*Extra* Thick, Fat-Free Plain Greek Yogurt…

… is so versatile and useful in a whole host of recipes, from tomato toasts to chili.  Here’s a quick break-out on how to make it in your own kitchen.  It can act as a  a spread to replace Buratta cheese (really), anchor a seemingly decadent dessert, serve as a substitute for sour cream or the base of an extra-creamy dip.

By removing some extra liquid (it’s in fact the whey in the yogurt, which is where the sugar comes from) from the already thick yogurt, we’re taking the useful-as-it-is Greek yogurt to a whole new level.  This can be done in any kitchen with minimal special equipment – it’s simply a matter of straining the yogurt through a cheese cloth.   Since several recipes on the site feature this ingredient, I wanted to break out the most efficient steps for production.  Some trial and error lead to the realization that there is rarely a need for a large quantity of this Extra-thick version of Greek – the steps here take optimal quantity into account as well.

Total Time: Over night or 5-6 hours

Hands-on Time: 10 minutes

Special Equipment: Cheese cloth (found in any grocery or kitchen supply store), jar with a lid, rubber band.

Ingredients:

– 3/4 Cup Fat-Free Plain Greek Yogurt

Steps:

– Set out a single layer the cheese cloth so that you have enough to cover the mouth of the jar twice with room for overage:

– Fold the cheese cloth back on itself in a diagonal, creating a larger surface area with which to cover the mouth of the jar:

– Set the cheese cloth over the mouth of the jar.  You will have ample overage.  Gently push the cheese cloth towards the bottom of the jar to create a little crater.  Secure the cheese cloth around the mouth of the jar with the rubber band:

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Notice how the rubber band is somewhat low in relation to the rim of the jar.  Setting it there initially will allow for better ease of cloth management as you add the yogurt.

– Add the yogurt:

The yogurt should be level just below the rim of the jar.  If you need more space, simply slide the rubber band up towards the rim.

– Once the yogurt level is properly adjusted, trim the cheese cloth.  Why?  Because when we remove the yogurt later, less of it will potentially cling to and be lost in the folds of the cheesecloth.

– Screw the lid on loosely – the treads will easily line up through the cheesecloth.  You must cover before refrigerating.  You may notice that some of the excess liquid is already collecting at the bottom of the jar.

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– Leave in fridge for 5-6 hours or overnight.  When you remove, you will notice that liquid has collected and the yogurt has ceased dripping:

– Standing next to the sink, uncover the jar:

– Hold the edges of the cheesecloth and carefully remove the rubber band.  Hold up the ball of yogurt & cheese cloth.  Pour the liquid from the jar (reserve if you like).  Then, releasing one edge of the cheese cloth, guide the strained yogurt back into the same jar.  It will roll off almost like a ball of mozzarella cheese.  If you happen to drop the bundle back into the liquid, do not worry.  The yogurt will be thickened to the point where it will not immediately reabsorb the liquid.  Just pick it right back up and keep going!

– Refrigerate until needed.  Come recipe time, mix any seasonings right into the same jar to reduce clean up.

 

 

 

6 comments

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