Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Greek Yogurt Fascination - Homemade

I love yogurt.  But I have come a long way from what I first loved about yogurt and what I ate.  As a little girl, I remember there was always yogurt in the refrigerator. My dad came home for lunch every day and would always grab a  yogurt - the fruit at the bottom kind.  I loved those too and used to mix up just enough in the rest of the yogurt so I would have a layer of that "sweet" fruit at the bottom of the cup.  It tasted so good. Sure it did - it was pure sugar!!  Of course I had NO clue then nor did I care.  And I continued to love those until..... well for a long time!

So when did it all change?  When I found my new yogurt love - Greek yogurt. I thought it was a magical concoction of thick yogurt goodness.  Little did I know there was even remotely mystical about it.  Fresh strained regular yogurt = Greek yogurt. No special ingredients - nothing.  So when I started making my own yogurt about six months ago I did a lot of experimenting, to try to get the right consistency and flavor. I learned the longer I cooked/cultured  it the tangier it got, and I am not a fan of plain yogurt. But that is how I made it because it was more versatile that way and I could use it in a variety of ways - baking, cooking, eating as is.  And it's simple - whole milk  (makes a better, more satisfying yogurt but lowfat milk can be used, dry whole milk powder, and yogurt culture  - that's it).

I love the Cuisinart yogurt maker  because I don't have to babysit the yogurt.  It processes the yogurt and then chills it until I have time to attend to it -love that feature and it was worth every penny as I make a quart at least once a week

Now when I make yogurt I often do two batches, one plain so it can be a sour cream substitute, and one with vanilla (and sometimes honey) so I just need to add a little fruit and/or granola to have it ready to eat!

I love that it is all natural and that I control what is in it.  I love that I can leave it as is, or strain the whey off for four-six hours and then have Greek yogurt.  It makes me smile because now it is really good for me.

phase one - regular yogurt on left made with whole milk

into the strainer to start the process from regular to Greek!

you can see the whey dripping off the yogurt as it drains...

after about 4-6 hours, a much thicker yogurt emerges - Greek yogurt!

ready for the fridge...... and to eat!

Some favorite taste treat add-ins: (all  of the below with vanilla extract and Truvia or honey added):
  • raspberries and a sprinkling of granola
  • blueberries, stevia and granola
  • diced peaches or nectarines
  • peaches, a little almond extract and honey roasted almond slices
  • sliced strawberries
  • coconut shavings, mini chocolate chips, honey roasted almond slices
  • a tablespoonful of homemade low sugar jam (mixed berry, blueberry, or strawberry)
  • slivers of pineapple chunks and coconut shreds

this is made with homemade low sugar raspberry jam and a little vanilla extract.

I have also been making homemade ice cream and frozen yogurt.  It is perfect as a base for that - more on that in another post!  All I can say is YUMMMMM!

And I have to share something I recently tried. I am not a big fan of honey. I don't dislike it, it's just not the first thing I grab when I want something to go on toast or with peanut butter or - well you get the idea! It's just not my favorite thing (but it is great on hot biscuit :) )  Anyway, this base is greek yogurt and honey - that's it.  And it is amazingly good.  I love the gentle flavoring of the honey as it delicately sweetens the tang of the yogurt. OMG!  A new must have!

These are just a few ideas based on what I did with summer fruit.  Sauteed apples as fall sets in with a little cinnamon and vanilla would be sooooooo good . The possibilities are endless.

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