We’ve all heard of it and a lot of us have tried it but do we know exactly what Greek yoghurt is? Its growing popularity has reminded us to introduce you to this dairy gem.
What is Greek yoghurt?
When Greek yoghurt is just a baby, it is regular yoghurt but then we strain it for some time. What we get out of it is thicker yoghurt that has lost most of its whey but became a healthy, thick, rich and creamy treat! While straining, it lost whey but also some lactose so the new, Greek yoghurt is much lower in sugar than unstrained (normal) yoghurt. It is also higher in protein. We can make it from cow’s milk, sheep, buffalo or even yak.
But beware, due to the lack of legal definition in the US and “too much work” manufacturers need to put into strain yoghurt (sometimes double or triple straining) has to lead them to take some shortcuts. They simply do not want to deal with the straining so they just add thickening agents to make it creamier (starch and similar products). This is what should be called ‘Greek-style yoghurt’ so be extra careful because you don’t want to consume products like that thinking you are eating healthy. Always choose strained Greek yoghurt or just make it by yourself!
Don’t forget, Greek yoghurt can also be made from low-fat or fat-free milk.
History of Greek yoghurt
Yiaourti or yogurt in Greek has first been mentioned as long ago as in 5th century BC by historian Herodotus so we could say that the recipe originally comes from Greece. You can also find it in all Mediterranean countries, sometimes by the name ‘Mediterranean-style yogurt’. In the Middle East, they call it Labneh but you can also find its varieties all over the world- Denmark (Ymer) and ….. (Skyr).
It spread all over the world after WW1 and people just can’t get enough of it.
Is Greek yoghurt healthy? Health Benefits
The nutritional profile of Greek yogurt: Nutritionists say that yoghurt is full of dietary minerals (like calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and zinc) and vitamins (C, A, B12, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, folic acid). However, when we strain it, some of the vitamins are lost through the process. But don’t be worried; what is left after straining is a great treat full of healthy stuff and low in carbs but rich in healthy fats.
Greek yogurt has many health benefits. One of the best features of Greek yoghurt is the probiotics (beneficial bacteria) it contains as they help your gut to work properly. It is said that this kind of yoghurt can lower blood pressure and even be beneficial in weight loss (especially if consumed in a low-fat version).
What can I eat Greek yoghurt with?
Oh, the choice is endless! In Greece, it is mostly made from sheep milk and eaten as a dessert with honey and nuts (yummy). They also use it as the base for tzatziki dip or some other savory dishes- basically anywhere you would normally use sour cream. Another cool thing to do is to marinate your meat in it with some herbs and you will get a delicious meal. Go for it and tell us if you have more ideas!
How to make Greek yoghurt at home?
If you don’t want to waste your time in researching what kind of Greek yoghurt is the best (or the cheapest), we have your back. Just make it by yourself!
You don’t need too much, only some regular yoghurt and a mesh sieve lined with paper towels. Place the towels and sieve over a large bowl and pour your yoghurt. Let it sit in the fridge and strain. You can always check on it to see how thick or creamy it is and then just take it out and eat it. Voila! You can even use the whey that is left for soup or a smoothie.