Making Greek yogurt is a great way to add more probiotics to your diet. Making it at home is also inexpensive and easy. It doesn’t require any expensive gadgets. It can be used in a variety of recipes and is full of protein. You can use it for smoothies, oatmeal or baked goods. It’s a great alternative to buying store-bought Greek yogurt that is loaded with extra sugar and preservatives.
Regular yogurt is made by heating milk and adding friendly bacteria that help the milk ferment, turning some of its lactose into lactic acid. The resulting yogurt is thick enough to eat with a spoon and can be added to fruits or nuts for flavor. To make Greek yogurt, the whey (liquid portion) must be separated from the yogurt using a strainer or centrifuge. The result is a deliciously creamy yogurt that can be topped with fruit or nuts for a healthy breakfast.
To make Greek yogurt at home, heat milk until it’s just a bit warmer than body temperature and then allow it to cool slightly. Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature, being careful not to overheat it as this can kill the good bacteria. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can test the temperature with your finger- it should feel warm but not burning. Once the milk has cooled to a lukewarm temperature, add the live natural yogurt and stir to combine.
Cover the bowl and let it sit in a non-drafty place at a constant lukewarm temperature for 10-12 hours or overnight. The longer you incubate the yogurt, the thicker it will become. If you don’t have a slow cooker, a large stock pot can be used instead. A warm laundry room or a hot water bath will also work well.
When the time is up, remove the lid and let it set in the refrigerator for a few hours. The yogurt will now be thicker and tangier. If desired, the yogurt can be strained for a few more hours in the fridge to create even thicker Greek yogurt.
Line a colander or sieve with cheesecloth or muslin cloth and set it over a glass bowl. Pour the yogurt into the lined colander and let it drain until you achieve the thickness that you want (the length of time this takes depends on the gauge of your cheesecloth- a few hours is usually enough for very thick Greek yogurt). Save the whey to use in smoothies, baked goods or to add moisture to dry ingredients when cooking or baking. Once the yogurt is completely drained, transfer it to a jar or storage container and store in the refrigerator.