On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I wake up a few minutes before 6 to go to spin class at the community center. I don’t know if y’all have ever taken a spin class, but I’ll tell you what – it is a workout. It’s different than just running or lifting weights. Boy, does it make me t i r e d.
When I get home I am in desperate need of protein. As a vegetarian, sometimes it is hard to get a good amount of protein in a meal, and this especially effects me after a tough workout. Greek yogurt is the perfect thing to have around because it packs in nearly 10 grams of protein in a half a cup. Thus, greek yogurt parfaits like this one are the perfect thing to eat after a hard morning spin class.
Let me break down this parfait for you: layer of homemade (yes, homemade! More about that later) greek yogurt, layer of banana slices, layer of granola, drizzle of agave nectar, repeat twice, then topped with pomegranate seeds. Delish!
Now, homemade greek yogurt. Sounds scary, right? It’s actually not as daunting as you’d think. I first ventured into greek yogurt making a few months ago. I was super nervous the first time, but with the help of some great bloggers who did it first (here and here) it turned out a success.
I use the crockpot method. If you’d like to try, I recommend you follow one of the tutorials I linked above, but I’ll tell you the general gist of it all.
First off, buy a gallon of milk. I found that skim actually makes the best greek yogurt, though I don’t like skim normally. Pour the whole gallon into your crockpot and let it heat until it reaches 180 to 190 degrees. This takes about 4 hours on the high setting in my crockpot, but I also live in high altitude so it takes longer. Once it has reached 180, crack the lid and let the milk cool to 110 degrees. This will take a couple hours, probably.
When the milk reaches 110 degrees, pour one cup or so into a bowl. Mix in two tablespoons of starter yogurt (this can be greek yogurt you have in your fridge or any type of yogurt that has a live culture). Stir well and then pour back into the milk. Take a wooden spoon through it once or twice, but do not over mix. Replace the lid and wrap the entire crockpot in a towel. I also leave a lamp on right next to it. You want to do this so the mixture does not cool much past 110. Let the milk sit undisturbed for at least 4 hours. After 4 hours you should be able to see the separation of whey and yogurt.
Now comes the fun part. Separate as much whey as you can by spooning it off the top. Then, layer a colander with cheese cloth (two or three layers) and spoon the yogurt into the colander. Letting the whey drain from the yogurt is what makes the yogurt greek yogurt. The longer you let it drain, the thicker and creamier it will be. I normally let it drain for about an hour.
When it’s all said and done, one gallon of milk will make about 2 containers (the size you get from the store) of greek yogurt. This is a steal, especially if you can get the milk on sale. The most recent time I made it, I got a gallon of milk for $1.99. So that’s at least $4 in savings! (And I buy the generic brand.)
You’ll have a lot of leftover whey. This can be used in many different ways. I often replace it for milk or water in baking. I have also used it in smoothies.
So anyway. I hope you won’t be scared of making greek yogurt anymore. It makes for fantastic and fantastically cheap parfaits!