Monday, September 6, 2010

Greek-Style thick Yogurt

As I already wrote, we eat yogurt everyday in our family,  twice a day sometimes. Les yaourts (and dairy-based desserts) are a big part of the French diet. Whenever I go back to France, I love going to the dairy section of any supermarkets. I love looking at the new offerings, the new packaging and generally go back home with more yogurts that I can have! It's just heaven to me!

I am lucky that we can find good yogurts in Philadelphia. We mostly purchase plain yogurt in large containers since we eat it all very quickly... or I make my own yogurts!  A big lover of thicker yogurt (that resembles what we call Fromage Blanc in France), I was happy to try the so-called Greek style yogurts when they came out. Unfortunately, Greek yogurt is not cheap; I therefore don't purchase it often.
On March 17th, Mark Bittman talked about making your own Greek yogurt at home in his weekly column. I had thought about some before but it took his column for me to experiment. I purchased our regular 2-pound-container of Organic Plain yogurt and a milk/nut bag from the Nature Store next to us. I poured the yogurt in the sack, put the sack in a colander, put the colander over a large bowl and put everything in the fridge for 4 hours. So much water came out in that lapse-time. I was really amazed....  Sure enough, the end-result is thick! And delicious! Very close to Fromage Blanc so we all loved it and ate it all with Muscovado sugar. Un vrai régal!

The process is not difficult. The time it takes to make it is fine : you can make it during the week-end and have plenty for the week. However, I was wondering whether it's really worth it. You see, you lose between 50 and 60% of the initial weight depending on how long you let the water drain. If you purchase a plain Organic yogurt container at $3.50 (for 2 pounds or 907 gr), then, assuming that you only lose 50% of the initial weight, your home-made Greek yogurt ends up costing you $7/lb (but cheaper than the Greek yogurts available around, no?).  Then, since you don't have cream added to the end-result yogurt, it still healthier (calorie-speaking) than commercial "Greek yogurt" that use both milk and cream (I know, that's why it tastes so good!). My only advice is for you to find a really good plain yogurt (or low fat) and then try it once. If you like the end-result of your home-made thick Greek-like yogurt, then make some when you have a few minutes to invest in your diet! And keep the commercially available Greek yogurts for special occasions. Bon Appétit!

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