The only thing we know for sure about life is that things always change. I used to live in Vancouver; now I live across the world in Stockholm. I flunked out of highschool math and science; now I’m a couple of months away from starting an advanced degree in a science driven field. I never used to like plain yoghurt; now I only like plain yoghurt.
The thing about change is it is always easiest when we have some control over it. Like, this yoghurt.
Okay, maybe I’m being excessively profound about yoghurt, but one of the things I really missed about living in Vancouver was the yoghurt I was used to eating there. I made my own yoghurt for many years, but gave away my yoghurt maker when I moved overseas (I’m reading up on this oven light technique for making yoghurt at home, I’ll let you know how it goes once I try it out) and when I didn’t have any of my own yoghurt on hand I’d always buy low fat Greek style yoghurt, which was often as low fat as 0% and as high in protein as 18%. Don’t get me wrong, there is yoghurt a plenty in Sweden, but the thick Greek or Turkish style yoghurts are typically around 10% fat (I can find as low as 3.5%) and 6% protein, which isn’t what I’m after for daily consumption.
I started buying organic yoghurt that was a mere 0.5% fat and 6% protein, but it was thin and watery and not at all what I wanted. When I had a real good, deep, think about it one day (yes, about yoghurt) I realized this was change I could control. I took matters into my own hands, and used the same technique as is used to make thick, creamy, low fat, high protein Greek style yoghurt: I strained it.
Here, I strained 50% of the liquid (which I kept for other uses – see below) out of the yoghurt, concentrating the solids and effectively doubling the fat content to 1% and the protein to 12%. The resulting yoghurt is thick and satisfying, but still very low in fat. It is just what I’ve been looking for.
The yoghurt, I’ve been eating for breakfast with fruit and a sprinkle of home made granola. Sometimes I sweeten it naturally by thinning it out with a couple of tablespoons of fruit juice (I’ve been loving a strawberry orange combo), a swirl of home made jam, or the teensiet splash of good maple syrup. Don’t throw out the drained off whey! It’s full of valuable nutrients and can be used many ways. I’ve used it in smoothies, muffins, pancakes, and, very very diluted, as a fertilizer for my plants.
One year ago: Banana Hazelnut Pancakes
Naturally Sweetened Yoghurt Recipe:
You’ve got ultimate control over this situation. Like your yoghurt on the thinner side? Don’t let it strain for so long. Want it really really thick? Let it go over night. Want it sweet? A splash of fruit juice or a swirl of honey or maple syrup will do the trick, and you get to decide how much.
2 liters plain low fat yoghurt (I used 0.5%), preferably organic
Line a fine mesh sieve with paper towels or cheese cloth, and set it over a large bowl. Pour the yoghurt into the lined sieve, and let it drain over the bowl – I drained 3 hours (in the fridge) to reduce the liquid by 50%. I was left with 1 liter of whey, and 1 liter of thick yoghurt. Scoop the yoghurt into an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to one week. Reserve the whey for other uses (see suggestions above).
Ways to sweeten your yoghurt:
-a splash of natural fruit juice
-home made jam
-crushed strawberries (or other seasonal fruit or berries)
-a smear of honey
-a drizzle of good maple syrup
-other ways? How do you sweeten your yoghurt?
Know what you’re eating: what’s good about this? Low fat yoghurt is a great source of calcium, vitamin B12, and protein. The live probiotic bacterial culture is very beneficial for digestive health.
All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2012