Yogurt-making 101: Everything You Need to Know
Greek yogurt is thick, filling and incredibly versatile, making it a great addition to your breakfast or lunch or a satisfying snack or desert. If you've shopped for Greek yogurt in the supermarket lately, you've likely noticed that the shelves are filled with a seemingly infinite variety of flavors and types. Save the hassle and make Greek yogurt at home with your Oster® Mykonos™ Greek Yogurt Maker. All it takes is a few easy steps to create delicious Greek yogurt right from the comfort of your kitchen.
Read on to learn everything you need to know before making your first batch of homemade Greek yogurt.
The Benefits of Making Your Own Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is packed with tons of protein and good bacteria, also known as live active cultures, that promote healthy digestive systems and overall health. However, while many store-bought Greek yogurts have a high protein and active culture content, they also frequently contain artificial ingredients and high amounts of sugar and other sweeteners. By making Greek yogurt at home, you control exactly which ingredients go into your yogurt, which means you can make healthier versions for you and your family.
Making yogurt at home also saves you money. A family of four eating four servings of Greek yogurt each week can save up to 80 percent by making their yogurt at home, compared to what they would spend buying the same amount at the store. For just a fraction of what it costs to purchase just one container of yogurt at the grocer's each week, you can create large batches of nutritious and flavorful Greek yogurt at home.
The Greek Yogurt-Making Process
Ever wonder how Greek yogurt was made? You might imagine a mysterious, arduous process. In fact, making yogurt at home is easy. You start by mixing together milk and starter cultures. You can use any type of milk - whole, skim, 1 percent or 2 percent, soy milk or nut milks like almond or cashew. Starter cultures provide the good bacteria that thicken yogurt and provide it with much of its nutritional content, and you can buy them at an inexpensive price at supermarkets, natural and health food stores and vitamin shops.
After mixing together the milk and the starter cultures, you pour the liquid into the machine container. You can use the large batch container, or the smaller, individual containers. Replace the lid, switch the machine on and let it cook. The machine warms the mixture to transform it into yogurt. This process takes several hours, so it's convenient to set the machine to run overnight or while you're at work.
Once it's done cooking, remove the lid and pour the yogurt through the strainer, which thickens it and leaves you with true Greek yogurt, ready to be enjoyed.
There are a few things to keep in mind when making Greek yogurt at home. First, the type of milk you use will affect how the yogurt comes out. Whole milk will lead to thicker yogurt, though all types of milk will still result in creamy yogurt because of the straining step. Secondly, it's important to keep the lid on throughout the cooking time. This is essential for the milk and cultures to effectively interact. Finally, make sure you closely follow the instructions in the manual. Slight variations in the amount of milk and cultures used and the length of time that the mix is stirred and left to cook can impact how the yogurt turns out.
The fun of making Greek yogurt at home is that it is incredibly customizable - the only limit to the flavors and types of yogurt you can make is your imagination. Using nut or soy milk to make the yogurt is a neat twist on the classic recipe, and it's also great for people that are lactose-intolerant. Try topping your Greek yogurt with honey, chia seeds, chopped nuts or fruit like strawberries, mangoes, blueberries, pineapple and cherries. You can also top your finished yogurt with homemade granola for an even more filling breakfast.
Greek yogurt can also be used as a substitute for other ingredients to make meals even healthier. Try replacing mayonnaise with Greek yogurt when making chicken salad, or swapping ice cream for yogurt topped with dark chocolate shavings.