Have yogurt… now what? What I Make with Yogurt
A couple of weeks ago I shared with you how I make my own yogurt in my Dutch oven. When I first started putting that post together I included some of the ways that I’ve been using my yogurt but quickly realized that the post was getting way too long. I ended up moving them into it’s own post, this one, and then kept finding new things to add. I figured I had to share it with you now; otherwise, it might end up being too long once again. So whether you’re making your own yogurt, coming up with ways to use the yogurt or Greek yogurt sitting in your fridge, or you’re debating going out to buy more yogurt I hope this post helps you out. I hope you enjoy reading it and I’d love to hear what you use your yogurt for so feel free to comment underneath this post.
For some of the items below I used to make them using Greek yogurt; however, since I’ve started making my own I’ve shifted them to use my homemade simple yogurt instead and they’ve tasted great.
Before we get into all the ways that I’ve used my yogurt, I wanted to share how I change my yogurt’s viscosity, after the fact, in case you’d prefer a thicker yogurt. Since the last post I’ve bought a 100 micron nylon pouch. I haven’t made legit Greek yogurt yet, but after hearing about labneh through Alana’s The From-Scratch Kitchen on Craftsy, I strained my yogurt for twenty-four hours to make something similar to cream cheese. I then used the excess whey to replace the water the next time I made quinoa as I heard that using whey instead of water makes things creamier. After looking for a recipe for you that isn’t behind a paywall I found Ann’s recipe, through the Fountain Avenue Kitchen, for Easy Yogurt Cream Cheese, using store-bought yogurt, that included different ways to use the labneh including cheese balls, or labneh makbus, which I’m especially interested in now.
Since the previous post I’ve also bought a Ninja® Foodi® multi-cooker, when my slow cooker broke, that comes with a yogurt setting. I love how it heats the milk evenly so I don’t have to keep stirring, and the bottom doesn’t scald, but I did have issues with cooling the milk back down afterwards. The first time I used it I finally gave up, three hours into the cooling process, and popped the lid off as I had no feedback on just how cool the milk had gotten and how much longer it could take. Since then I messaged Ninja® to find out what temperature it heats the milk too, the instructions just said it heats to reach pasteurization but not the specific temperature, and, most importantly, what temperature it cools the milk to. I was unfortunately told they couldn’t disclose that “information for features that already have their temperature preset”. Since then I’ve still used the multi-cooker to heat the milk but then once it comes to temperature, about 180° Fahrenheit for mine, I pop the insert out and, with my thermometer inserted, cool the yogurt to under 120° Fahrenheit. Once I add the yogurt culture I pop the insert back into the multi-cooker and incubate it (using the ferment setting) for the maximum time it allows 12 hours. I still don’t know to what temperature it cools the milk as I haven’t tested it with water and I don’t want to waste milk testing it while making yogurt.
I bought a cheese kit a while back and about a month ago I decided to stop putting it off and I attempted to make ricotta cheese. My idea was to make spaghetti afterwards for supper and then turn the leftovers into lasagna using my newly created cheese. To make the ricotta cheese the instructions had you add citric acid to milk, warm it up, let it sit, and then spoon the curds off. I let it heat and sit twice and it still had no curds but then I got pulled away to a video call and I figured maybe the curds were smaller so I quickly poured the milk through a cheesecloth lined strainer, had the cheesecloth crumble in, and left it with a lid on in fragile hope that it had worked. It didn’t. I was left with warm milk and it was time to start figuring out supper. I quickly looked up yogurt and citric acid online and found Veena Azmanov’s website that listed, under the ingredients in how to make yogurt, “Citric-acid (without yogurt starter)- If you do not have active bio yogurt you can also use citric acid.” I was on my phone and didn’t notice that further down she tells you how to make yogurt with citric acid and that it involved adding the acid after the milk was heated and had cooled. I did; however, decide to take what I had just read on faith that I could still make something constructive out of this botched cheese experiment so I waited for the milk to cool the last ten degrees, added some powdered starter, mixed it together, and put it in my warmed oven to set overnight. It did become more yogurt-like in smell overnight but it didn’t set so I decided to still count this as a win and poured it into four canning jars, put it in the fridge, and ended up deciding to make smoothies out of it by combining each jar with fruit and honey in the blender. I had heard about kefir before, although I had never tried it, so for each smoothie idea I thought of I first looked online by searching for the fruit I wanted to use and kefir to see if anyone had tried that combination before and liked it. I ended up starting out by using my excess watermelon and combining it with my liquid yogurt, and maybe a bit of bottled lime juice, in my blender and it worked. The next two times I used frozen berries with the liquid yogurt. Finally, on the last attempt, I ended with my absolute favorite version, that had no leftovers, made by mixing the liquid yogurt with frozen pineapple and banana to make a cold piña colada type drink. Any leftovers, the first couple times we had the smoothies, were frozen in an ice cube trays so the kids could have a frozen fruity yogurt treat in the future. All in all the experiment was a success although I haven’t tried to make cheese again since then…. yet.
If you want to make a smoothie out of liquid yogurt but don’t want to go down the longer path I took I just looked up how to make legit kefir. The article I found on The Kitchn mentions using kefir grains, essentially cell-structures containing the bacteria and yeast you need, and keeping the milk mixture at room temperature for 24 hours to ferment. I also wondered if, in the future, it was possible to make yogurt with citric acid instead of with a yogurt starter and found Yogurt Nerd’s How to Make Yogurt without Starter Culture that in addition to the citric acid method, labelled recipe 5, lists six other ways to make yogurt without the culture. I haven’t tried any of them, but figured I’d share just in case you were interested.
Fruit and Granola Parfaits
My main reason to make my own yogurt was to make it simpler to always have yogurt in the house for my breakfast parfaits. I make my parfait simpler by combining one part fruit with two parts yogurt in a glass container one to three days before I’m going to eat it, giving me advanced notice to know if I am running out of yogurt, and then stack it in the fridge so it’s ready to go in the mornings. In the morning I simply grab a container, mix up the contents, add my granola, and breakfast is ready. It’s so quick, simple, and delicious. So far I’ve tried several different types of granola and have decided that the Pumpkin Seed + Flax one through Nature’s Path Organic, that I buy at Costco, is my absolute favorite. I always make sure I have at least one unopened bag at home before going to Costco in case I need more. When I started making my own parfaits I mostly used a mix of berries including blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries. I’d buy a bunch for the kids, wash it all, and, if there were a lot left, a couple days later I’d spread it on a Silpat™ lined cookie sheet to freeze flat. Once they were frozen I’d then move them to a Stasher bag and then they were available to use whenever I ran out of fresh fruit in the fridge. The frozen berries are also great to have on hand when it’s hot out for cold snacks for the kids or a refreshing drink. With yogurt readily available in the fridge I’ve also started making the kids their own make-your-own parfaits in their lunchbox for lunches.
When the last yogurt post went live I was still debating making flavored yogurts and had just watched Alana Chernila’s class on Craftsy, The From-Scratch Kitchen, where she made yogurt with fruit on the bottom before going on to add flavorings to heated milk, before the yogurt incubated, to make chocolate, coffee, and maple yogurt. Gianaclis Caldwell’s book Homemade Yogurt & Kefir took it further and touched on using herbs, spices, citrus zest, coffee, tea, fruit purees, and vegetable purees. Since then I’ve attempted several different flavored yogurts and love them all.
The first time I flavored my yogurt was after using the multi-cooker for the first time to make my yogurt. Since I had left the lid on the milk for so long when it was cooling I had more yogurt than normal once it finished incubating all night. That time I decided, last minute, to grab the last of the jam in one of my jars and combined it with the warm yogurt in the canning jar. Once I put the lid on I shook it so it mixed, tasted it, added a bit of vanilla extract, and then shook it some more. The kids loved it.
The next time I made flavored yogurt it also wasn’t premeditated. Earlier that day I had watched how to make margarita three ways on WES Barker’s YouTube channel and I decided that evening to make coconut simple syrup; although I still haven’t made the margarita I’m so glad I made the syrup. After simmering my pot of water, sugar, and flaked unsweetened coconut for a while I let the syrup drain from the coconut into a clean jam jar. Later on I debated what to do with the leftover coconut as it seemed a waste to get rid of it. I finally decided to try and make coconut yogurt by grabbing a canning jar of yogurt from my fridge, that was still half filled, and dumped the coconut in. There was a bit of headspace left in the jar so I topped the whole thing off with a bit more yogurt from another canning jar before stirring and shaking it up. Looking back I wonder if I should’ve let the coconut cool a bit more first but either way it turned out AMAZING. We ended up eating it for dessert a couple days later.
The last set of flavored yogurts I’ve tried came about just last week. I had realized that the milk in my fridge was set to expire in a couple days and I had just made a batch of yogurt a couple days before that. Since I didn’t need plain yogurt and I didn’t want the milk to go bad I decided to experiment with yogurt flavors. That night, while the milk heated in my multi-cooker, I looked online and found How To Flavor Yogurt at Home + 10 Flavor Ideas! through Traditional Cooking School and I immediately started picking which flavors I wanted to make. The website’s recipes each used a cup of yogurt and since my canning jars each hold four cups I decided to quadruple the recipes so they may have ended up more flavored than expected. I chose to try vanilla, fruit-on-the-bottom, and chocolate yogurt from the Traditional Cooking School’s post and then, since I still had lots of the coconut syrup left, decided to experiment making a different form of coconut yogurt. That night I measured out the ingredients for each yogurt and put them in their own canning jar before putting them into the fridge and finally, the next morning, poured the warm yogurt into each one, shook them to mix, and then tossed them back in the fridge to set.
Sweet Sauce On French Toast
A month or so ago I surprised the family with french toast as we had extra challah bread from a Milk Pail Drive-Thru grocery order. I’m normally not a big fan of syrup, so as the french toast was finishing I was thinking about what else I could add to the table to go with it. I quickly searched online for ideas and came across a french toast casserole that was drizzled in a yogurt sauce and topped with toasted pecans through A Side of Sweet. I didn’t have the cold cream or Greek yogurt that the recipe called for so I decided to replace both with my fridge-cold yogurt. I only had a bit of yogurt left in one of my canning jars so to make it I simply opened the lid, added a bit of vanilla extract, sprinkled some icing sugar over top, and then shook it all up for a perfectly sweet topping for the french toast. The kids liked the yogurt sauce mixed with some syrup while Matt, my husband, is more of a syrup purist. Me? I fully enjoyed each piece of my french toast drenched in the sweet yogurt sauce. I dubbed it a success and can see this being made more often whenever we might want a sweet and simple sauce. It was so delicious that I could’ve sworn I snapped a photo for you but I can’t find it on my phone so it must not have happened. To make it up to you I’ve since made waffles and another batch of the sweet yogurt sauce so I could snap a photo of it for you.
Sour Cream or Mayonnaise Replacement
Even before making my own yogurt I got into the habit of using store-bought Greek yogurt as a replacement for my sour cream and mayonnaise. Matt still buys mayonnaise for the kids and him but he’s, mostly, accepted it as a sour cream replacement. Once I started making my own yogurt I stopped buying Greek yogurt and instead replaced all three with it and it’s been working fine. This includes me putting a thin layer of yogurt on my bread, if making sandwiches, or adding a dollop of it onto my tacos. I also used it on my Chicken Fajitas and Mexican Quinoa Casserole with Guacamole in my cookbook review post. I’ve since read that yogurt works better as a sour cream replacement if you add some vinegar or lemon juice to curdle it, which I’ve also done with milk to make buttermilk, so I tried that a couple weeks ago with lemon juice and loved how it turned out. That time I had actually bought some sour cream and did a taste test between the two while eating perogies and although I loved the texture and thickness of the sour cream I found it had no taste and I much preferred the yogurt and lemon juice mixture instead. Though I should note Matt easily preferred the sour cream. For me, I can see in the future straining my yogurt so it’s thicker, like sour cream, and then it might’ve won on all counts.
Quick aside. Since using yogurt as a more savory topping I’ve noticed that whenever I open the lid on my multi-cooker to a fresh batch of yogurt I’m reminded of tacos or something. Guessing it’s just the smell of warm yogurt.
I’ve always found that I only need ranch dressing occasionally so whenever I want the kids to eat more vegetables, so they could dip veggies into it, or if I need ranch dressing for a recipe I’d have to buy a fresh bottle. Then that bottle would sit forgotten in the fridge until I realized it had, once again, expired. This repeated off and on until, over time, I got tired of buying a bottleful each time so I tried using a store-bought powdered ranch, found it way too onion-y, and then started trying to justify not buying it again. When I saw macaroniandbutter’s post, on Instagram, showing her homemade ranch recipe I jumped on it. I’ve tried it twice now and both times found it a bit too garlic-y for me but overall loved it and I realized making my own ranch dressing on-demand is the perfect solution for our family. I’ve also tried a slightly different ranch recipe found in the Homemade Yogurt & Kefir book and loved it; although Matt thought it had a bit too much lemon in it. To be up front I did make a few changes to both recipes. I replaced any mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, or buttermilk with my yogurt (adding a bit of lemon to curdle it if replacing the buttermilk) and left out the parsley and fresh chives from both recipes as I was out of both of them. I love how simple both were to make and how they can easily be altered in size or ingredients base on your preference. I’ve since started throwing my own version together if I feel like we need a veggie dip out of just yogurt, dry dill, garlic, and lemon.
Many years ago, pre-kids, I came across Janet and Greta Podleski’s Looneyspoons book and fell in love… with the tzatziki recipe. I’ve since discovered I’m really bad using a cookbook long-term so I only grab this book now whenever I want the one tzatziki recipe. It uses Greek yogurt as it’s base and I always made sure I bought more than enough Greek yogurt so I could dice the cucumber and use that to dictate whether the recipe was a single batch or doubled, tripled, or quadrupled that time. This was and is my absolute favorite recipe in the book that I always brought to parties accompanied by veggies or chips and then later, once I discovered BreadIn5, accompanied by homemade bread. Since making my own yogurt I’ve replaced the Greek yogurt with my own plain yogurt and have had no issues; although, if you find it too runny I could see straining your yogurt so it’s the right thickness first. If you want to try the recipe out I’ve found a version of it in a blog post, by Suzie the Foodie, that tells you how to make it. I stumbled across this years ago when I was out of the house and needed to know the ingredients to go shopping and have since returned to it several times when I didn’t have the cookbook on hand to refer to. The ingredients are scattered through the post instead of located in one simple to see section but it’s all there.
I’ve been really loving yogurt and wanted to share these simple things you can make with it. I’ve since come across two different posts about making frozen yogurt and I’m now debating trying that too. Specifically, it you’re interested, the posts are Yogurt Nerd’s How to Make Frozen Greek Yogurt and Cultures For Health’s How To Make Cultured Ice Cream. I’d love to hear from you if this got you excited about yogurt whether you might have some sitting in your fridge for awhile, you’re debating buying some, or you might be looking for reasons to make your own. Either way I hope you find whatever you make to be delicious. Have you made anything else with yogurt? I’d love to hear about it, too, in the comments below. Hope you’re having a great week.
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