Over the years, I'd heard about Greek-style yogurt, but I'd never tried it because it's pretty expensive. Recently it went on sale, and I got some that was sweetened with honey. It was tangier than the regular lowfat or whole milk yogurts I'd had, but it was also thicker and creamier. Of course, once it wasn't on sale, it was just way too expensive to justify. Plus, the honey-flavored yogurt wasn't safe for my youngest boy, because you're not supposed to give honey to children under 1 year old, but he likes yogurt and I thought he'd enjoy the Greek-style stuff.
So this weekend, while at Costco, I saw they had 2 quart tubs of a whole-milk yogurt for $4 (less than the cost of a 24-ounce tub of the Greek yogurt and WAY less than 4 or 5 of the smaller tubs). I bought it and decided to experiment.
The main difference between regular whole-milk yogurt and Greek-style yogurt is that Greek-style is strained to remove some of the excess moisture content. You can do this very easily in your own home with a clean cloth (I use a 30x30 flour sack dish towel, some people use tea towels, some use doubled/tripled cheesecloth), a collander, and a bowl the collander will sit in with a couple of inches of clearance between the bottom of the collander and the bottom of the bowl.
Line the collander with the cloth and dump in the yogurt. Bring up the corners of the cloth and twist the bolus of yogurt in the bottom until it's being lightly squeezed. You want some pressure being put on the yogurt, but not so much you're squeezing it through the cloth. You'll be surprised at how much water is going to come out.
Hold it over the sink, until the drainage slows to a drip, then put the wrapped yogurt into the collander and the collander into a bowl. Put the whole shebang in your refrigerator, and let drip for 2-3 hours.
After it's dripped in the fridge, you can unwrap your yogurt and put it in whatever you plan to store it in. Have a spatula or spoon handy, because you'll likely need to scrape down your cloth to get all the yogurt.
The resulting yogurt is going to be much thicker than what went in, almost like a sour cream or a soft cream cheese. You'll also have lost about 35-40% of the volume (which is one reason Greek-style yogurt is more expensive, because it takes 2 quarts or regular to make maybe 1.2 quarts of Greek-style).
I'm just starting to experiment with ways to sweeten the yogurt, but so far I've found that 3 ounces of grade A dark amber maple syrup (I used a jug of a low-cost Trader Joe's maple syrup that we've had forever) gives you a great balance of sweet with just a hint ot the cheesy tang of the yogurt, and you just cannot beat the thickness and creaminess of it.
My wife and my 4-year-old went nuts over this mix, and the baby really seems to be loving it too. I made it on Saturday and it was gone by Monday morning. I had to make more yesterday and I'll probably end up hitting Costco in the next day or two to get supplies for making a double batch. I'm thinking I'll get some frozen berries, defrost and macerate a handful with some sort of sweetener to get a few ounces of a sweetened berry juice, then add in a cup or two of whole berries, and mix that in.
If you like yogurt, this is a must-try recipe. It's simple as all get out, the resulting yogurt has a taste and texture to die for, and all the goodness is concentrated. Because of the lower moisture content, it has more protein, more calcium, and more probiotics per serving than regular yogurt. It's good and good for you. Eat it up, yum.