Wednesday, August 15, 2012

DIY: Turn Yoplait into Oikos

Thick, creamy Greek yogurt is all the rage right now.  It can be used in lots of ways.  Sub some for the mayo in your salad dressing.  Top it with fruit and honey for breakfast.  Use it as a base for a creamy dip.   I could go on and on. 
At about $1 per single serving, though, it's pretty expensive as yogurt goes.  But, you could save some serious cash by turning a cheaper yogurt version (such as Yoplait or the store brand or homemade from your own goat milk) into Greek-style yogurt.  After all, do you know how they get that Greek stuff so thick?  Lean in close . . . it's a big secret that the marketers would rather you not know . . . Ready for it?    . . .   They strain it.  Yep, that's it.  Doesn't sound too tough, huh?

All you need to make your own Greek-style yogurt is a tub of a plain yogurt that you like and a piece of butter muslin (it's a tighter weave than cheesecloth.)  Don't chicken out just because you don't have a piece of butter muslin.  You could order it from good 'ole or from a cheese supplier such as Cultures for Health, which sells it for $3.49.  You only need one because you just launder it and use it over and over again.  At $3.49, you could have it paid for in a week if you eat as much yogurt as I do!
1.  Line a colander with your butter muslin then pour your yogurt into the muslin-lined colander.
2.  Gather opposite corners and tie them together to suspend.  In the above pic, you can see how I suspend my yogurt/cheeses over my kitchen sink.  I've installed a hook over the sink for this purpose. 

I have seen others who strain like this, though, using kitchen cabinet doorknobs and a kitchen utensil to rig up a way to strain.  Just be sure to set a bowl directly underneath to catch all the excess liquid.

3.  Allow to strain until the desired thickness is achieved, up to 12 hours. 
4.  Transfer to a bowl, refrigerate, enjoy!

Now, in cheesemaking circles, this finished product is actually referred to as Yogurt Cheese.  Left plain, it's basically Greek-style yogurt, but you can salt it a bit to make an excellent spreadable cheese.

Here, I added chopped green onion, parsley, minced garlic, and a dash of lemon juice to create this flavorful cracker spread.

It really is delicious! 

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