On our recent trip to West Virginia, we stopped at a grocery store in Morgantown to pick up supplies for the Bolyard Family Reunion (our “reason” for going down to begin with). I noticed a particular brand of yogurt that I’d seen around, but never tried – Fage Greek yogurt. Always willing to try something new, I bought a couple of containers – at $2 a pop. That price level for yogurt had never crossed my mind. I had become accustomed to buying Dannon at 2/$1 for “normal” consumption, which is two tins a day.
This Fage ( Greek Φαγε – pronounced “Fa-yeh” ) yogurt is just marvelous! The texture and flavor are different from my usual brands, even though it, too, is made from cows’ milk like the Dannon (and Stonyfield Farms) yogurt I’d been eating. Big problem, though, was the cost. If you know me, you know that I can’t (errr, won’t) spend $2 for a tin of yogurt that often (though I’d tolerated the $1.25 price at Market Basket). Well, Market Basket increased their price 20% to $1.50, still not horrible, Hannaford was pricing it at $2.09, and Shaw’s was an incredible and ridiculous $2.39. That didn’t even include delivery.
Since I’d tried making yogurt before  I thought I’d give making Greek Yogurt a spin.
I bought a quart of whole milk, and since Greek yogurt is best with a bit of fat in it, I went overboard and got a pint of half-and-half to boost the milkfat. I also bought a tin of Stonyfield Farms plain yogurt, because I have used their cultures before with good results.
Following my prior technique, I mixed the milk and half-and-half, heated it to a scald (about 205ºF), then cooled it to about 110ºF, where the yogurt cultures (various lactobacillus strains) are happiest, mixed in the Stonyfield yogurt, then put it in an insulated container, where it sat overnight turning into yogurt.
In the morning I went to the rag bag, pulled out a piece of muslin sheeting about two feet square, washed it with detergent and rinsed it really well, then put it in a colander. I poured the yogurt into the muslin and let it drain for about two hours. About three cups of whey drained off, making the remaining yogurt nice and thick.
I portioned it off by 3/4 cups into plastic containers I’d used for yogurt before, and popped it into the fridge. Cassie the dog got the leftovers – she’s not particular about what she eats, but she loves yogurt.
A taste testing later with honey (a typical way to serve Greek yogurt) shows it to be quite tasty. Next week I’ll skip the half-and-half, and I’ll advance to a half-gallon of whole milk.
If you, like so many others, think I’m all wet and want a more mainstream take on Greek yogurt making, see this. I consulted with this site midway through the process to find out how long to let the yogurt drain.
(P.S. I ran out of my yogurt on Wednesday. On Thursday I expressed disappointment in being out of “my” yogurt. I hope I feel that way next week after the next batch 😉