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Greek yogurt is the latest “it” food, and for once, the positive reputation is well deserved! When properly made, it is a good source of protein and probiotics, although Greek yogurt compared to regular yogurt is a lower source of minerals. This is the nutritional effect of removing most of the mineral-rich whey, which results in the deliciously thicker texture.
However, for those who are seeking a higher fat and protein content per spoonful, Greek yogurt is an excellent choice. Getting hooked on Greek style yogurt can really hit the food budget hard though!
I recently compared the prices of a few brands of Greek yogurt to regular yogurt and was surprised at how much more the Greek versions cost. As you can see from the chart below, no matter whether you buy organic or nonorganic Greek yogurt, the price is significantly more per ounce. In some cases, the price is more than double.
This price premium holds no matter what size container you buy or whether you compare price within the same brand or between brands. Here are a couple of examples.
|Brand||Type of Yogurt||Size||Case Price||Cost/ounce||Premium|
|Brown Cow||regular||12/6 oz||$19.45||27 cents|
|Chobani||Greek||6/5.3 oz||$24.99||79 cents||193% ↑|
|Brown Cow||regular||6/32 oz||$30.55||16 cents|
|Chobani||Greek||6/32 oz||$43.00||22 cents||38% ↑|
Save Big! Make Greek Yogurt from Regular Yogurt
If you are a Greek yogurt lover, the price comparison chart above may be discouraging.
There is no need to switch to regular yogurt if you prefer the Greek style, however.
The great news for Real Foodies is that making Greek yogurt from regular yogurt is very easy and surprisingly fast. It only takes 10 minutes or so!
Hint: Be sure to buy only the best yogurt brands before you get started.
As alluded to earlier in this article, the difference between Greek yogurt and regular is simply the amount of whey in each. Liquid whey is the carbohydrate and mineral-rich clear liquid that you see on the top of a container of plain whole milk yogurt. It also contains small amounts of protein. Have you ever noticed that this liquid is absent or barely noticeable in a container of Greek yogurt?
All you have to do is strain away about half of this liquid and you will have transformed budget-friendly regular yogurt into the premium-priced Greek version.
The trick is not to strain off all the whey else you will end up with yogurt cheese.
Yogurt cheese is very firm and lacks the spoonability and slight, natural sweetness of Greek yogurt that the carbohydrate-rich whey imparts.
In my experience, it only takes about 10 to at most 15 minutes and you will have strained enough liquid whey from the regular yogurt that you will have thicker Greek yogurt ready to eat.
The leftover whey can be blended into smoothies for a protein/mineral-rich kick or used in a variety of fermented foods recipes such as homemade pickles, beet kvass, orangina, Hindu lemonade, sauerkraut or mango chutney. There are literally dozens of others with many recipes and how-to videos on this blog.
One more important note: It doesn’t matter if you use raw yogurt or pasteurized yogurt to make Greek-style yogurt. The process is exactly the same as detailed in the recipe below.
How to Make Greek Yogurt from Regular
Making Greek yogurt from regular yogurt is an easy process that takes a few minutes with no special equipment to save you money with no loss of nutrition.
- 12 ounces Plain whole milk yogurt
Line a medium sized glass bowl with a white dishcloth or floursack cloth (I use these). Pour in the regular yogurt either raw or pasteurized.
Tie up the ends of the cloth with a rubber band and attach to the knob or handle of an upper kitchen cabinet with the glass bowl directly underneath.
Allow the liquid whey to drip into the bowl for about 10 minutes. About 1/2 cup of whey will have dripped into the bowl for each 12 oz of yogurt in that amount of time.
Carefully remove the bag of yogurt from the kitchen knob and place into a clean bowl. Unfold the ends and scrape out the Greek yogurt into a clean glass container.
The remaining whey in the first bowl can be refrigerated in a small glass mason jar for about 6 months. It can be added to smoothies for a raw whey boost or used in a variety of fermented foods recipes.
Thanks. In France we have plenty of fromage blanc, but Greek yogurt is actually very difficult to find… And when you find some, it’s often not from Greece and made of cow’s milk.
Thanks to you, I womt have to check the labels anymore !
I just purchased a yogurt maker that makes 2 litres It’ supposed to be easy but it isn’t thanks to this site I will not follow their instructions. I will purchase a container and make regular yogurt which takes 10 to 12 hrs I will keep the container with the strainer and poor the regular yogurt into it and refrigerate. If I used the other container without the strainer I would have to pour it into a bowl wash out the container and dry place the strainer into clean container and pour the yogurt back into the container and let drain, pour the finished yogurt into a container and refrigerate. Saves time and guessing. Or just leave the regular yogurt as is and drain the next day. I hope that makes sense.
Lois B Dunlop
I have been doing this for years. Why make it hard? I just place two layers of cheese cloth in a strainer …place over a bowl. Pour the regular yogurt into it. come back in a few minutes…….YOGURT!
Easy peasy. Greek yogurt in a snap.
This worked perfectly. Thank you Sarah for such a simple, easy recipe to save money. I’ve always thought Greek yogurt was so overpriced.
I have tried twice to strain the yogurt with cheesecloth and each time the yogurt just falls right though. Am I doing something wrong or do I just need more layers?
The directions don’t specify to use a cheesecloth. They say to use a dishcloth or floursack cloth. A cheesecloth does not work for this recipe for the reason that you have already discovered.
I’ve always been confused about the strained vs. not strained issue. It makes more sense now. If you go to a cheese making supplier, Greek yogurt is a different culture, different bacteria therefore different taste. I always thought it had a larger number of different bacteria strains than plain yogurt. But it doesn’t necessarily make a thicker yogurt, especially with raw milk. So somewhere along the line, American food companies decided to use that term for strained yogurt. So once again, consumer beware. If you want the Greek yogurt with a different flavor, you have to make it yourself.
Huh?… I grew up near Greece and I eat “Greek yogurt” (which was the only kind of yogurt available) and make my own Greek yoghurt, all the time. All you do is add culture to the milk and the bacterias will do the work for you. Sometimes it comes out with more whey, sometimes with less. It doesn’t matter – it is still the same cultured yogurt. The amount of the whey depends of the temperature of the milk at the moment I am adding the culture to it. The amount of whey doesn’t make it a greek yoghurt or not a greek yogurt. You can strain greek yoghurt, and it will be “Strained Greek yogurt”, which is thicker, and is used in preparing certain dishes. You can eat it strained or not strained, depends of how you like it. That’s all there is to it.
In the United States, “Greek” yogurt is always the strained kind. This results in a nutritional profile that is higher in fat and protein than regular yogurt. The amount of whey is the difference. The whey contains the carbs (lactose) and the minerals. And yes, yogurt is pretty much yogurt if you examine it from a probiotic perspective.
I think the reason stained Greek yogurt became so popular in the US is because manufacturer’s pushed it … also the low carb craze and the rise of whey protein powder. Greek yogurt manufacturers sell off the leftover whey from manufacturing (strained) Greek yogurt and it is powderized into whey powder. Much more profitable for them this way than selling unstrained “regular” yogurt.