Yogurt (Yaourti)

by Sava

Yogurt was once considered a rather exotic food from the Middle East, and it wasn’t that common in grocery stores (except for ethnic markets).

I didn’t always like yogurt. When I was growing up, it was always in the fridge because my mother made it herself and my Papou especially liked it. I would see her fill tall jars with milk (I thought) and put them in the oven overnight and the next day we had yogurt! That was not all there was to it, however. You must also mix a “starter” which is a bit of existing yogurt, or a powdered starter, with that milk, and some instant, powdered milk mixed in for a rich, thick result. It has to sit in a warm place away from drafts, like a gas oven with a pilot light for 6-10 hours. Those were the “old” days. Today, even though you can still make it without one, there are actually ‘yogurt machines’.  However, since we are a society that depends so much on convenience,  I doubt there are that many people who would bother to make their own yogurt. There are many brands of yogurt out there in various varieties sold in every grocery store. There are even some marketed specifically for kids. In the dairy section, you will find non-fat types, yogurt with fruit on the bottom, fruit stirred in, plain, and even Greek style, which usually means it is thick and very creamy.

Plain yogurt (no, vanilla-flavored is not plain) is probably not the flavor most purchased, since it has a rather tangy taste, and many people prefer the sweet varieties. In the Greek home, however, it is often put over rice and/or many vegetables. It lends a lovely, creamy quality to whatever you put it on and the tang actually enhances the flavor of those foods. I especially like it on tomato-based dishes. It is hard to describe the combination of tastes, but worth a try.

In Greece, yogurt is a breakfast menu item with honey and/or fruit. There is now one sold in many grocery stores that is a Greek brand from Greece, with a side “pocket” of Greek honey. When you combine the two, this tastes, to me, like a most decadent dessert. It is truly delicious and I must say I love yogurt now.

See you next time.


To make yogurt:

1 quart fresh milk, whole or skim

1/3 cup instant nonfat dry milk

1/4 cup plain yogurt at room temprature

Mix powdered milk into fresh milk and heat to 112 degrees F (do finger test: just hot enough to stick finger in without burning). Remove from heat. Dilute 1/4 c yogurt with 1/2 c warm milk, then stir all into the rest of the milk. Pour into jars or bowls and cover. Place in a warm place (preheat oven to 100 degrees F then turn off). Place jars in oven overnight then refrigerate.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Wendy Lester November 8, 2010 at 10:59 pm

Love greek yogurt, thanks for posting this, wondered how it was made, I think I will try it this week!


Sava November 13, 2010 at 11:23 am

Thanks Wendy. Let us know how it comes out, please. Hope it’s great!


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