Strained Yogurt

by Meg Cotner on September 23, 2011

strained yogurt in the morning

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.

yogurt straining contraption

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!

yogurt cheese

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!

This post is participating in Real Food Wednesday, hosted by Kelly the Kitchen Kop. Thanks also to Cultures For Health for recognizing this post!

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{ 6 comments }

Kelleigh September 28, 2011 at 9:40 pm

Hi Meg

This post is timely for me! I’ve just checked my very first batch of raw milk yogurt . It’s quite runny – which I was half expecting. I think straining the yogurt is a fantastic idea. Thanks for that!

I grew up in a Greek neighbourhood too! Here in Australia. I adore their food – spanakorpita, briami, egg and lemon sauce, galaktoboureko and that fried cheese – sagnaki. Yum! Greek coffee made metrio (I think that’s the term) – delicious and power packed. Have you seen Rena Salaman’s classic cookbook – Greek Food? She discusses the history and tradition of each recipe (and they’re all yummy –except the fried lambs brains maybe..)
Gosh I do go on! Sorry about that.
Love your blog by the way!

Meg September 29, 2011 at 11:54 am

Yes, I find raw yogurt to be somewhat unpredictable in that respect. I understand that if you add additional cream to the mix, it will end up thicker. But strained yogurt is such a treat, I really don’t mind runny yogurt anymore. Sometimes I sort of hope the yogurt is runny, so that I can strain it! :)

All that food sounds delicious and readily available here in Astoria. I was speaking with my mom the other day and remarked that sometimes it takes five minutes after leaving my apartment before I hear any English, and Greek is always one of those languages I hear in the first few minutes outside. Just from my backyard, I’ll hear Spanish, Greek, and Italian! Astoria is so diverse.

I haven’t read Rena Salaman’s cookbook, but now you’ve got me intrigued, so I’ll check it out. Gives me an opportunity to head over to Kitchen Arts & Letters to look for it (and salivate at the sight of so many cookbooks).

Thanks for the kind words and thanks for stopping by! BTW, I love that pic of the little mouse and cheese on your blog! So cute! And it’s great to hear that real foods are helping you get better, too. Good luck with the journey and I’ll look forward to read about your progress.

Kelleigh September 29, 2011 at 8:59 pm

Meg, Astoria sounds very multicultural – you must have some fantastic restaurants. I’m not sure if Rena Salaman’s cookbook is still in print? But if you can get hold of it I think you’ll love it. BTW – I strained my yogurt and the whole lot went right through the cheese cloth! Lol! It made a yummy yogurt drink though!

melissa September 29, 2011 at 1:02 pm

i recently strained a batch of yogurt i made with raw milk, which tends to be pretty thin. i got over two cups of whey from it, and i’m wondering how long the whey will keep in the fridge? can you freeze whey?

Meg September 29, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Hi Melissa – I’ve heard you can freeze it, yes, but also that it stays good in the fridge for 6 months.

Also – I always smell mine before I use it, to see if it smells off.

melissa September 29, 2011 at 1:15 pm

six months, wow. thank you.

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