13 Jun 2023

Is Greek Yogurt really Greek? Know Its History & How To Make It

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Greek yogurt is like the ‘poster-girl’ of health foods in the modern times. Because of it’s rich & creamy texture and abundant health benefits, it has become popular among urban and suburban people across the world. However, is Greece really the origin of Greek yogurt? In this blog, we’ll shed some light on all this and how to make Greek Yogurt. However, read our blog if you’re looking for a quick & healthy Greek yogurt Granola Bowl recipe for breakfast, snack or dessert.

History & How To Make Greek Yogurt

What is yogurt? How is it made?

greek yogurt in a ramekin

So, yogurt is a dairy product obtained by fermenting milk with a bacteria culture. People across the world use the fermenting technique to make curd or dahi or yogurt in small batches at home. And also, even at large scale for commercial purposes. 

A culture of bacteria, such as lactobacillus (a bacteria that is actually great for our digestion and intestines), is first introduced to milk. Just a spoonful of this culture is enough to turn 600-700 ml of milk into yogurt in a matter of few hours. The utensil containing this milk is then wrapped in a cloth and left in a warm, insulated area for a few hours.

In warm climates, after you have introduced the bacteria culture starter to the milk, it may take 4 to 7 hours for it to turn into curd. However, in cold climate, this can take 8 to 10 hours and you must ensure that your utensil is wrapped for extra warmth and kept in a warm place. Once the milk has turned to curd, shift the utensil to the refrigerator to slow down the spread of the bacteria. Otherwise, the curd will become very sour very fast due to excessive bacteria growth. 

What is Greek yogurt? 

hung curd greek yogurt recipe

Greek Yogurt is a creamier, richer form of yogurt. It is prepared by straining the regular yogurt or curd. It is also called as ‘hung curd’, ‘straggisto’, ‘strained yogurt’, and ‘yogurt cheese’, among its many other regional names. 

Greek Yogurt is obtained when whey and other liquids are strained from curd, leaving a thicker, creamier residue behind. The residue has a higher amount of protein, it has a creamier texture, and the same sour taste of the yogurt. It can be used as a healthy substitute for creme fraiche, mayonnaise, and sour cream. It is also used 

Is Greek yogurt actually Greek?

dip made using greek yogurt

Actually, there is no real evidence that Greek Yogurt is actually greek. The first mentions of curd or yogurt date as far back as 5000 BC, where it was first cultured in the civilization of Mesopotamia. However, Greek yogurt is believed to have originated in the Middle East. 

Some say that the reason it is associated with ‘Greece’ is to make it commercially viable among North American consumers. It may not have enjoyed such popularity if it was associated with a country like Iraq, Iran, or Syria. 

Greek Yogurt is believed to have become popular in North America in the 2000s when it first started to sell on the shelves. A brand called Chobani sells it in the American market – but Chobani is basically a Turkish brand. Although the technique of straining yogurt is popular in the Mediterranean region and Bulgaria, it isn’t necessarily the birthplace of it.

A lot of Mediterranean, Lebanese and Middle Eastern foods use Greek Yogurt or strained yogurt. In Greece, the strained yogurt that we popularly call Greek Yogurt actually sells as ‘straggisto’.

How to make Greek Yogurt?

yogurt made by straining curd

Greek Yogurt can easily be made at home as well as commercially. To prepare Greek Yogurt, you first have to make curd (yogurt) at home. After that, the curd is strained for a few hours to turn it into Greek Yogurt. Here are the steps: 

Setting the Curd

Step 1: Take 500 ml milk and heat it on a pan

Step 2: Take a separate pot and add ice and cool water to it

Step 3: Transfer the warm milk pot from the flame and place it in the pot with ice water

Step 4: Let the milk come down to 37-38 degree Celsius, no cooler than that.

Step 5: Take some warm milk in another pot and add the bacteria culture to it. You can use a spoonful of 4-5 day old simple curd as bacteria culture.

Step 6: Slowly add the rest of the warm milk to this pot and mix well

Step 7: Cover the pot with a lid and wrap it with a cloth. Leave it in a warm place such as the microwave oven (turned off) for 4-7 hours or overnight (during winter).

Making The Hung Curd

Step 8: Once the curd is set, take a strainer, a pot, and a cheesecloth. You can also use a muslin cloth for this purpose.

Step 9: Add the curd to the cheesecloth and place it over the strainer and keep a pot under it.

Step 10: Let it drain for 4-6 hours depending on the texture you want.

Step 11: Afterwards, remove the remaining ygurt from the cheesecloth. It has now become Greek Yogurt.

Step 12: Don’t discard the strained water that gets collected in the pot. You can use it in smoothies and recipes as it is full of casein and whey protein.

Found this blog useful? Let us know in the comments below and also tell us what kind of content you want more from us!

Looking for Greek Yogurt in your city? We deliver epigamia Greek yogurt and other brands right at your doorstep. Making it at home? We’ll bring you curd, cheesecloth, milk, and utensils too! Milkbasket online grocery delivery app has 6000+ products – from grocery items to farm fresh vegetables, fruits, and dairy products from all your favourite brands. Also, check out this easy-at-home simple Yogurt Granola Bowl Recipe which is full of proteins and micronutrients.

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