The thick, strained yogurt used in Greek cooking may not be available in your local market. Learn to make your own using commercial or homemade full-fat, low-fat, and even fat-free yogurt. It's not only great for preparing Greek foods, but you'll love it for other uses as well!
Note: This substitute for authentic Greek yogurt is also called "yogurt cheese."
- Line a medium-large bowl with a piece of cheesecloth or a clean white dish towel.
- Dump a container of plain (unflavored), yogurt into the center of the cloth.
- Bring the four corners of the cloth together and lift the yogurt.
- Over the bowl or sink, twist the corners to squeeze out the liquid (it will drain through the cloth).
- Continue squeezing, putting the yogurt under pressure, to force the liquid out.
- When the majority of the surface liquid has been drained, it will start to drip more slowly. Tie off the top of the cloth just above the mass of yogurt with string.
- Place the cloth containing the yogurt in a strainer or colander, and place the strainer or colander in a bowl where it doesn't touch the bottom (so that the liquid can continue to drain).
- Place the bowl containing the strainer/colander in the refrigerator and allow to drain for 2-3 hours.
- After draining, take the cloth containing the yogurt and put it in the sink (do not remove the string).
- Place the palms of your hands on the bag and press down to force out any remaining liquid.
- Remove the string, open the cloth, and using a spatula, put the yogurt in a bowl for use.
- Note: How thick is thick? The yogurt should be at least as thick as sour cream.
Great ideas from site visitors:
- Use a coffee filter to strain (forum discussion)
- Straining will reduce the volume of yougurt by half, perhaps more, so plan accordingly. One quart of low-fat yogurt (4 cups) will yield 2 cups or slightly less of strained yogurt.
- Using fat-free yogurt will reduce the quantity a little more, and it will not be quite as thick as using full-fat or low-fat yogurt, but it is a reasonable option for low fat diets.
- For vegans: Buy or make soy yogurt and strain as above.
- Try thick Greek yogurt with:
- thyme honey (with or without chopped walnuts)
- pomegranate seeds
- spoon sweets
What You Need
- medium-large mixing bowl
- cheesecloth or clean white dishtowel
- commercial or homemade full-fat, low-fat, or fat-free yogurt, plain unflavored
- strainer or colander