What is Greek yogurt starter?
Greek yogurt is just another name for strained yogurt. In the US there is no legal definition for Greek-style yogurt so many companies will add thickeners instead of straining. But we can say that real Greek yogurt is one that is thickened by straining and typically made from animal milk. Also, the definition of Greek yogurt doesn’t call for specific types of bacteria strains to be included. However, when folks look for a Greek yogurt starter they look for one that will help reduce the amount of straining required. This is done by choosing your Greek yogurt starter to have bacteria strains that tend to produce thick yogurt during fermentation. The Bulgarian style starter pictured above is perfect for producing thick yogurt and it’s even used as for substitute in Greek yogurt recipes.
After you’ve chosen a Greek yogurt starter simply follow the culture time and temperature directions. For this product the fermentation time is 12 – 24 hours and the culture temperature is 104 – 114 degrees F. The volume you’ll have to strain depends on the percent milk fat and whether or not the milk is pasteurized. Assuming pasteurized milk, you’ll need to use a ratio of 2:1 for whole milk and 3:1 for low fat milk. For example, 1 gallon of whole milk would yield about 1/2 gallon of Greek yogurt. And 1 gallon of low fat milk would result in around 1/3 gallon of Greek yogurt. If you are using fat free milk you may need to use even more milk (say, a ratio of 4:1).
The above straining directions will result in a very thick yogurt similar to ones found in US stores. At 12 hour incubation time, the yogurt should have a mildly tart taste. If you want ever more tartness you can increase your culture time. At 24 hours you’ll have a SCD style yogurt that’s virtually lactose-free and very tart.
PS, our Bulgarian starter can also be used as a Greek yogurt starter.