Sometimes I find myself with very runny yogurt. Like, watery runny – sometimes yogurt just does that. Non commercial yogurt can be kind of temperamental, and since there are no gums or stabilizers involved, consistency is not always guaranteed. Runny yogurt can also be the result of user error, or wonky cultures, or temperature fluctuations. There are a lot of variables.
Since I’ve been eating raw yogurt, I have gotten used to yogurt with a looser texture. But sometimes this texture is even too runny for me. Early on, I just got kind of bummed out and ate it anyway (a shame to waste a whole quart of it).
However, these days I recognize that really runny yogurt is an opportunity for a truly delicious solution: strained yogurt.
Strained yogurt is everywhere in my neighborhood. Living in the most intensely Greek part of Astoria, Queens, I am surrounded by Greek culture, including Greek food culture. Dishes like souvlaki, donner pork, galaktoboureko, and frappes appear on diner menus, and no one considers this odd or unusual. Most people I know have a container or two of Fage yogurt hanging out in their fridge.
A couple weekends ago, I got my hands on some raw yogurt that was really runny, so I automatically took out my straining setup and poured the yogurt in it. This setup consists of a tall plastic container and a strainer lined with three or four layers of cheesecloth that I set on top of it. I put the yogurt in the strainer, then place the container lid on top of everything. I set it in the fridge on the bottom shelf and put it out of my mind until the next morning.
The whey drains out and leaves a thick, creamy yogurt cheese behind. I’m happy to say, it did its thing and turned out great!
This strained yogurt is great spread on bread, drizzled with some raw honey, or spooned over fruit. I also love mixing it with grade B maple syrup for a healthy sweet treat.
The leftover whey can be used for lacto-fermentation (I used some in some mayonnaise I made last weekend), in baking, and added to shakes or smoothies. I just love the fact that I can turn a potentially disappointing situation into something awesome!