Greek yogurt seems to be the latest way to good health, or at least that's what advertisers and giant food manufacturers are leading us to believe and subsequently purchase. I did some research to find out what exactly is Greek yogurt and how does it differ from any other yogurt. The results are not complicated, it's just a lot of hype.
What is Greek Yogurt?
Is Greek yogurt made in Greece? Does the milk come from Greek cows? What do the Greeks know about yogurt that the rest of the world doesn't? So many questions...
Above photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
The two most notable pieces of information that my research uncovered:
1. 'Greek Yogurt' is a marketing term that was introduced in the 1980's by a businessman and designed to sell more yogurt. It has nothing to do with Greece, Greek people or Greek cows.
2. There are no U.S. government regulations for labeling food Greek or Italian or French, etc.
What Does Greek Yogurt Mean?
It simply means that Greek yogurt is thicker than regular yogurt, that was the intention for coining the term. It also has more protein, less sugar and less carbohydrates than regular yogurt, this is accomplished by removing the whey (the liquid that forms on top of regular yogurt). Without regulations however, some yogurt manufacturers merely add corn starch to the product to thicken it. The protein, carb and sugar content doesn't change. Reading the label is important! If you buy Greek yogurt with corn starch added, you're paying a high price for regular yogurt.
One of the biggest and well known manufacturers of Greek yogurt is Dannon. I did some research and learned that Dannon does actually remove the whey, they do not add corn starch or any type of thickening agent.
One thing that I found interesting and amusing is that Dannon uses a “centuries old” method of straining the whey off the yogurt. I wondered what could it be, a centuries old method. According to their website they use the tried and true method of a fine strainer, on a large scale of course but no mystery. Just like you see here.
How To Make Greek Yogurt
2 easy ways
Begin with regular yogurt of your choice.
Line a strainer with cheesecloth, place over a bowl then scoop the yogurt into the strainer. Refrigerate for a few hours until the whey (liquid) has strained into the bowl. You now have 'Greek' yogurt. It's thick (without corn starch), higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates and it cost a lot less than store bought Greek yogurt.
If you don't want to go through the task of straining, simply store your non Greek yogurt upside down in the refrigerator. The whey will rise to the top as it always does, but when you open the container the whey will be on the bottom, therefore increasing the amount of protein.