I think the Greek Yogurt craze is rather funny. Any one who’s been in food for a while not only knows how regular yogurt is made, but might have even tried to make strained yogurt or completely drained yogurt cheese. I made my own yogurt way back in high school after watching a Saturday morning cooking show on my local PBS affiliate. It was some international show that made making yogurt seem like “Yogurt for Dummies.” I made it in a quart mason jar buried in the side of my mother’s heated water bed. She never new it was there. Eureka! What cool stuff. I also made yogurt cheese, straining it in a dish towel, then mixing it with herbs from the yard and garlic.
I was a pretty adventurous teen. Not to date myself, but that was 25 years ago. I was big into black and white photography back then, owing to my high school photo class and my mother’s darkroom, so I’ve made this post totally old school. Also, yogurt is white, so I thought it couldn’t hurt.
Fast forward to 2011 where “Greek” yogurt has swept the nation. Yes, they make it in Greece, but also throughout the Mediterranean, Eurasian, South Asia, North Africa and the Middle East. Prices for the stuff have calmed down a bit in the US market, but it is so inexpensive to make yourself, even with whole premium organic milk (yum!) I rarely buy yogurt now except to replenish a depleted batch with fresh culture. Lately, I’ve started purchasing commercial yogurt cultures, which produce more consistent batches. And I can then use it to start new yogurt for a much longer time without loosing potency. You can usually find cultures at your neighborhood co-op. I order mine online from the New England Cheese Making Company. My 5 year old daughter can’t get enough of the homemade stuff. I pretend it’s a treat equal to ice cream, but she’s allowed to have more of it, more often. Yeah, I lie.