.) Be sure to stir the bottom of your pot several times to prevent milk from scalding and burning on bottom of the pot. Once the milk reaches proper temperature remove immediately and transfer to a glass or ceramic bowl.

    While the milk is cooling, prepare the yogurt culture by taking 2 tbsp of good quality, plain, fat-free yogurt and mix with 1-2 tbsp of milk. Let this sit out at room temperature until the "cooked milk" is ready.






  • Step 2
    Let the milk cool to about 104°F and pour the yogurt/milk mixture into the milk carefully without disturbing the skin that may have formed on the surface of the milk. Cover. If your bowl doesn't have a lid, any pot cover will do – or even a clean towel.  Next place the bowl in a warm, draft-free place for 10 to 12 hours or overnight.  I use my oven for this part, and have found the interior light when left on creates enough warmth to help grow the culture. Likewise if you cook by gas and have a gas pilot that is constantly burning this will work well too. This part is important: do *not* disturb to allow the cultures to develop and the yogurt thickens.

    Step 3
    Remove bowl from its warm spot and remove the skin on the surface of the yogurt. Traditional methods call for pouring the yogurt into a muslin or cheesecloth bag. Hang the bag over a bowl and let drain for about 2 hours or until the desired thickness is obtained.  I have found that a hemp bag works best as it is much more durable and should last indefinitely.






  • Please help support Miss Barb's Kitchen by purchasing your digital thermometer and hemp bag through our Amazon Affiliate links to the left of this blog.






  • Good luck and, as always, please leave us a comment below and share your experience. My guess is that if you give this a try you'll be hooked. Remember: yogurt is a healthy snack for children too, one helpful way to get kids to eat well is to include them in the process of making and preparing the foods they eat.

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