With so much emphasis on eating higher protein foods, Greek yogurt has achieved significant popularity in North America in the last few years. Every celebrity doctor and trainer is constantly highlighting the benefits of incorporating Greek yogurt into our diets. I’m all for it. Spread the word, we Greeks have known it all along however I am perplexed every time I see the Oikos commercial explaining how the word oikos means home in Greek (Oikos is a Greek-style yogurt sold by Danone). No it doesn’t. Oikos is an Ancient Greek word, I’ve never used it in my life, but I digress. In any case, Oikos is my favourite of the store-bought Greek yogurts available in Canada. Fage, another brand, is far superior in my opinion but only available in the United States. When I have a yen for the good stuff however, I either casually mention to my parents or my in-laws how “wouldn’t it be nice if we had some fresh yogurt … it’s been so long ….” and then it miraculously appears on my next visit or I head out to the grocery store, buy some homogenized milk (since I don’t have any goats in my backyard), pull out the pot and get started on making yogurt the way Greek grandmas have made for hundreds of years! Try it. It’s very inexpensive, healthy, and delicious to boot. It is great for breakfast or a healthy snack during the day but best served on a nice hot day, in a chic cafe by the beach with the warm breeze of the Mediterranean sea washing over you. Can you sense my longing to go back???
- 2L 3.25% Homogenized milk
- 1 individual size plain yogurt
- Pour milk into pot and heat over medium heat until boiling.
- Boil for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep milk from overflowing (some Greek mamas add a drop of olive oil to reduce the bubbling of the milk).
- Remove pot from heat and let milk cool for a few minutes.
- Mix the yogurt in a small bowl with some of the warm milk and then pour into pot.
- Let milk cool until you can tolerate holding your (clean!) finger in the milk for 15 seconds. (Trust me, I surveyed a bunch of Greek moms and they all knew this 'rule'. No thermometers required).
- Remove from stove and cover the pot with a blanket and leave yogurt to set overnight.
- The next day, pour mixture into a cheesecloth and let it strain. Traditionally, you hang it and let the water strain but for simplicity, you can simply place the cheesecloth into a pasta strainer and let it sit in the sink for a while.
- The longer you let it strain, the thicker the yogurt will be.
- It is traditionally served with Greek honey (in Ottawa you can find this at Italian grocery stores, some Loblaws and Walmart stores carry it too) and crushed walnuts.