The past few years of blogging I’ve read a lot of posts where bloggers talk about their love for Greek yoghurt. However, Greek yoghurt is not availble everywhere around the world and I remember one recent post I read, where the daughter/mother living near the Canadian-American borders, respectively and the daughter would ask her mother to bring her some Greek yoghurt from the States as she could not find it in the town she lived. That is how good Greek yoghurt is.
That post is what triggered me to attempt and make Greek yoghurt. I can buy Greek yoghurt any time I like not only at the supermarkets but in Greece you kind find yoghurt in «psilikatzidika» which are also called EVGA., from the oldest dairy company in Greece, which would help these family mini markets, by providing them with professional refrigerators and in their turn they sold their dairy products. Although EVGA has merged with other companies and has kept only the ice cream sector, these mini markets are still known with this name, although now they are sponsored by other dairy companies such as DELTA, FAGE, AGNO, and usually operate from 6 – 7 a.m. till midnight, selling as well newspapers and magazines, bus tickets, candies, as well a small variety of other products, in case you need something during the hours when the supermarkets are closed.
I remember my mother used to make yoghurt but never asked how she made it so I just made a quick google search. I found a recipe in Greek saying that they used FAGE Total yoghurt. I made it but the yoghurt did not set and it was more like a cream than a yoghurt, although it tasted great.
I did not give up. This time I made a more thorough search and read carefully all the details. You just need any kind of milk, low fat or full fat and yoghurt. You can use any milk you like, even soy milk. I used Becel Proactive milk 0% fat, which is the one I drink every day as it helps lower your total and LDL cholesterol, so this milk makes a very healthy yoghurt. However, you cannot make yoghurt with just any yoghurt as a starter. You have to use a yoghurt with live cultures. (Or as I read, you can use freeze-dried bacteria instead, whatever that is and I don’t even want to know).
All the sites I read in English, used a thermometre which unfortunately we don’t use in Greece and I am sure in many other countries as well. My mother never used a thermometre to make yoghurt and all those shepherds who have been making yoghurt the past 4.500 years never used thermometres. I remember what she did was to heat the milk and let it become lukewarm. She would test it with her little finger and if she could tolerate the heat counting to five then the temperature was right!! As simple as that.
When the yoghurt is ready you may notice that it is thinner than the typical store bought yoghurt. If you want to make Greek yoghurt, you will have to strain all the water out.
You can line a colander with a cheesecloth or a clean linnen kitchen towel or a thick strong paper towel. Make sure that the paper towel will not fall apart when it is wet. Put the colander in a bowl where there will be some space below for the water to drain.
Check regularly and remove water. Place in the refrigerator until it reaches a thick consistency. I found an easier way to strain my yoghurt. I used coffee filters which I put into V shaped cups so that the filter will not fall inside.
The amount of milk you use makes the same amount of yoghurt and for every litre of milk you will need 100 grams of yoghurt, which is about 2 heaped tablespoons. The time needed for the yoghurt to be ready is about six hours during the summer and seven to eight hours during winter. Cover your bowl with a lid and then cover with a towel to keep it warm.
You can eat Greek yoghurt as it is or add honey, pecans, pistacchios and cherry spoon sweet with syrup as I did in the picture below, or only with honey, with fresh fruit, or with any other kind of spoon sweets, use it to make other desserts, to marinate meat, in pasta dishes or use it to make tzatziki and in so many other ways.
Don’t forget to save some of your yoghurt to use it as a starter the next time. You can freeze it and use it whenever you like.
How to make homemade Greek Yoghurt
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Waiting time: Between Six and Eight hours
Makes: 1 kilo yoghurt (about four cups)
- 1 litre fresh milk, any kind you like
- 100 grams yoghurt with live cultures
- Pur yoghurt in a bowl and whisk with 1 tablespoon milk and reserve.
- In a double boiler heat milk for about fifteen minutes. If you have a thermometre the temperature should reach 85C (185F) degrees.
- Remove from the heat and allow the temperature to fall to 42 – 44C (110F) degrees or test with your finger until you can bear the heat counting to five.
- With a ladle add the milk to the yoghurt, whisking until you add all the milk.
- Cover with clean tea towels and keep it in a warm environment without moving it for at least seven hours.
- You can then transfer it into smaller containers and strain it.
Garlicky Cucumber Yoghurt – Katiki Dip with Black Mustard Seeds -
Recipe by Ivy
- 250 grams Greek strained yogurt
- 250 grams Katiki Domokou
- 1 cup dill, finely chopped
- 3 smalll cucumbers, semi-peeled and cut into small pieces
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- Put the cucumber and dill in a bowl and mix.
- In a mortar and pestle mince the garlic with mustard seeds and salt. Mix in with the cucumber.
- Add the olive oil.
- Add the yoghurt and katiki and mix.
- Add freshly ground pepper and adjust salt, if needed.
- Refrigerate for an hour before serving.
Other relevant recipes: