Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Greek Yogurt and Yogurt Cheese

I'm getting ready for a Greek food extravaganza here this weekend, and part of that is making tzatziki sauce -- the delicious yogurt and cucumber sauce that goes with gyros (which will be the main part of my menu this weekend).  In order to make a proper tzatziki, you need Greek yogurt.  It's nearly impossible to find organic grass fed Greek yogurt, but fortunately you can make your own out of organic grass fed regular yogurt.  Here's how I do it:

Greek Yogurt:
  1. Organic, grass fed plain yogurt (see here for a great yogurt making post)
  2. large jar
  3. some kind of thin cloth.  I use a floursack, but cheese cloth or a tea towel should work too
  4. a rubber band
  5. a lid or other flat thing to cover the top of the jar with
Put the cloth over the open mouth of the jar and spoon your yogurt into it, allowing the cloth to sag into the jar as it fills with yogurt.  You don't want to let the pouch of yogurt get closer than about an inch from the bottom:

When you have the yogurt pouch full, put the rubber band around the neck of the jar to hold the cloth in place and put the lid on top:

Now you can put this whole contraption in the fridge and let the whey drip out of the yogurt.  The longer it drips, the firmer it gets.  Greek yogurt status is reached after a few hours, and you can get all the way to cream cheese texture if you leave it for a day or so.  I like my tzatziki thick, so I actually go well past Greek yogurt and into cream cheese territory.  You can see the whey that has collected in the bottom of the jar.  The whey is a great source for live cultures, so I always save it for making cultured mayonnaise and other treats.  It will last a couple of weeks in the fridge (probably more, but it's always long gone by then at my house):

Here's what it looks like after sitting overnight:
This makes a great substitute for cream cheese for toast and bagels.  If you make it with real grass fed milk, you're also doing your health a favor.

1 comment:

  1. oooh i actually did a post on this this before, but for cream cheese! so that's how you get greek yogurt-- stopping a little sooner? fantastic!