Archive for December 2011

Yogurt Cheese (Strained Yogurt)

December 29, 2011

While I have displayed pictures of yogurt cheese (strained yogurt or hung yogurt) with an assortment of fruits in prior posts on this blog, I was recently reminded of strained yogurt due to a recent snowstorm on October 29, 2011 and more specifically the power outage associated with it that left parts of Connecticut without power for nearly a week. The power outage reminded me of my mother’s process of making strained yogurt in our grandparents’ farm where there was no electricity. Yogurt was made with cow, water buffalo or goat milk when I was growing up in the northern hills in India some five decades ago. As I mentioned in a blog post on January 30, 2008, yogurt has been used for centuries in many forms in India ranging from strained yogurt, marinade, raita, lassi and butter and is used extensively throughout India.

Yogurt or dahi plays a key role in the Indian kitchen and is usually included with every meal in some form or the another and pairs very well with spicy Indian food because of its well known inherent cooling and soothing effects. Yogurt cheese, Greek yogurt, strained yogurt or hung yogurt as it is referred to in most Indian recipes is made by draining the whey from yogurt by using a clean multi-layered muslin cloth and literally hanging it to drain the watery substance (whey) from the yogurt as shown on the picture below.  That’s why the term hung yogurt came into being.  Although it has been consumed in numerous ways for centuries due to beneficial (healthy) bacteria present in this product, it has become more popular in recent years.

The beauty of yogurt cheese is its versatility with its unlimited uses of combinations like sour cream or cream cheese. Though Greek yogurt is available today in a variety of flavors at the supermarket, I personally prefer my yogurt cheese made at home by draining the whey from plain yogurt (that doesn’t have any kind of fillers) as shown in the picture below.

Yogurt Cheese (Strained Yogurt)

1 32-ounce plain yogurt

1) Line a large sieve or colander with a clean muslin cloth (or cheesecloth) and place over a bowl to catch the whey (watery substance). Pour the yogurt into the lined sieve.
2) Draw up the edges of the muslin cloth and tie the topknot with a string or as shown in the picture above. Or you can hang it over the sink to drain the whey depending upon the amount of yogurt.
3) Or simply place yogurt in a colander lined with coffee filter set over a bowl to catch the whey. Cover with a plastic wrap if desired. Let it drain in refrigerator overnight.

Tip: Strained yogurt is a great accompaniment to savory or sweet pancakes and goes well with a variety of flatbreads (chapati or paratha) and fruits.

Yield: 1 1/2-2 cups yogurt cheese.