Do you buy Greek yogurt at the supermarket? You're not alone. We can't get enough of the thick, creamy, tangy stuff, can we? But what about all that packaging? And would you be surprised to learn that most of those pots on the supermarket shelf aren't the real deal?
Many brands of Greek yogurt contain gums, stabilisers, and sweeteners to thicken, extend shelf life, and create a product that tastes more like a pudding than a yogurt. Authentic Greek yogurt is delicious and so easy to make you won't buy it once you've made your own.
Make a batch of yogurt, cool it completely, then strain it through a double layer of cheesecloth for an hour. Real Greek yogurt is thick because whey is removed by straining. Check after an hour, and if it is thick enough for you, stir it into a jar and add a swirl of honey or leave it as is.
Straining out the whey like this doesn't just make the yogurt thicker, it increases the protein and reduces the lactose. Because of this concentrated protein hit, Greek yogurt is less likely to split during cooking, (if you're careful with it), and makes a great cream replacement. The strained whey is full of minerals and live cultures. Use it like buttermilk in baking and smoothies.
Greek yogurt also makes the best pastry in the world. Big claim I know, but my friend Rose introduced me to this recipe recently, and I'm won over by it.
Best Pastry Recipe Ever (sorry flaky, filo and sweet shortcrust - you have been out-rolled)
- 200 g Butter (you know any recipe that starts with that much butter is going to be good - you could probably use a little less)
- 200 g Greek yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon Sea salt
- 375 g Self-raising flour
- Cut the butter into small cubes and bring up to room temperature.
- Beat it in a large bowl with an electric egg beater until it is fluffy.
- Add the yogurt and salt and mix to combine.
- Add 3/4 of the flour and mix with your hands until it forms a dough.
- Add handfuls of flour until it stops sticking to your hands.
- Rest in the fridge for at least 40 mins before using it.
Rose uses this pastry to make Tiropitakia - a little Greek meze dish of Feta cheese parcels. It has a lovely soft consistency from the yogurt, and it keeps for at least a week in the fridge. I've used it for topping pies, empanadas, and flat discs for pastry pizza creations. It is delicious and forgiving.
I've also made it with wholemeal flour and a batch with 50/50 self-raising flour and buckwheat flour, which was nice.