The dairy industry is in the process of making an attempt that may or may not surprise you: asking that the “artificially sweetened” label be dropped from dairy products when they contain sweeteners such as aspartame. In this day and age, it seems as though companies and industries are becoming sneakier and sneakier with the ingredients placed in their products. However, if this specific measure is approved by the FDA, serious implications could occur.
You’ve probably been hearing about Greek yogurt. Maybe you’ve tried it. Perhaps you are addicted to it like I am. Save money and make your own Greek-style yogurt at home.
You can use any plain yogurt, but I prefer a whole-milk (full-fat) version. Buy a large container of it. To make Greek-style yogurt, you just need to strain the yogurt through some sort of material. I used 2 paper coffee filters since I had some buried in a drawer, but you can also use cheesecloth which is more traditional. Another benefit of cheesecloth is it is easy to find in most grocery stores and can be reused over and over (do not put in the washing machine, hand wash with a little dish soap and air dry). I created a little straining system using things I already had in my kitchen. Here is what you’ll need:
If you follow this blog, you may have noticed a slight obsession with Greek yogurt lately. Well, the obsession has not subsided; in fact, I’m now straining my own yogurt. It was one cold evening (okay, it was about 50 degrees, don’t shoot me) and I was seriously craving dessert. I knew there was nothing in the kitchen and the idea of leaving my Snuggie for the store was inconceivable. At some point I remembered I had a little Fage in the fridge and was determined to find a way to dress it up. With a bag of frozen raspberries, I created one very simple, but divine snack that I now enjoy on a regular basis. Before you dismiss it as another tried and true yogurt combo, trust me that it’s the heat that turns this into an absolutely lip-smacking treat. Another bonus? It only has 3 ingredients, tons of protein, and takes only 5 minutes to make.
This week we’re doing a deep dive on the very popular, Greek-style yogurt. The first post, Greek-style yogurt 101, was dedicated to explaining what Greek-style yogurt is, why it’s different than regular yogurt, and how to make it at home. The second post was all about what to look for at the grocery store including fat (we’re pro-fat around here), flavors, and additives. Today, is all about the brands. We took 9 popular brands and compared everything from price to additives. The one thing missing? Taste! We want to see what our readers think:
The brands below are listed in order from best to worst. We looked at the following information to rank the yogurt:
Yesterday, we took an in-depth look at what Greek-style yogurt is, why it’s different than regular yogurt, and how to make it at home. In today’s post we’ll show you what to look for when buying Greek-style yogurt.
Not all Greek-style varieties are created equal. As always, you have to read the ingredient label. Traditionally, Greek yogurt is only made with 3 ingredients: milk, cream and live cultures, but many of today’s versions contain other “stuff.”
We’re starting with flavor because that might be the most important decision when buying yogurt. The best advice here is to look for plain Greek-style yogurt. It is often the flavored varieties that add additional calories, sweeteners, thickeners, and colors. If you need to sweeten it, add your own toppings such as fresh fruit, granola (try this homemade tropical granola recipe), 100% pure maple syrup, or raw honey.
Milk Protein Concentrate – This cheap ingredient is added to Greek-style yogurt to increase thickness and the raise the protein levels. The concerns with MPC is that it is “ultra processed,” almost always imported, and highly unregulated (not a good combination). There is no reason to add this ingredient in pure Greek-style yogurt.
I’d been seeing “Greek-style” yogurt for quite some time before I actually tried it. My first thought was why the heck did I wait so long? This stuff is tasty. It’s thick, uber creamy, tart, and satisfying. Apparently, I’m not the only one licking my spoon. 5 years ago Greek-style yogurt was a $60 million business in the US. Fast forward to 2011 and sales are predicted to be $1.5 billion. Everyone wants a piece of the action and yogurt giants, Dannon and Yoplait, are scrambling as tiny player, Chobani, sky rockets to #1 with 10% market share in all yogurt.
Yogurt is often called a “superfood” and for good reason. It’s high in protein and the live cultures (probiotics) and helpful bacteria help maintain the healthy flora in our gut. A recent long-term study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that yogurt was inversely associated with weight gain. The more yogurt the participants ate, the less they gained weight. The popularity of yogurt shows no signs of slowing down as just last year, The Dairy Council of California named yogurt as the food trend of the decade. If you haven’t tried Greek-style yet, you’re missing out. Here is a helpful Q&A on this special variation of yogurt:
Dairy, dairy quite contrary
How does your bacteria grow?
With metal grates and heated plates,
And filthy cows all in a row.
Ever wonder how your milk gets from the cow to your bowl of cereal? Grist.org just did a great story on dairy. Essentially, milk goes through a 3-step process of pasteurization, homogenization and fortification. Here is a list of must-know terms from today’s milk production.
Pasteurization is the process of using heat to destroy microorganisms in foods. Do you know the difference between pasteurized, ultra-pasteurized, and raw? Here are the 4 main ways dairy is pasteurized:
High Temperature Short Time (HTST)
This is the most common method of pasteurization in the U.S. HTST uses metal plates and hot water to raise milk temperatures to at least 161F/72C degrees for a minimum of 15 seconds, followed by rapid cooling.
Ultra Pasteurized (UP)
Milk or milk product is heated to 280F/138 C degrees for two seconds. UP results in a product with longer shelf life, but still requires refrigeration. Most organic milk is ultra pasteurized to extend the shelf life.