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home made yoghurt-- to strain, or not to strain?

i've been using a couple tablespoons commercial yoghurt (live cultures) as a starter, with ~pint of flash-pasteurized farmer's market whole milk, then following directions i found online. final product is very smooth and runny, tasty. tried straining overnight for first time, woke up just now to a tiny fraction of the volume i started with! saved filtrate in a container under the strainer, it looks like the cloudy, yellow, watery stuff i usually pour off the top of yoghurt. any other pros/cons to straining besides losing so much volume (hence $)? nutrient lost? not sure straining is worth it! thanks.

Rebecca is a Recipe Tester for Food52

asked over 3 years ago
13 answers 1684 views
7e3191e5 c572 49d0 a90b f5e118b30d93  img 4692
added over 3 years ago

By straining the yogurt you are removing the whey, the light yellow-green watery stuff you refer to. And, yes, you are changing the nutritional profile of the yogurt. (This short article touches on this point: http://www.oprah.com/health...).
Whether or not you strain is a personal preference. If you enjoy a more liquid style yogurt then, by all means, don't strain! I find that the consistency I choose depends on what I am using the yogurt with (dessert? --> thicker, sauce? --> thinner).
On point to make, you could use a finer textured cloth to strain your yogurt to result in a consistency that is in between the liquid-style and thick-style (aka "Greek").

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Rebecca Vitale

Rebecca is a Recipe Tester for Food52

added over 3 years ago

(i answered below... thanks again!!)

D5541489 96fb 4b93 979f 7088809f4b2d  10373075 10100507743110541 5511741949794204925 o
Rebecca Vitale

Rebecca is a Recipe Tester for Food52

added over 3 years ago

i feel like such a city girl not realizing immediately that that's the whey! thank you! i actually used an unbleached, doubled up paper towel, so was super surprised at how much liquid passed through. had a chat with the farmer purveyor again this morning. i think i will both try leaving the culture to process longer (which i read you can do if you prefer thicker yoghurt) and straining/not straining that. i do like looser consistency, too; kefir's up next. thanks again!

0b360b64 877d 4742 8283 76f2c1197f7f  redsaurkraut
added over 3 years ago

Just adding $0.02! You can use whey for so many amazing things! It is great for fermenting, especially for beverage ferments like kvass, sodas and ginger beer. It can help kickstart pickles in the winter and You can also get specific strains of yogurt culture that will naturally be thicker and more creamy without straining, if that's the kind of yogurt you like. One place to start would be culturesforhealth.com. Good luck!

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Rebecca Vitale

Rebecca is a Recipe Tester for Food52

added over 3 years ago

amazing! thank you so much. mr friendly farmer this morning said i could use the whey for marinating... was planning to look up more uses as i have a large bottle of whey waiting in the fridge now :) was making ginger beer for a while with commercial yeast, i think i will try whey in that first! any link to a recipe, or should i just put it together sensibly...

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added over 3 years ago

There are previous extended conversations on Hotline about how to use whey (often tied to making non-classic ricotta). Good for making bread, soups where you want a tangy taste ... I thought it was really good as part of the liquid for cooking steel cut oats. Farmers feed it to pigs, because it has so much nutrition to offer.

D5541489 96fb 4b93 979f 7088809f4b2d  10373075 10100507743110541 5511741949794204925 o
Rebecca Vitale

Rebecca is a Recipe Tester for Food52

added over 3 years ago

i'm realizing that now in all the reading i'm doing! good to know... so many uses! i've been doing yeast fermentation in a bunch of things but haven't gotten into lacto yet. now's the time!

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boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 3 years ago

I make yogurt using a freeze-dried live culture made by Yógourmet, and available inexpensively in any natural foods store. It produces thick, heavenly yogurt within about 4 hours. Whey, which while useful in many ways, doesn't appear to be the product you are wanting to produce. Here's a description of how I make it:
http://wp.me/p27pPl-5R
And you honestly don't have to use a yogurt maker, though I now use one which produces up to 2 wonderful quarts of the stuff. For years, and I mean literally years, I was quite content to make it in a quart-size Mason jar wrapped in a heating pad set on Low and secured with rubber bands. Persevere!

F8c5465c 5952 47d4 9558 8116c099e439  dscn2212
boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 3 years ago

P.S. I also use the yogurt maker to make crème fraîche. Here's a link to where to find one:
http://www.amazon.com/Yogourmet...

D5541489 96fb 4b93 979f 7088809f4b2d  10373075 10100507743110541 5511741949794204925 o
Rebecca Vitale

Rebecca is a Recipe Tester for Food52

added over 3 years ago

yes, i'm doing machine-less yoghurt for now... reused glass jars are my friends. thanks for the link, excited to try it out!

0b360b64 877d 4742 8283 76f2c1197f7f  redsaurkraut
added over 3 years ago

Basically if you find any for "real" ginger beer online, you can sub whey for "the ginger bug." I like to use about 1/2 of whey per gallon of finished liquid. Here's my ginger beer:
http://phickle.com/index...

Just skip the part about the starter and sub 1 cup of whey for the ingredient "ginger beer starter."

There are lots of ginger beer recipes out there. Go nuts! And yes, whey is so super versatile: bread-making liquid, salad dressing, soups, stews, smoothies, I could go on and on. When I have way too much, I use it, diluted, on my tomato plants to combat late blight.

:-)

D5541489 96fb 4b93 979f 7088809f4b2d  10373075 10100507743110541 5511741949794204925 o
Rebecca Vitale

Rebecca is a Recipe Tester for Food52

added over 3 years ago

now i'm thinking i might keep my yoghurt loose just to get the whey! have first gallon of ginger beer set up to brew today... wrote down what i did and will tweak as necessary. will report back! thanks for info!

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added over 3 years ago

If you do want thicker yogurt on occasion, there are a few tricks you can use to get a good consistency. Try adding milk powder to your milk to the tune of about 1/2 cup per quart. You can also keep the milk at about 180F for 30 minutes to an hour. This will cause some of the water in the milk to evaporate, leaving behind a higher milk solids to water ratio, resulting in thicker yogurt. I also like using powdered cultures because they ensure consistency from batch to batch, and often they provide a better "set." Finally, don't be afraid to let your yogurt culture for as long as it takes (within reason) to get decently thick. Sometimes it takes longer than you think it will.