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Why is this yogurt different from all other yogurts?


Fat Guy
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My thought is that Greek yogurt, in addition to being strained, uses a different ratio of active cultures. If you read other yogurts, the only cultures usually mentioned are acidophilus and sometimes thermophilus or bifidus. Fage lists (I believe - I don't have a container here to check) bulgaricus and thermophilus. Further, each of these cultures probably thrives at different temperatures, so the temperature used while culturing the yogurt probably comes into play. This is my theory based on using Fage as a base for homemade yogurt in my Salton yogurt maker. It never comes out with the same taste or texture, even after straining, which I attribute to a different temperature in the Salton than is used at the Fage factory. I think this gives rise to different cultures becoming more prominent thus changing the flavor profile and the texture as well. I suppose the different milk used could play a role as well, but haven't done a lot of experimentation on that.

Of course this is all conjecture because I don't have any way to verify my theories.

When I'm in a pinch (or when the budget is tight) I get decent results when straining Dannon all natural full fat through an extra large coffee filter overnight. It's not the same flavor at all but the texture is close.

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FG,

I went through a period a few months ago of experimentation in making yogurt at home. I found that there were dramatic differences in consistency depending on the starter culture. Some would have a set gel like a custard (Dannon); others would be more fluid, but have an almost stretchy consistency (Stonyfield). Doing a little reading on the subject, it appears that a combination of culture "breed" and fermentation environment yield very different protein chains in the final product. There's a Finnish yogurt called "viili" (långfil in Sweden) that has such a stretchy consistency that it's almost taffy-like.

Anyway, I would guess that straining these different products could yield wildly different end results.

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I have achieved something close to the Greek style yogurt when I tried speeding up the straining process with a 1/2 gallon batch of homemade yogurt.

I hope this helps.

Thank you! I would love to know if this process works.

It does work, I did it and the consistency is that of softened cream cheese.

I use the "DS tangy" yogurt cultures purchased from http://www.cheesemaking.com/cheeseculturesandmoldpowders.html

note this is a combination of:

"s.thermophilus, l. delbrueckii, s.bulgaricus, s.lactis, dry milk powder, lactose, malto dextrin and autolyzed yeast"

and the instructions include the following statement:

"If you are interested in a Greek Style yogurt simply take your finished product and drain it for 2 hours in 2 layers of our Butter Muslin cloth. (You can use the clear whey on top for soup stocks or in baking.)"

and I also purchased butter muslin from them.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I make my own yogurt, used Fage as the original starter--now just save a bit from each batch.

I make a gallon at a time in 2 tupperware lidded pitchers.

each time I spoon out the yogurt, i tip the pitcher over the sink and whey drains out--so it gets thicker, until by the time I'm at the bottom of a pitcher I get truly thick, luscious yog.

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I shopped at the local middle eastern store today and asked one of the owners if he knows how the Greek yogurt (they sell a bulk "Lebanese" yogurt that is essentially the same) is produced so it is so thick. He says it is put through an "extractor" that he said looks sort of like a washing machine and holds "many" kilos of the yogurt that has been packed in 10 kilo bags made from nylon.

He worked in a cheese factory in Lebanon before he came here so I assume he knows his stuff.

I told him about using the salad spinner and he said it should work but wouldn't extract as much whey as the "centrifugeuse" (he spelled it for me) by which I think he means centrifuge.

So I guess I have been on the right track...... :blink:

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Greek yogurt is just strained yogurt.

Exactly. Put your yogurt in a cheesecloth and hang it until it is about half the original volume, and you've got Greek yogurt. Let it hang until it is about a quarter of the original volume, and you can spread it like cream cheese.

Hmmmmm. Recently I've been lamenting the fact that there is no decent cream cheese available here in Cleveland. I am going to try straining Fage and see if what I get is something that I could use in place of cream cheese for baking and spreading on bagels, toast etc.

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Greek yogurt is just strained yogurt.

Exactly. Put your yogurt in a cheesecloth and hang it until it is about half the original volume, and you've got Greek yogurt. Let it hang until it is about a quarter of the original volume, and you can spread it like cream cheese.

Hmmmmm. Recently I've been lamenting the fact that there is no decent cream cheese available here in Cleveland. I am going to try straining Fage and see if what I get is something that I could use in place of cream cheese for baking and spreading on bagels, toast etc.

He said "apread it like cream cheese", not so much that it was a sub for cream cheese. It's much tarter, and less dense than cream cheese. I'd use it for spreading on bread or for making a dip, but I wouldn't use it for baking, at least not as a substitute for cream cheese like in cheesecake.

ETA: I did some research, and a lot of recipes on the 'net say yoghurt cheese and cream cheese are the same. I still have my doubts, but another recipe for cream cheese can be found here. This is more like what I think of as cream cheese--much higher fat content than yoghurt cheese.

Edited by prasantrin (log)
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Yogurt cheese is indeed more tart than most cream cheese, which I don't think is cultured like yogurt, and the fat content of commercial cream cheese is around twice that of whole milk yogurt cheese.

That said, it may be interesting in something like a cheesecake--maybe less creamy, less fattening, and more intense flavor. It's worth a try.

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Oh yeah, if you strain yoghurt enough you can definitely get that cream cheese texture - but the flavour is a little different. I usually strain yoghurt until very thick, then wrap it in muslin and press it to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. The result is thick, creamy and very good. Especially nice of you mix in some finely chopped herbs or some spices.

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I love this topic. I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Turkish yogurt so far. The word "yogurt" is actually derived from Turkish and I can say from experience that yogurt is taken VERY seriously in Turkey. I was never a fan of plain yogurt before I went to Turkey. I remember the first time I really tried it there and it totally rocked my world and soon I was eating it plain out of the container every day.

Most yogurt in Turkey is not strained although they have that type as well. Somehow though, yogurts that you buy in Turkey are thick enough to cut with a knife - and also a lot more sour than what you get here. In Turkey nobody buys those tiny little cups and containers of yogurt. Households usually buy it by the tub.

I tried making yogurt a bunch of times a few years ago and had mixed results. It always came out good - but I could never get it to taste like the store bought ones I've had in Turkey. I even brought back yogurt from Turkey on the plane to use a starter culture - and it didn't make a noticeable difference.

Some things I've tried for thickness - I've read that you can try mixing in non-fat dried milk powder to get it thicker. That worked a bit, but if you add too much it makes it sort of gritty. Using whole milk definitely makes it thicker as well. For the sourness, I think all you do is leave it out longer before refrigerating. I still never got it to the same quality as what I had in Turkey. I think they use stabilzers and other things to get that effect in the store bought stuff.

For uses, yogurt and beef or lamb, or just about any meat go great together. In Turkey they also make a drink (ayran) with it which is just yogurt, water and salt. Strangely, they're not that fond of mixing sweet things with yogurt over there and prefer it plain. I never really buy the Greek ones here b/c they are just too expensive. My wife and I go through a lot of yogurt every week and it would be ridiculous. Our supermarket carries a brand called Axelrod and their lowfat plain is the closest I've had to the Turkish style. Second best is Dannon's lowfat plain. Not a fan of Stonyfield - not sour enough for me and just kind of bland.

~WBC

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I tried making yogurt a bunch of times a few years ago and had mixed results. It always came out good - but I could never get it to taste like the store bought ones I've had in Turkey. I even brought back yogurt from Turkey on the plane to use a starter culture - and it didn't make a noticeable difference.

Some things I've tried for thickness - I've read that you can try mixing in non-fat dried milk powder to get it thicker. That worked a bit, but if you add too much it makes it sort of gritty. Using whole milk definitely makes it thicker as well. For the sourness, I think all you do is leave it out longer before refrigerating. I still never got it to the same quality as what I had in Turkey. I think they use stabilzers and other things to get that effect in the store bought stuff.

For uses, yogurt and beef or lamb, or just about any meat go great together. In Turkey they also make a drink (ayran) with it which is just yogurt, water and salt. Strangely, they're not that fond of mixing sweet things with yogurt over there and prefer it plain. I never really buy the Greek ones here b/c they are just too expensive. My wife and I go through a lot of yogurt every week and it would be ridiculous. Our supermarket carries a brand called Axelrod and their lowfat plain is the closest I've had to the Turkish style. Second best is Dannon's lowfat plain. Not a fan of Stonyfield - not sour enough for me and just kind of bland.

~WBC

Among store bought yogurts, my preference is Brown Cow plain whole milk yogurt with the cream on top, but if you like it more sour, you might look for a brand called Seven Stars, which is usually on the sour side.

As for making your own yogurt more sour, try different cultures, culturing longer, and making a sequence of batches. You might find the first batch too bland, but the third or fourth batch just right. What I think is happening is that the L. acidophilus culture, which produces lactic acid from sugars in the milk, is eventually overtaking the other bacteria with extended or repeated culturing, making the yogurt progressively more sour with each batch.

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Another way to thicken yoghurt is to reduce the milk before adding the starter culture. When bring the milk to the boil, simply cook it longer at that point until it is reduced, and then proceed as normal. You can also leave the yoghurt to set in an unglazed terracotta bowl - some of the water gets absorbed into the pottery and this thickens the yoghurt.

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An interesting thing to do is to compare the nutritional info labels on different products.

Here in the UK, its a requirement to list on the package, amongst other things, the protein content (in grams of protein per 100 grams of product - so protein percentage by weight in the product).

I've not found higher in protein than the Fage "Total" range.

The 0% fat version comes in at a whopping 9% protein

http://www.totalgreekyoghurt.com/site/nutritionalvalues_322.aspx

"Thickness" (viscosity) can be easily/cheaply altered by 'molecular gastronomy' (or as we used to call it, additive technology - gums and such), but the protein content would seem to me to be a measure of how much actual milk went into the process.

Many "thick" fruit yoghurts are only around 3.6% protein ...

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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