Homemade Greek style yogurt is like regular yogurt but without the whey. Whey is the soggy part of milk that is left once it has been curdled. Due to the absence of whey, Greek yogurt is thicker and creamier than other types of yogurt. This lends it a nice texture and feel. Moreover, removing whey from yogurt makes it more nutritious. It’s not that plain yogurt is not nutritious and healthy, but without whey, there is less sugar and carbohydrates, and more protein.
In other words, it is superior to other types of yogurt in terms of nutrition.
(Makes approx 6 cups – You can adjust quantities to increase yield)
You will need:
8 cups of milk
4 tablespoons of plain yogurt (with active cultures) or freeze dried yogurt starter
One ½-pint-sized jar and two quart-sized jars (with lids)
A heavy-bottomed pot big enough for 8 cups of milk
Directions:Step 1: Heat up the milk – Approx 7-8 mins
Pour milk into the pot and put it on the stove on medium heat. You have to heat the milk to 180oF. Use the thermometer regularly to ensure the milk’s temperature doesn’t exceed that level. Keep stirring the milk constantly. Once the milk has reached that temperature, remove the pot from the stove.
Step 2: Let the milk cool – Approx 20-45 mins
You have to let the milk cool to 110oF. You can either place the milk on the counter then wait for it to cool (Approx 45 mins), or make an ice bath in the sink and put the pot in it (Approx 20 mins). Keep checking the temperature so that it is exactly at 110oF.
Step 3: Add the yogurt culture/starter – Approx 2 mins
After the milk has cooled, pour the yogurt into the pot (or dry yogurt starter). Whisk the yogurt and milk so they combine properly. Make sure the two ingredients are thoroughly mixed, or else keep on whisking till they do. Pour the contents of the pot into the jars. Use two or three jars, as per your requirement. From experience, I can say that the two quart-sized jars should be enough. If that isn’t the case, simply pour the remaining mixture into the other jar. After the milk and yogurt have been completely transferred to the jars, put their lids on. Make sure the containers are completely airtight and there is no chance of the mixture coming out.
Step 4: Incubate the yogurt – Approx 6 hrs
Then, put the jars into the cooler. Fill the cooler up with water (temp 120oF) till the jars are nearly submerged, almost up to the lids. Don’t fill to the brim as the water might seep into the mixture through the lid. The temperature of the water has to be precisely 120oF. The thermometer will again come into play. Find a spot where no one will disturb the cooler. Close the lid and then keep it there for six hours. This is known as the ‘incubation’ period and is the distinct feature of the process of making Greek yogurt. The purpose of the incubation period is to speed up the culturing process. The cultures start taking effect, making the yogurt healthy and nutritious.
Step 5: Cool in fridge – Approx 6 hrs
Once the six-hour incubation is complete, move the containers from the cooler to the fridge. Here too you have to keep the containers for six hours. This is done so that the culturing can stop and the yogurt achieves its desired texture and taste. After six hours, remove the containers from the fridge. The yogurt is ready and in an edible state but is not Greek yogurt as of yet.
Step 6: Strain the yogurt – Approx 2-4 hrs
To strain the yogurt, you will use the mesh strainer. You will need a bowl for this. You can use the pot you used earlier for the initial steps.
Next, take the cheese cloth and line it along the sides of the bowl (or any vessel you use). It is better to double the layer to ensure the yogurt doesn’t seep out. Then, you have to spoon the yogurt on to the strainer. Leave it as it is for a couple of hours so that it drains out. You can let it stay longer if you feel the yogurt is not thick enough after two hours. After straining, your Greek yogurt is prepared and ready to eat. You can eat it right after removing it from the strainer and putting it in a container.