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Straining Yogurt to Make Your Own Greek Yogurt (but is it worth it?)

Posted Jan 21 2013 10:04am

I’ve always been curious about straining regular yogurt to make my own Greek yogurt. I  to regular yogurt these days – it’s thicker, it’s creamier.  It’s got more protein and fewer carbs compared to regular yogurt.  It’s a great sub for sour cream too.  (Hello, !)

Plain and simple – I love (plain and simple) Greek yogurt.

With a quick glance at the numbers in the dairy section, I guessed I could save some money if I made Greek yogurt at home by straining it myself.  Of the two brands of yogurt I buy, the price breakdown looks like this:

Plain, whole milk Fage – $3.49 for 17.6 oz. That’s $3.17 a pound.

Plain, whole milk Stonyfield Farm – $3.99 for 32 oz. That’s $1.99 a pound.

It definitely seems like it could be worth it to buy regular yogurt at less money per pound and make your own Greek yogurt, right?

Sort of.

What you’ll need:

Your preferred form of regular yogurt (fat content, flavor, sugar content, quality of milk, etc.)
Cheese cloth (or coffee filters !)
A colander or strainer
Bowl for catching the strained whey

Strain Your Own Greek Yogurt

Lay cheese cloth (2 – 3 layers thick) into colander or strainer. Pour desired amount of yogurt into cheese cloth. Cover lightly (with cheese cloth or plate), place in fridge and leave it alone for 12 – 24 hours.

Pour Yogurt Into Cheesecloth Wrap in Cheesecloth

When you come back, all the whey will be strained out of your yogurt and you’ll be left with thick, creamy Greek style yogurt!

Straining Out the Whey Homemade Greek Yogurt

It came out beautifully!

Straining Your Own Greek Yogurt

Amazingly thick and creamy, I was very pleased.

So this is great news, right?  Thick, creamy Greek yogurt for less money!

Well no, not exactly.

I was really surprised at just how much whey came out of that regular yogurt.  A lot!  So much whey came out that it made me wonder just how much Greek-style yogurt I actually got from that 32 oz container of regular yogurt.

It took two rounds of straining to do all 32 oz, and when all was said and done, I dragged out my trusty kitchen scale.

32 oz regular yogurt makes 17 oz of Greek yogurt.

Now remember that 32 oz container cost me $3.99, with a unit price of $1.99 a pound?

17 oz of my own Greek style yogurt for $3.99 – my math says that $3.54 a pound.

The Fage was only $3.17 a pound.

Womp, womp.

BUT, wait! All is not lost.

Fage is not made from organic milk. (that’s a very helpful link, by the way (by the whey?) – comparing a bunch of Greek yogurts on the market!)

Stonyfield Farms is made from organic milk – I can’t find full fat, organic milk Greek yogurt anywhere – even regular, whole milk Greek yogurt can be tricky to find.  Stonyfield Farms does have their own line of Greek yogurt (Oikos) – but it only comes fat free.  No thanks.

So if you want organic, Greek yogurt with some fat in it?  ( I do! )  This is a win!

If that’s not what you want from your Greek yogurt, then it’s cheaper to let someone else do the straining for you.

Fortunately, this was really easy and the results were great.  At the very least, straining your own yogurt gives you more control over the source of your milk and allows you to avoid all the fun additives and questionable junk from other brands of Greek yogurt .  Making yogurt yourself from a trusted milk source is probably the best (and maybe cheapest?) option of all.  This is on my own foodie agenda at some point – but I’m limiting myself to one crazy, do-it-yourself thing at a time here.

There is another benefit worth mentioning when you strain your own yogurt – you’ve now got a bunch of separated whey and  there’s a lot you can do with it!   I didn’t do anything with mine except dump it down the drain (dammit!) – I’m not going cry over spilled whey and will just remember this for next time.

Here are some additional articles I found helpful on the topic dairy and the choice to buy organic:

Organic vs. Conventional Dairy Farms

New Pasture Rules Issued For Organic Dairy Producers (from 2/2010)

What Foods to Buy Organic

Organic Milk: Are You Getting What You Pay For?

Are you a Greek yogurt lover?  Have you ever strained your own at home?  Are you glad you now know exactly what Little Miss Muffet was eating (drinking?) when she sat on her tuffet?

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