Yogurt is a healthy choice to eat alone, with fruit mixed in, or as a substitute for less nutritious ingredients like sour cream, cream cheese, or mayonnaise. Regular yogurt contains a lot of liquid, so straining it makes it more suitable to use in recipes.
This straining technique can be used for whole-, low-, or non-fat yogurt. I normally go for the low fat. For me, it has the right balance of flavor and health benefits.
Strained regular yogurt is the same thing as Greek yogurt.
That's right. The only difference between the two yogurts is that the liquid whey remains in regular yogurt. The liquid whey is strained from regular yogurt to create Greek yogurt. By using the simple technique of straining regular yogurt that is illustrated below, you can create your own Greek yogurt.
Taste and texture difference between regular and Greek yogurt.
When the liquid whey is strained out of regular yogurt, the consistency of the yogurt becomes thicker and creamier. Also, the flavor changes because the whey contains sodium and sugar (from lactose). So, regular yogurt is saltier and sweeter than strained (Greek) yogurt.
Nutritional difference between regular and Greek yogurt.
Yogurt is considered one of the healthiest foods around. It's rich in probiotics which aid digestion, reduce the risk of intestinal infection and colon cancer, and improve lactose tolerance and cholesterol profile--lowers LDL, raises HDL (source). Both strained and unstrained yogurt is very good for you, but there are some nutritional differences. When the liquid whey is strained from regular yogurt, the volume of the yogurt reduces by half. (This is why you can expect Greek yogurt to costs twice as much as regular yogurt.) That means it's more concentrated and results in some nutritional changes. (Source)
Each person can decide which kind of yogurt is best, depending on individual nutritional priorities. Choose Greek yogurt for higher protein and lower carbs and salt. Choose regular yogurt if your priority if to increase your calcium intake.
Strained (Greek) yogurt is recommended for cooking.
Strained yogurt is a healthy substitute for sour cream, cream cheese, and mayonnaise. It's creamier, thicker consistency makes it a better substitution in dips and dressings. Strained yogurt is also better for cooking because it doesn't curdle when it's heated; regular yogurt can curdle when heated.
Step-by-Step photos for How to Make Strained (Greek) Yogurt
Step 1. Assemble the supplies: regular yogurt, large bowl, wire mesh strainer or colander, cheesecloth (or heavy paper towel, or basket-style coffee filter).
Step 2. Place strainer over bowl making sure there is enough space in bottom of bowl to contain dripping liquid.
Step 3. Place a double layer of cheesecloth in strainer.
Step 4. Pour yogurt into cheesecloth.
NOTE: In place of the cheesecloth, you can use:
OR, in place of cheesecloth, you can use:
Step 4. Cover top with plastic wrap, and put in fridge to allow liquid to drain out.
That's all you have to do. You can see the liquid whey left in the bottom of the bowl. The strained yogurt is nice and thick. I discard the liquid. I've read that some people save the liquid because of it's nutritional value, freeze it into ice cubes, and save it to add to soup.
Step 5. Flip the strainer over and let the strained yogurt fall into a bowl. The cheesecloth is attached to the top.
Peel off the cheesecloth.
That's it! You've got strained (Greek) yogurt. It's also sometimes called "yogurt cheese." If it's lumpier than you want, just whisk it a bit to make it smoother and creamier.
In place of sour cream, try a dollop of strained yogurt on a baked potato, bowl of chili, or enchiladas. Yummy!
If you won't be using the yogurt right away, store it in the fridge. It will be good until the freshness date on the original container.
I wash out the container the yogurt came in, label it "STRAINED", and put the strained yogurt right back in there for storage in the fridge. I'll be using this to make Frozen Yogurt; that recipe is coming soon.
Make it a yummy day! (Scroll down for printable recipe)
Try these healthy recipes using yogurt: