A few weeks ago I read Susan Voisin’s great post about Greek-Style Yogurt and thought, I really need to try making that sometime. I did not realize that you strain regular yogurt for awhile (a few hours up to 6 hours) to make Greek yogurt. Since I never see vegan Greek-style yogurt locally and certainly miss the thick consistency of it, I am glad to know I can easily make it.
She also mentioned how it it was called “yogurt cheese” in the past and included a link about making labneh. Labneh is a Middle Eastern yogurt cheese, which is generally allowed to strain for 15 hours up to two days. I decided that this was definitely in line with my theme for Vegan MoFo, so I wanted to try it.
I have followed the instructions in the labneh link pretty closely, though I did let mine sit out on a counter. Our house is pretty cool, so I had no concerns about it.
First I assembled my ingredient and tools:
Yogurt, bowl, strainer, and cheesecloth. I put the salt straight into the container to stir it up.
I lined the strainer with the moist cheesecloth and started spooning in the yogurt.
I had my husband hold the ends together while I tied it shut.
I started to put a plate on it to weigh it down a bit when I thought, the recipe said the process would go faster if you squeeze out the liquid out. I only used a single layer of cheesecloth, so when I did that–SQUEEZE–I had yogurt coming out of the cloth. :-(
I started over by spooning the yogurt back into the container, asked my wonderful husband to grab another container while he was out grocery shopping, and later started again.
I used (approximately) a whole container of yogurt. I didn’t measure it that closely, because I was only adding salt and knew I could salt it more later.
I then let it sit and then hang for 30.5 hours, sampling it a couple times over that time.
The cheese was a nice ball after that time, so I was able to easily roll it into a plastic container when I opened the cloth. Usually yogurt cheese is either sugared or salted (I salted mine) and other herbs/spices can be added.
The texture was slightly more thick than Greek yogurt, but pretty close to that consistency. I added garlic powder and dill to a little quantity to sample on crackers.
It wasn’t extremely tangy, but it was a nice sour cream sub in a black bean soup I ate Wednesday. I can also imagine it being excellent on bagels.
This afternoon I tried it on toasted pita, which is really a more traditional way to eat it.
As soon as I tasted it on the pita I thought, sugar and cinnamon! So I sprinkled a bit on the pita after I put on a layer of labneh. YUM!
I recommend trying this out if you like Greek yogurt or if you’d like an easy-to-make yogurt cheese. It is very simple, doesn’t require many tools nor much monitoring, and the result can be a base for many different flavors and used in many recipes.