From what I understand, Greek-style yogurt is very popular. I’ve never bought this type of yogurt, though, because I found a way to make my own. Now, if you prefer Greek yogurt because it’s made with a different milk, or it has a different flavor, or it has a different fat content than regular yogurt, then this method won’t do much for you – it’s strictly for those who buy it for TEXTURE and THICKNESS.

I buy the cheapest brand of plain, low-fat yogurt in the dairy section, which is often the store brand. I can’t tell any difference between brands of plain yogurt; I’ve tried both SuperFresh’s and Giant’s generic yogurt, and they suit my purposes just as well as the name brands.

All you need is:

A medium-size wire mesh strainer
Cheesecloth
A 32 oz. container of any type of plain yogurt (regular, low-fat or fat-free)
Two clean bowls

Here’s what you do:

Place the wire mesh strainer over an empty bowl, and line the strainer with cheesecloth (I use two layers), making sure that the strainer is completely lined. You’ll want enough spare cheesecloth hanging over the edges that you can bring it up and cover the strainer. Also, the weight of the yogurt will pull that cheesecloth in a bit, and you don’t want to get it cut only to find out that it’s not covering the strainer completely. In other words, and in this case, more is definitely more.

Next, spoon the entire container of yogurt into the cheesecloth-lined strainer. Bring the extra cheesecloth up and over the edges of the strainer and loosely cover the yogurt. Put everything in the refrigerator and leave it there for hours – at least five, but overnight is ideal – the longer you leave it, the more liquid you’ll extract.

When you’re ready, remove everything from the refrigerator, lift the cheesecloth and take a peek at your reduced yogurt (it’s lovely, isn’t it?). Here’s what mine looked like:



Using the edges of the cheesecloth, lift the yogurt up and out of the strainer and turn upside down into a clean bowl. The first time I did this, I was very concerned that the yogurt would stick to the cheesecloth leaving me with an unholy mess, but not so – it just peels right off. Unless you have more yogurt to reduce immediately, throw away the cheesecloth (I think I’ve heard of people washing it and reusing it, but that doesn’t pass the sniff test with me…although, maybe if I used a lot of it all the time, I’d think differently).

Now look back at the bowl that was under your strainer…you’ll be amazed at how much liquid was in that yogurt. Just out of curiosity, I poured the liquid into a measuring cup:



That’s about 14 ounces of liquid, nearly half the volume of the container! But the yogurt you’re left with is so thick that you can use it in place of sour cream in virtually every recipe that calls for it. In fact, I make all of my dips with yogurt instead of sour cream – it’s definitely better for you, it’s lower in fat and calories, and it contains those wonderful probiotics that your digestive system will thank you for. One of my next posts (maybe tomorrow – ya never know) will be a quick and easy veggie dip recipe that you can use this thick, rich yogurt for. Until next time…Eat creatively!


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