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Greek vs other yogurt

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Old 09-05-2012, 06:32 PM   #1
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Default Greek vs other yogurt

What is the difference in the Greek yogurt vs the other kinds? Is it all in taste and/or healthiness.
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Old 09-05-2012, 06:45 PM   #2
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Greek yogurt tends to have far more protein then regular yogurt. It is also a lot thicker. Other than those two things, I am unsure of the differences. I know that I prefer greek yogurt tho as it makes me feel more satisfied.
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Old 09-05-2012, 09:09 PM   #3
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greek yogurt has been strained to remove more of the liquid from it. that's what makes it thicker than regular yogurt. i LOVE the stuff. You can make your own, too, if you get ambitious. Line a strainer with a paper towel or cheesecloth or coffee filter, and put it over a large bowl, one that's deep enough that the strainer won't sit in the liquid as it strains.

dump a large container [like two pounds, but you can do it with one pound] of regular plain yogurt into the strainer, cover it with some plastic wrap and stick it in the refrig for a few hours [maybe up to 5-6, depending on how thick you want it.

and that's all there is to it!
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Old 09-06-2012, 10:29 AM   #4
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I love greek yogurt, but I will admit that I had to get used to it. Some brands are very thick (like sour cream) and some are more sour than others. I prefer then less sour ones (ie not chobani). Other people completely disagree and love chobani. When I lived up north I loved Wegmans Store brand. Down here I get Oikos or Voskos. I love to put granola in it.
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Old 09-06-2012, 10:55 AM   #5
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It's strained and therefore thicker, like other posters said.

I never cared for "non-Greek" yogurt but I LOVE Greek yogurt. I eat 2% milkfat Fage brand plain. Prefer higher fat over nonfat - nonfat is too dry for my liking.
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Old 09-06-2012, 11:16 AM   #6
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Straining is the main difference (the protein difference occurs because of the straining, by straining out the whey, the protein and other nutrients are concentrated).

Some people (mostly of greek heritage) argue that to truly be greek yogurt (and not justgreek-style yogurt) it should be made by the same methods and using only the yogurt bacteria strains that are used in Greece (because each yogurt strain produces it's own unique flavor and texture).

Since learning to make my own yogurt, I've discovered that the tartness of yogurt is determined by the incubation time and how much starter you use (less is better. Too much starter and the yogurt gets more sour with a bitter edge).

Because yogurt with live cultures continues to incubate in the fridge (much more slowly) the longer a yogurt sits in the fridge, the more tart it becomes. Which makes me wonder just how "old" store yogurt really is (wish they had a made on date rather than or in addition to a use by date).

I don't even buy store-bought yogurt anymore, except to use as starter (if I've gone too long between batches to feel good about use my own yogurt as a starter. I should freeze some, but I'm not that diligent.

I LOVE being able to control the tartness of the yogurt. I like my yogurt very mild, almost like creme fraiche (barely sour).

I thought it was the texture of the greek yogurt I liked, but I've proven myself wrong. I don't strain my own yogurt, and I like the texture fine.

I do usually use a greek yogurt, because most of the greek yogurts I've found in the store use at least three different strains of bacteria. I figured that at least ONE of the bacteria would likely flourish.

Later I read that beginners should stick to single-strain bacteria until they were familiar with the process. Now that I know more I think the main reason people suggest this is that a beginner is likely to become concerned if their yogurt comes out with a different flavor or texture than the previous batch (making them wonder whether they've done something horribly wrong).

And I have to say that each batch I've made so far (about six) has come out slightly differently, and I'm learning how to manipulate it to get exactly what I want.

I use my slow cooker for the whole process (I started on the stove). The slow cooker heats the milk more slowly in the crock pot, so the proteins denature more completely (making a thicker yogurt) and more water evaporates from the milk (also making a thicker yogurt), and I use the best milk I can afford (yep, also makes the yogurt thicker, and better tasting), and once I add the starter, I don't let it sit (incubate) for more than 5 hours.

The texture (even without straining) can range from sort of slippery (which can range from silky to slimy), to almost as thick as sour cream. There are yogurt bacteria "charts" online that list the different flavors and textures of the different yogurt strains. I've been tempted to buy the dried starter for this reason (and because then I don't have to worry about how long my starter has been sitting in the fridge).

I'm especially curious about the strains that list a flavor that is described as being "cheese" or "cheesecake."

I thought yogurt making would be complicated and messy, but it's so simple it's like doing nothing. The only work I do is pour the milk into the crockpot, set the thermometer, wait, after the thermometer beeps, wait some more, add the starter, and wrap the crockpot in a towel set on a heating pad set on medium or low and wait some more.

It's less work than loading the dishwasher, it just has to be done on a day when I'm going to be home for a few hours (the heating and cooling phases). Once the yogurt is incubating, I just have to be back before the five or six hour mark (I've incubated as long as 12 hours and it still makes very good yogurt that I still like much better than store-bought yogurt, I just prefer the 5 to 6 hour yogurt better).

If I had known how easy yogurt was to make at home (and how much better it tasted) I would have saved myself probably a couple thousand dollars and some serious landfill space. I also wouldn't have had to struggle to get my dairy exchanges in (I almost always use an exchange plan for weight loss).
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Old 09-06-2012, 11:21 PM   #7
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Alright, Kaplods, you've got me intrigued. Would you please post or link or PM me the exact recipe? I adore my crock pot, and am always up to try something new with it.
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Old 09-07-2012, 07:50 AM   #8
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Kaplods, thanks for all that information! I used to special-order plain soy yogurt from my whole foods store, but it was a pain.

Do you know if it's possible to make soy yogurt (or better yet, coconut milk yogurt) like you described? I'm allergic to dairy but LOVE plain yogurt!

Last edited by FirstLove : 09-07-2012 at 07:52 AM. Reason: clumsy morning fingers
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Old 09-07-2012, 03:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FirstLove View Post
Kaplods, thanks for all that information! I used to special-order plain soy yogurt from my whole foods store, but it was a pain.

Do you know if it's possible to make soy yogurt (or better yet, coconut milk yogurt) like you described? I'm allergic to dairy but LOVE plain yogurt!

Yes, it is possible. I've never tried it, but when I was looking online for yogurt directions, I found directions for making vegan yogurts from soy milk, coconut milk and other milk substitutes. The steps were similar. If you google the soy yogurt recipes, you'll find several, and you probably can adapt them to the crock pot if you don't find a crockpot recipe.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Riddy View Post
Alright, Kaplods, you've got me intrigued. Would you please post or link or PM me the exact recipe? I adore my crock pot, and am always up to try something new with it.

The recipe is so simple, that I'll post it here, in case anyone else is interested.

I highly recommend a digital food thermometer with an alarm. I got mine from Target for under $20. It sounds an alarm when the food hits the target temperature. In hindsight, I wish I had gotten one that can be set for when the food cools off to the desired temperature (hubby says they're available, but significantly more expensive).

You don't need a digital thermometer, but if you have one you don't have to check on the temperature as the milk heats up and cools down as often.

My method

Ingredients and Supplies

2 large bath towels
1 heating pad (like you use for sore muscles)
1 crockpot that holds at least 2 quarts of milk (you can make smaller batches, but I always make at least 2 quarts)
1 small bowl
1 teaspoon (not a measuring spoon, just an ordinary spoon)
2-3 quarts milk (I use 3 quarts because that's what will fit in my crockpot).

1 rounded tsp any plain live-culture yogurt per quart of milk, to use as starter (I use either plain Oikos or Fage greek yogurt, or yogurt from my previous batch) You'll be tempted to use more, but more isn't better. Too much starter makes the yogurt bitter.

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OPTIONAL ingredients and supplies

1 tsp of sugar per quart of milk (entirely optional, it supposedly gets the bacteria multiplying faster and helps make a thicker yogurt. I'm not sure this does much of anything though as I couldn't tell any difference between the batches made with or without the tsp of sugar)

1 small tupperware container (or even a ziploc bag) - to store a bit of finished yogurt to use as starter for the next batch. This is optional, because you can use store-bought yogurt every time if you want to. I didn't start using my own yogurt as starter until the third or fourth batch, because I wasn't confident that my yogurt's bacteria was strong enough. I needn't have worried.

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1. Pour milk into crockpot. Set your digital thermometer alarm for 190 degrees (some recipes call for 180, but I find 190 makes a thicker yogurt), put the digital thermometer probe into the yogurt and cover with the lid (which will also hold the thermometer probe in place). Turn the crockpot on high. Wait for alarm to ring. (If you don't have a digital thermometer, check the temp periodically).

2. When the milk reaches 190, unplug the crockpot and remove the cover. Turn off the thermometer alarm, but leave the thermometer in the milk. If your crockpot has a removeable crock liner, take out the crock and set it on one of the bath towels. Allow the milk to cool to 110 to 120 degrees (this is where the cooling alarm would come in handy - I just check the temp every 20 minutes or so. You can cool the milk more quickly by putting the crock in a sink filled with a couple inches of ice water - but I never bother. I let it cool on the counter.

3. When the milk has cooled to 110 to 120 degrees (any higher and it will kill the yogurt, so I usually don't add it until it's no more than 115 degrees, just in case) put the yogurt in the bowl and add about 1/2 a cup of the warm milk to it. If you're going to add the sugar add it into the bowl too. Stir the mixture until it's smooth, and pour it back into the crock and stir the milk (this is just to evenly distribute the yogurt).

4. Plug in the heating pad and turn it to low or medium and put it on the counter. Cover with a towel. Put the lid back on the crockpot (with the thermometer probe still in the milk), and put the milk-filled crockpot onto the towel. Wrap the towels around the crock (making sure that the thermometer readout box is visible, so you don't have to unwrap the crockpot to check the temperature). Set the thermometer alarm for about 110 to 112 degrees (as long as it stays under 115 it's fine).

5. Let sit for 5 to 12 hours. Periodically check the temperature readout. You want the temperature to stay in the 95 to 110 degree range. That's why I set the alarm for 112 degrees. If the temp goes below 100, I'll switch the heating pad to medium, and if it raises above 110 degrees, I'll switch it down to low.

6. After 4 to 5 hours, you can check to see if the yogurt is as thick or as tart as you want it. I primarily judge by flavor, because flavor is more important to me and the yogurt does get thicker in the fridge (and you can always strain it through cheesecloth if you want. I don't bother). If it hasn't thickened at all, your starter may be dead (this is why I always have a back-up starter. I usually use my homemade yogurt from the previous batch, but if it hasn't thickened after 5 hours, I will go back to step 3, using store bought yogurt as the starter, and continue on).

7. Put a 1/4 to 1/3 cup of yogurt in a small sealable container (or even a ziploc bag if you have to). This is your starter for your next batch (you can also freeze the starter, but I've never tried it).

8. Pour the yogurt into a sealable container (or just put the crockpot in the fridge, if you have room).

I usually just put the crockpot in the fridge, and serve out of the crockpot. I am careful not to "double dip" but even so, I always set the starter aside before dipping out of the crockpot (I want to make sure the starter stays as "clean" as possible, so I always take out my starter first).


You can sweeten/flavor the yogurt before you put it in the fridge, if you want - but I season per serving right before eating, because the yogurt is more versatile that way. I can use it as sour cream, I can use it in smoothies, I can use some as a marinade base for chicken...

Personally, I like it "barely sour" so I'm careful not to use too much starter, and try to incubate for the shortest time possible.

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Tips

There are a lot of great tips online, so browse some of the online instructions.

If you don't have a digital thermometer, or any thermometer, some of the instructions online give instructions for testing the temperature without a thermometer (you have to do a lot more work this way, because you have to check the yogurt a lot more often. The $15 - $20 investment in a digital food thermometer is well worth the time savings).

If you're not going to make yogurt frequently, then you probably don't want to let your starter sit too long in the fridge. Freezing it, or just using store-bought yogurt may be a better option. Personally, I've used starter as old as 3 weeks (from the time it was made) without problems. However I usually make yogurt just about every week, because I eat about two servings per day.

If you want your yogurt thicker, you can add dry milk powder with the milk. I don't find this necessary.

Whey does rise to the top as the yogurt sits. you can either stir it back in, or spoon it off. I spoon it off, and gradually as more whey is removed, the yogurt gets thicker and thicker (you can strain it of course to thicken more quickly, but I don't mind just pouring/spooning off the whey every day and let the yogurt thicken on it's own).
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Last edited by kaplods : 09-07-2012 at 11:15 PM.
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Old 09-07-2012, 10:36 PM   #10
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Thanks so much, Kaplods! I can't wait to try this out!
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Old 09-07-2012, 11:15 PM   #11
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I meant to say 1 tsp of yogurt per quart of milk, not per gallon.
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:32 PM   #12
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Wow, how very thoughtful to write all that out, Kaplods! I cringe to think of all the money I spent on store-bought yogurt, when I could have been making my own. I'll try it this weekend!
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:40 PM   #13
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Yes to all of the forementioned! The recipes are all on line. I love Wegmans greek yogurt too and I have Wegmans 5 minutes from my house! I also like fage and it is easy to make your own. Once I tried Greek yogurt, I never went back to regular, it is so rich and creamy. Enjoy!
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:49 PM   #14
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I was spending a small fortune on yogurt and greek yogurt, which first inspired me to try making it on my own, but it's the flavor and texture that really impressed me.

I always had a hard time getting in my dairy servings (I follow an exchange plan that allows two servings of dairy) even with storebought yogurt. Now I have the opposite problem, having to make sure I'm not eating too much.
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Old 09-10-2012, 09:09 PM   #15
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Thanks for taking the time to post all that great info... When I lived in France, I had friends who made their own yogurt... It was actually quite common over there from what I gathered... I thought it tasted so much better than anything you got in the store... When I was a kid my Mom use to make homemade yogurt with a Salton yogurt maker and we would put some preserves in and it was delicious....

This thread has really made me want to try to make my own... I actually went online to see if they still make those Salton yogurt makers and they do, so I really think I'm going to pick one up soon and see how it goes... I really like the idea of being able to use really high quality milks from dairies up in the Hudson Valley and then flavor them with a little bit of different flavored preserves from some of the really great farmers markets here... I can't wait...
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