Homemade Thick Greek Yogurt

While scrolling through my blog late last night, (with the hopes of narrowing down a banana bread recipe..) I couldn’t help but notice a recurring trend in my food photos.

They all look the same – and not in a good way. 

Yeah, that’s not conducive to attracting readers, I know, but let’s be honest…. no one is coming here for my photography skills.

However, they might be tempted to come for this outstanding recipe of extra thick and tangy Greek Yogurt:

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After doing a bit of (read: extensive) research on yogurt making methods, I have come to the conclusion that boiling the milk for 30 minutes really does make a difference. Now my opinion is somewhat biased, as I prefer my yogurt super thick. If that isn’t your preference, you might want to try the original method I posted here.

Homemade Greek Yogurt – adapted from Epicurious

  • 1 gallon milk – I used nonfat with excellent results
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (purchased or homemade)

Attach a candy thermometer to a heavy, large pot and add the milk. Place the pot over moderate heat and heat the milk until it boils, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming and making sure the milk doesn’t boil over. Set the timer for 30 minutes and keep the milk at a steady boil, again watching and stirring it every now and then so it doesn’t boil over. Remove the milk from the heat, and allow it to cool to 110°F to 115°F. In a small bowl, combine about 1 cup warm milk with the yogurt and stir to combine. Add the yogurt-milk mixture to the remaining warm milk and stir until completely incorporated. Do not stir vigorously. Cover the pot, wrap a towel around it to keep in insulated, and leave it alone for 24 hours.  Don’t peek or move the pot!

After 24 hours, line a fine mesh strainer with fine weave cheesecloth or a layer of paper towels and set it in a larger bowl. Carefully spoon the yogurt into the strainer, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to drain in the refrigerator for another 24 hours. Transfer the thickened yogurt into a glass container for storing. Reserve the liquid (the whey) in the bowl – it can be used as a substitute for buttermilk.

Yogurt Panna Cotta

I have a huge weakness for panna cotta. Correction –  I have a huge weakness for almost all desserts – but custards, puddings, and souffles are very high on my list. And anything with chocolate. But that’s another story.

Traditional panna cotta is nothing more than cream, sugar, vanilla and gelatin – and although the name translates to “cooked cream”, it isn’t cooked at all – the gelatin provides the structure to hold it together. This version, made with milk and yogurt, instead of the usual heavy cream, is perfect for breakfast. It’s not very sweet at all, so feel free to increase the amount of sugar to your liking. I prefer mine on the tart side, as it makes me feel more virtuous.

And less guilty about the chocolate chip biscotti I have after it……
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Yogurt Panna Cotta – adapted from myrecipes

2 cups milk (I used 2%)
2 tsp plain, unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups plain Greek yogurt
1 tbs vanilla extract

 Pour 1 cup milk into a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over top. Let soften for 5 minutes, then stir until dissolved.

In a medium saucepan, mix remaining milk and sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring. Remove from heat; stir in gelatin mixture, then whisk in yogurt and vanilla. Divide among 8 6-ounce ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap; chill until firm, at least 2 hours.

Serve with fresh fruit.

Homemade Greek Yogurt and Granola

I am always quite ebullient when something works exactly the way it’s supposed to.

Especially when I follow the directions precisely  :)

Seriously, I’ve made yogurt in the slow cooker before, but it has never turned out this good. I am not sure how or why, but the texture and flavor of this particular batch was superb. I surmise that it could have something to do with the starter that I used …. in the past, I’ve used just regular plain yogurt…. but this time, I used Fage Greek Yogurt (my favorite brand).

To see if lighting strikes twice (and I’ve heard it does), I am in the midst of starting another batch right now.

And, flush with success from the first round of yogurt, I was also inspired to try my hand at making homemade granola, as it’s practically impossible to find nut-free granola around here.

This particular recipe was quite tasty- the granola wasn’t super-crunchy or sickeningly sweet – but in general, I prefer granola that clusters together a bit more.

Having said that, of course, I would definitely make it again, and experiment with a few “Sabrina-approved” add-ins.

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Homemade Greek Yogurt – adapted from creative simple life

2 quarts milk (I use 2% milk)
2 tbs. plain yogurt with live-active cultures (I use Fage)

Pour the milk into a crock pot and turn the heat to high. Heat the milk until it reaches 180 degrees. Turn off the slow cooker, unplug, and allow the milk to cool to 120 degrees.  Once the milk has dropped to 120 degrees, add the yogurt and whisk gently until it is fully incorporated. Replace the lid, then wrap the slow cooker with several towels and let it sit for 6 to 8 hours (overnight is best). Line a fine mesh strainer with two layers of paper towels, and set the strainer over a large bowl. Carefully pour the yogurt into the strainer, cover with plastic wrap, place it into the refrigerator and allow it to drain for several hours. The longer it drains, the thicker it becomes. Once it has finished draining, scrape the yogurt into a container and enjoy!

Extreme Granola – adapted from epicurious

4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup sesame seeds (optional)
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/3 cup pure maple syrup, cane syrup or honey, at room temperature
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Pour the oats and sesame seeds into a large bowl. Melt the butter in a small bowl in the microwave; stir in the maple syrup and cinnamon and drizzle on top of the oats. Stir well with a rubber spatula and then spread out the oats in an even layer onto a baking sheet.

Bake the oats for 30 minutes, stirring once with the spatula halfway through, until the oats are lightly colored. Let cool; the mixture will crisp as it cools.