All About Yogurt: 10+ Tips, Homemade Yogurt Tricks, and Nutrition!
Yogurt is a staple in the daily lives of many people. We eat it on its own, in cake recipes, as a frozen treat, and in so many more ways!
Why is yogurt such a popular treat? And how do we decide what type of yogurt we like best? Low-fat, nonfat, greek, and regular yogurt are all popular choices, but what’s the difference?
Let’s explore all there is to know about yogurt - including useful homemade yogurt tips!
Yogurt vs Greek Yogurt: What’s The Real Difference?
Greek yogurts and regular yogurts are two of the most popular snack and breakfast choices around, but what is the difference between them?
The first thing that differences between these two yogurts is how they are made, and this is what leads to the other differences.
All yogurt starts off the same. Typically, milk is heated up and then gradually cooled to the perfect temperature for fermentation. This is usually between 106 and 114 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bacteria cultures are added to the mix. The yogurt then ferments until the bacteria grows, lactic acid is produced, and the milk proteins begin to gel. This changes the texture of the mixture from milk to regular yogurt.
Greek yogurt is then strained many times to remove lactose and liquid whey which creates the thicker yogurt that we know as greek yogurt!
The straining process used to create greek yogurt causes it to have a different flavor than regular yogurt. This is because the greek yogurt is more concentrated than regular yogurt since it is strained more.
Regular yogurt has a slightly runny consistency and a very mild, cream-like flavor. Often, regular yogurt has added flavors to give it more taste when eating yogurt on its own.
Greek yogurt is much thicker and tastes more like the concentrated ingredients than regular yogurt. In addition to having a thicker texture, it also has a tangier flavor. To some people, this tanginess tastes too sour! While I love the sour taste, it’s not for everyone.
Regular yogurt is strained two times. Greek yogurt is strained three times. This small difference causes the two to differ in nutritional values in addition to taste!When you’re making 1 cup of regular yogurt, you only need 1 cup of raw milk.
When you’re making the same amount of greek yogurt, you’ll need up to 4 cups of raw milk! This is because so much liquid is lost during that extra straining step!
The lost liquid contains many different ingredients, which leads to the following differences in nutrition:
- Protein: Greek yogurt has about twice the amount of protein compared to regular yogurt.
- Carbohydrates: Greek yogurt has half the number of carbohydrates of regular yogurt.
- Fat: Greek yogurt has three times the amount of saturated fat unless you purchase a nonfat variety.
- Potassium: Greek yogurt is lower in potassium.
- Calcium: Greek yogurt is lower in calcium.
- Sodium: There is half of the amount of sodium in greek yogurt compared to regular yogurt.
There you have it! When you strain the excess liquid out of greek yogurt, many ingredients and lost and others become more concentrated, creating the tangy, thick treat some people love!
As mentioned, greek yogurt has three times the amount of saturated fat compared to regular yogurt. Some people worry that this means that greek yogurt is less healthy than regular yogurt.
Just 7 ounces of full-fat greek yogurt can have 16 grams of saturated fat! This kind of fat can lead to a buildup of bad cholesterol.
Both are incredibly healthy whether you get plain, nonfat, or low-fat versions, but if you’re trying to keep to a low-fat diet, you’ll want to make sure you buy low-fat or nonfat varieties of greek yogurt.
You’ll cut the fat while keeping the boost in protein, which is ideal for a healthy long-term diet.
Not only do greek and regular yogurt differ in taste and nutritional values, but they also differ in how they are used. While you can eat both straight, they are often used to create other foods.
Both greek yogurt and regular yogurt are used to make the following items, but greek yogurt is preferable to get a thicker consistency:
- sour cream
- crème fraiche
Some people use greek yogurt as a healthier substitute for regular yogurt. As you saw above, greek yogurt is lower in some ingredients like carbs and sodium which can lead to a healthier final product.
Some popular uses and techniques of regular yogurt include
For greek yogurt, uses include
All-in-all, the uses of yogurt and greek yogurt have lots of overlap. It comes down the texture and the taste! Do you want a tangy, thick yogurt with better nutritional value? Or do you prefer the thinner, more mild experience of regular yogurt?
Exploring The Benefits Of Yogurt
No matter which kind of yogurt you choose, there are huge benefits to making it a regular part of your diet!
From lowering cholesterol to boosting your immune system, yogurt is a varied and wonderful food that has benefits you need to learn about!
Yogurt can help digestion in two main ways. First, it can help aid regular digestion problems. The probiotics in yogurt help to restore the bacteria in your stomach, which aid in good digestion. Having the right balance of gut bacteria is essential to help with digestive pain, bowel diseases, and more.
If you plan on using yogurt to help with digestion, the best choice is to use plain, unsweetened yogurt.
When we eat fried foods, we are often increasing the amount of bad cholesterol in our diets. Yogurt also has cholesterol in it, but it’s healthier than the cholesterol found in many fatty foods.
The bacteria in yogurt helps to lower the amount of bad cholesterol in those that eat yogurt regularly.
Harvard University’s School of Public Health released research indicating that the intake of yogurt can lower the risk of high blood pressure.
According to their research, eating yogurt every day for a few months can lower the risk of high blood pressure by 50% or more. For the best results, eating a low-fat variety is preferable.
Some people are only mildly lactose intolerant. The lactose in yogurt is easier to digest than the lactose in milk because of the live cultures. This means that some people with lactose intolerance can eat yogurt without facing digestive issues.
Yogurt is full of good bacteria. This bacteria helps digestion and also helps speed up your metabolism. So, in addition to being a healthy snack, adding yogurt to your diet can help make your path to weight loss even easier!
Research even shows that those who eat yogurt daily can control their waistline up to 22% better than those who do not. Impressive, right?
Yogurt also slows the production of a hormone that stimulates fat retention around your belly. Less of this hormone means a better chance of being able to shed those extra pounds!
There are also a number of beauty benefits that yogurt can give your skin, and these benefits aren’t gained by eating it!
Among the dozens of beauty uses, here are some of the most popular ways that yogurt can be added to your daily regiment:
Eating yogurt is a great way to add extra calcium to your diet. Some people find it unpleasant or difficult to drink milk to get enough calcium in their diet. Many varieties of yogurt actually have more calcium in them than milk! Calcium is important for keeping your body healthy and your bones strong.
Studies have shown that people who eat yogurt every day are less likely to get sick than those who do not. While the exact reasons for this are unknown, it’s possible that the extra healthy proteins, calcium, and potassium lead to beneficial boosts for your immune system!
Caution! There Are A Few Things You Should Know…
While yogurt has great benefits, it’s not for everyone!
Yogurt should not be eaten by those
When buying yogurt, you should check
When And How To Eat Yogurt
To make the most of the benefits of yogurt we’ve discussed above, you should consider what time of day you eat the yogurt and how much yogurt you eat daily!
Choose The Right Time
Choose The Right Amount
Most people only think about eating yogurt in the morning, but did you know it can make a great nighttime snack, too?
Yogurt can be eaten at any time of day, and each time has different benefits:
Like any other food, yogurt is only healthy in moderation. Too much of any good thing is still too much!
When eating yogurt, you should not eat more than two servings of low-fat yogurt per day. If you’re eating full fat yogurt or yogurt with added sugar, you should not eat more than one serving per day.
Pay attention to the sugars, the calories, the fat, and any added ingredients when selecting what yogurt you’re going to eat. Eating any more than that will actually add too much fat, cholesterol, and sugar to your daily nutritional intake! Keep it healthy and limit how much yogurt you eat per day.
3 Ways To Make Yogurt At Home
Believe it or not, it’s actually possible to make yogurt at home! People think that because yogurt involves bacteria and fermentation, it has to be bought at the store.
This is totally wrong! Yogurt has been made in homes around the world for hundreds of years, and now you can make your own yogurt, too!
1. The Best Way: Use A Yogurt Maker
When you’re a beginner looking to try out making your own yogurt, it’s best to start with a yogurt maker. This method is easier than the other methods!
Why do you need yogurt to make yogurt? Because you need some bacteria to get started on the fermentation! You can use bacteria culture or store-bought yogurt as your base for yogurt, but you need some bacteria.
Remember, every yogurt maker is a bit different so you should pay attention to the included directions when making your own yogurt.
This video sums up the process of creating yogurt in a yogurt maker:
2. The Most Popular Way: Use Your Oven
It is possible to make yogurt without a yogurt maker. The yogurt maker provides a warm environment for the yogurt to grow and ferment in, but you can recreate that same environment using an oven.
This video breaks down the step-by-step process thoroughly so that you can make the perfect yogurt at home!
3. Other Creatives Ways: Creative Thermos & Crock-pots
The main thing that you need to make yogurt at home is a way to insulate the heat while they “cook.”
Nearly every method of making yogurt starts the same. You put the milk on the stove, heat it up, and let it cool a bit before adding in some type of yogurt culture. From here, you have to insulate the yogurt while it thickens. The bacteria needs a warm environment to do this, and that’s where you can get creative!
There are many different things that you might have around your home which can be used to insulate the yogurt while it cooks. We’ve already talked about yogurt makers and your oven, so let’s touch on some other interesting items that you can use to make homemade yogurt.
Try Out Your Thermos
After you heat the milk, you can pour the mixture into a thermos. This will insulate and regulate the temperature. After 6 to 12 hours, you will have a bit of delicious yogurt inside of the thermos!
Buy A Wonderbag
If you don’t already own a Wonderbag, you have no idea what you’re missing out on! A Wonderbag is a portable, non-electric slow cooker. After you heat your yogurt on the stove and mix in the culture, put your storing jars into the Wonderbag. This will keep their temperature constant for hours and is an easy, inexpensive way to do so.
Make Use Of That Crock-pot
You can also use your crockpot as an insulator. Turn it on low heat to allow it to preheat. Then, turn it off, and put your cooking jars of yogurt inside. Not only will it insulate them, but it will also keep their temperature consistent while they are cooking.
Turning Your Yogurt Into Greek Yogurt
So you’ve made your own homemade yogurt. But what if you want to make greek yogurt?
Now that you’ve done the work, there is really only one more step, and that is to strain the yogurt! No matter which method you’ve used to make your yogurt, this final step can be done the same way to make greek yogurt.
All you need is your homemade yogurt and either cheesecloth or this useful greek yogurt strainer. A strainer like this one makes the process much less messy!
All you need is your homemade yogurt and either cheesecloth or this useful greek yogurt strainer. A strainer like this one makes the process much less messy!
Step 1. Get Your Yogurt
After the yogurt is done incubating for up to 12 hours, it’s time to strain your yogurt!
Step 2. Set Up Your Strainer
If you’re using cheesecloth, stretch it over the top of a bowl and secure it. Use rubber bands to keep it in place! If you’re using a greek yogurt strainer, set it up, and get ready to strain!
Step 3. Strain Away!
Pour your yogurt over your strainer, and let it sit for hours. The longer you let it strain, the thicker the yogurt will be.
Step 4. Use That Leftover Whey.
Don’t just throw away the liquid that strained off your yogurt! It can be used in other baking or cooking that you may do.
Here are just a few ways you could use the whey:
- use the whey smoothies for a nutritional boost
- cook your rice, pasta, or sauce using whey in addition to water
- replace the liquids used in pizza dough, pancakes, and more with whey
Bonus Tips When Making Your Own Yogurt
If you want to get even better at making your own yogurt, there are some more tips you should keep in mind to ensure that your yogurt is the most delicious homemade yogurt ever!
When you’re creating yogurt, you want to make sure that you don’t overheat the yogurt or overcool the yogurt. Heat it to at least 180°F or your yogurt won’t set up as well as it should! This process breaks down the milk proteins so that yogurt can be created.
Then cool it to somewhere between 110°F to 115°F before mixing in the yogurt culture. If you mix the cultures in before that, they will not survive, and your yogurt will not set properly.
While incubating, you will want to make sure the yogurt is incubated at a steady temperature between 110°F to 115°F for the entire period.
The minimum amount of time that you should incubate your yogurt is five hours.
It’s best to incubate for 10-12 hours for the best results, and you could even incubate it for longer if you wanted an even thicker results.
If you’re using a yogurt maker, you can store the yogurt you make in the containers it was cooked it! These usually have a second lid to add to help keep the yogurt fresh, and the containers can go straight into the refrigerator.
If you’re making your yogurt another way, it’s usually best to store it in a glass container or jar. These containers can be used for the cooking process and be put into the refrigerator afterward. These reusable jars also help keep out bad bacteria better than plastic containers.
Most yogurt makers’ instructions will say that you can keep the yogurt for up to 10 days, but homemade yogurt making masters say that the yogurt will keep for up to one month when stored in the refrigerator!
Because yogurt has healthy bacteria cultures inside, yogurt can keep indefinitely, but the texture and taste usually change after three to four weeks.
Always write the date that the yogurt was cooked in its container. This way, you know how old the yogurt is and can check for signs of expiration before eating it.
Tips & Tricks For Ingredients & Special Equipment
Tip #1: Customize The Fat Level Of Your Yogurt
It’s possible to customize the amount of fat in your yogurt by changing up what you put in the mixture while creating it!While whole milk is the most common type of milk to use when making yogurt, you can mix this with nonfat or low-fat milk for a healthier end product. You could even use goat’s milk if you want to make goat’s milk yogurt!
Tip #2: Change The Flavor!
It’s also possible to make flavored yogurt by adding spices to the milk while heating it, or mixing in additional flavors before eating it!Here are some simple ways to boost the flavor:Add a spoonful of jam or fruit to the yogurt before eating it.Add vanilla to the yogurt before incubating it.Stir sugar or honey into the yogurt before incubating it for a sweeter yogurt.
Tip #3: Get Professional With Thermometers
Remote thermometers like this one are typically used when smoking meat, but they can be incredibly helpful when creating your own yogurt!
While your yogurt is incubating, you want to make sure it maintains the proper temperature for best results. A remote thermometer can be placed with the incubating yogurt so that you can monitor the temperature easily.
If you plan to make yogurt regularly, investing in this tool will make the process less stressful and more successful!
Even if you don’t want a remote thermometer, a must-have tool is a digital quick read thermometer. This will help you figure out the temperature of your yogurt quickly at any time during the process, and the temperature is a very important part of making great yogurt.
Pro Tips: Advice Gathered From Famous Blogs!
Now, I’m not the only one who has done a lot of research about yogurt! For the best advice, let’s take a look at some popular articles about homemade yogurt and what you can do to make it more delicious.
This article shares great step-by-step advice about how to create your own yogurt at home (with beautiful pictures!) and even offers some insight onto how much money you might save by making your own yogurt. While homemade yogurt isn’t all about the money, that’s a nice benefit!
If you want a detailed step-by-step picture tutorial to use while making your yogurt, then the advice from The Kitchn is perfect for you.
Epicurious tells it like no one else when they say that the creaminess of homemade yogurt is worlds better than the yogurt you can buy at the store, and I couldn’t agree more!
Whether you want to make yogurt with a starter culture or from store-bought yogurt as your culture, the tutorial by Epicurious touches on both methods so that you can make successful yogurt at home.
Wellnessmama is all about keeping our guts healthy and happy, and her yogurt tutorial helps with just that! If you’re following GAPS protocol to keep to a diet or to keep your gut healthiest, then you should consider her advice about using raw milk.
Plus, she was totally new to making yogurt before this tutorial, which is great for beginners to relate to.
Want to start making your own food from scratch? Then the advice from Food52 is perfect for you. The author gets into yogurt creation for this same reason, so they can offer you good advice.
Food52 embraces the idea that you control every step of the yogurt making process, and you can also make yogurt with items you have around home without things getting too complicated!
For those who want to go the greek yogurt route, Seriouseats has you covered. They even offer a great piece of advice I’ll share with you - keep a small amount of yogurt separate from the yogurt you plan to eat. You can then use this yogurt as your culture to make your next batch of yogurt, and you won’t have to buy yogurt cultures or store bought yogurt to get it going!
Correcting Common Homemade Yogurt Problems
Having problems making your own yogurt? Don’t worry. There are a few issues that are easy to correct; let’s break down how to fix the most common problems.
1. I’m not sure my yogurt is done. How do I check?
Tilt the container of incubated yogurt to the side. If it pulls away from the sides of the jar, it’s ready!
2. Why is my yogurt runny?
If your yogurt is runny, that means it was not heated enough to denature the proteins. Milk needs to be denatured to be able to gel into yogurt. If you find your yogurt is too runny, you should make sure that you heat it up enough the next time you make yogurt.
3. Is raw milk yogurt always runny?
To some extent, yes. Yogurt made from raw milk will always be runnier than yogurt made from pasteurized milk. This is because pasteurization denatures the milk’s proteins to some extent, so it is easier for pasteurized milk to become thick yogurt.
4. My yogurt tastes too sour. What did I do wrong?
The longer you let your yogurt incubate, the sourer it will be. The hotter the yogurt is while incubating, the sourer it will be. You can reduce temperature or time to make less sour yogurt.
5. Why is my yogurt so gritty?
If you heat the milk too quickly while you are initially warming it up, it will be gritty. Make sure to heat the milk very slowly. It should take up to 45 minutes to warm the milk up. This will ensure that it’s not gritty or grainy.
6. Can I move my yogurt while it’s incubating?
You should not disturb yogurt by moving it while it is incubating. Do not put a thermometer into the yogurt or stir it while it incubates. The bacteria will be disturbed, and your yogurt will not setup properly.
7. Is it true that I cannot make yogurt from nonfat milk?
No; it is not true. You can use nonfat milk to make yogurt!
8. There is a yellow layer on the top of my yogurt. What happened?
This means that your yogurt was probably too hot while it was setting up. If the white part of the yogurt is thick enough, you can pour the yellow layer off and then mix the remaining liquid.
9. How do I know when my yogurt is expired?
It’s normal for homemade yogurt to taste slightly sour. If, however, the sourness increases or you see signs of mold, the yogurt has expired, and you should get rid of it.
The 5 Best Yogurt Recipes
It’s so easy to flavor your homemade yogurt. Kids or picky eaters might not enjoy plain yogurt, so try these recipes for flavoring this yogurt. It’s much healthier than buying flavored yogurt at the store, and just as delicious!
Want to have the most vitamin-packed breakfast around? Try this unique take on a breakfast bowl that’s got curry powder and cilantro in it. Trust me; it’s delicious.
After you’ve made your homemade yogurt, you can use it to make a delicious yogurt pie with a grape compote. This dessert is light, delicious, and so easy to make! Try it for yourself.
Use your homemade regular or greek yogurt to make a wonderful (and healthy!) version of mac and cheese. Don’t reach for a boxed version ever again after you try this delicious recipe.
After you’ve made your own homemade yogurt or greek yogurt, set up a brunch for your friends with this delicious parfait bar! Add whatever toppings you’d like, and impress everyone with the taste of your homemade treats.
Summing Up The Best Yogurt Tips (InfoGraphic)
Wrapping Up This Yogurt Extravaganza
Did you enjoy learning everything there is to know about yogurt, including how to make your own? Whether you want greek yogurt or regular yogurt, there is a way to make it at home and make it even more delicious than the yogurt you’ll find at the store!
Understanding the nutrition of yogurt is key for enjoying the health benefits of yogurt. When you know how to make yogurt and the best way to eat it, you can make the most of every delicious bite!
If you have tips for making or enjoying yogurt, make sure to add them in the comments below so other yogurt lovers can benefit from them, too! Then, share with friends looking to make the most of yogurt, too!
Resources & Further Reading
- The Difference Between Regular & Greek Yogurt by TheKitchn
- Superfood: Greek Yogurt by Greatist
- The Benefits of Yogurt by SFGATE
- Food Fight: Greek vs Regular Yogurt by Food Network
- Which is more nutritious? by Stonyfield
- Yogurt For Lower Fat Baking by Taste Of Home
- Greek Style Substitutions by Cabot
- What is the benefit of yogurt? on Quora
- Is Yogurt Good To Eat If You Have High Cholesterol? by Livestrong
- Eating Yogurt Lowers Blood Pressure by Yogurt In Nutrition
- 10 Surprising Health Benefits of Yogurt by Natural Remedy Ideas
- Yogurt Increases Fat Loss by UT
- The Health Benefits Of Eating Yogurt by Make Your Own Yogurt
- Immunological Effects of Yogurt by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
- French Women’s Diet Secret: Yogurt by WebMD
- 10 Amazing Benefits of Yogurt For Hair and Skin by StyleCraze
- The Best Time To Eat Yogurt on Quora
- Eating Yogurt At Night by Livestrong
- How Much Yogurt Can You Eat In A Day by Livestrong
- Yogurt In A Thermos by Not Quite Nigella
- You Can Make Yogurt In Your CrockPot by A Year Of Slow Cooking
- Make Greek Yogurt At Home by Make Your Own Greek Yogurt
- Don’t Throw Away Your Whey by Make Your Own Greek Yogurt
- Homemade Yogurt Recipes and Tips by Epicurious
- Five Ways To Flavor Homemade Yogurt by Cultures For Health
- Why Your Yogurt Isn’t Turning Out by Nourished Kitchen
- Answers To Your Questions About Making Homemade Yogurt by Salad In A Jar
- Troubleshooting Problems With Homemade Yogurt by Early Bird Mom