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DIY – Make Your Own Greek Yogurt *Giveaway*


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Because we are new olim, Hubby started going to Ulpan. As you probably know, that’s a crash course in spoken Hebrew, but the immediate payoff is a circle of friends – people who are as clueless as you are about how to say in perfect Hebrew, “I think I’m on the wrong bus and I don’t want to go to Solomon’s Mines.”  At least, you’re supposed to learn how to say this fast enough to get off before the bus hurtles into the Negev.

A true Israeli, the Ulpan teacher has a habit of introducing inexplicable grammar rules with the preface “This is how it is; if you don’t like it, start a revolution.” Now of course this all goes down in Hebrew but the word for revolution she uses is “revolutzia.” That’s not one of my classic vocab words from 6th grade Hebrew class, but I love the sound of it.

Fact is, when I arrived I nearly started a big fat revolutzia of my own.  It was all about yogurt.  Greek yogurt.

Old habits are hard to break you see, even when you resolve to make aliyah and change everything. Wherever in the world I find myself, I like to start my day with a cup (or more) of plain fat free Chobani Greek yogurt sprinkled with Truvia and mixed with fruit. It comes right after my grandma-style hot water with lemon. Every day. First thing in the morning.

So I come to the Promised Land – and there’s no Chobani!  The horror of it all was nearly too much to bear.  My husband’s mother (who really is an angel disguised as a mother-in-law) emailed Chobani to ask if they distribute to Israel.  The simple, sad, intense, frantic return email read: NO!

I was calmed only by the notion that Greece is closer to Israel than the US, so there must be an authentic Greek brand – properly hechshered – just waiting for me at the supermarket.

It wasn’t there. That’s when I got all into revolutzia mode.

But starting a war probably wouldn’t make me all too popular with the locals so I took a deep breath in and out and thought that technically I knew how to and even clearly explained on this here site that it’s oh SO EASY to make your own homemade Greek yogurt.  While it’s something I never had to do before, I decided to try.

So, every two days I make my own – only because my strainer isn’t large enough to handle more than that.  Once the whey is strained along with all the water and dissolved salts and sugars, 3 cups of regular yogurt yield 1 ½ cups of Greek yogurt.  So in fact, it’s double the cost of standard yogurt which is in keeping with the hefty price tag of store bought Greek yogurt.  Yup that’s kind of pricey, but why quibble over a few shekels when you’re saving a life? My life. My breakfast. My morning.

So we’ll have to revise our budget, Hubby.   But better that then me starting a revolutzia, no?

Quick little Greek yogurt primer, What is Greek Yogurt? 

The rich texture of Greek yogurt is achieved by straining it through a cloth, a paper bag, or a filter to remove the whey.  Because the whey is removed, even nonfat varieties are rich and creamy. Straining the yogurt removes water and dissolved salts and sugars, so by volume Greek yogurt has twice the protein and less sodium, carbohydrates, and sugar than regular yogurt. The consistency achieved is between yogurt and cheese, and the distinctive tangy taste is preserved. That’s why Greek yogurt has recently become so popular. It has a richer taste and is lower in carbs than unstrained yogurts.

Homemade Fat Free Greek Style Yogurt with Step by Step Photo Instructions

Many thanks to the amazingly talented photographer, blogger and recipe developer Sina Mizrahi from the TheKosherSpoon.com.  I fell in love with Sina, her cooking her photography, after visiting her beautiful blog.  She opens up about her life, her food, her family and cooks (sometimes) simple meals with seasonal produce that are (mostly) nutritious.  Please visit her site.


Addendum – Many of you in the US have been asking for a Cholov Yisroel Greek Yogurt and now you can get yours.  Kosher Today announced that Norman’s Dairy is releasing the first Cholov Yisroel (higher kosher standard for dairy) Greek Yogurt in 6 flavors.  Look for it at your kosher markets this Winter.


***Giveaway*** Win a sampling of Papa Ben’s Kitchen 5 varieties of Mandelbroyt.   Enter the contest below.

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About Jamie Geller


Jamie Geller is the only best-selling cookbook author who wants to get you out of the kitchen – not because she doesn’t love food – but because she has tons to do. As “The Bride Who Knew Nothing” Jamie found her niche specializing in fast, fresh, family recipes. Now the "Queen of Kosher" (CBS) and the "Jewish Rachael Ray" (New York Times), she's the creative force behind JoyofKosher.com and "Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller" magazine . Jamie and her hubby live in Israel with their five busy kids who give her plenty of reasons to get out of the kitchen - quickly. Check out her new book, "Joy of Kosher: Fast, Fresh Family Recipes."




37 Responses to DIY – Make Your Own Greek Yogurt *Giveaway*

  1. avatar says: miriama59

    Cream of Wheat. It reminds me of my childhood, my father and it’s one of my favorite comfort foods.

  2. avatar says: dalesusan

    my favorite breakfast is granola, skim milk, 1/2 banana, with dried cherries and a glass of cranberry juice. but i have yogurt for lunch every day. thanks for the recipe!

  3. avatar says: strandjss

    Breakfast burritos – eggs, cheese, soyrizo, salsa,

  4. avatar says: Dianeba53

    Couldn’t live without blintz soffle

  5. avatar says: clc408

    I have the same breakfast every day – oatmeal cooked in soy milk with raisins, brown sugar and cinnamon.

  6. BS’D
    Hi Jamie,
    There is an abundance of very creamy low fat goat and sheep yogurt which is equal in nutrients and taste to the US Greek yogurt and BTW when yogurt is strained the carbs (due to getting rid of the water), actually are more concentrated and might be higher, but a little goes a long way because it is cheesier. This is great as a replacement for sour cream just as is and in cheese cakes.

    Keep smiling!

  7. avatar says: gm

    Breakfast? What’s that?! ;) As a busy mother of 3, I don’t usually have time for breakfast. Sometimes I’ll take frozen home made chocolate chip/caramel chip cookies to eat on the way to work. I think my favorite “breakfast” is peanut M&Ms…;)
    but in truth… I’d go for a creamy fruit smoothie!

  8. Hi Jamie,
    Of course it’s possible to buy Greek Yogurt in Israel. It’s in every supermarket. The secret of finding it is knowing that it’s called labane (accent on the last e)here. I make my own but the bought brands are delicious. If you travel to the north of the country, you can buy huge bags of Tnuva labane but I haven’t found them in the center of the country – only the regular small pots. There are different brands from all the main dairies. I eat mine in the evening on top of a huge bowl of Israeli salad. Mmmmm!

    • what’s the difference btwn labane and leben? what is the hashgacha? and is it 0%? I love it savory too on top of israeli salad!

    • Sorry Jamie for the long wait but I’ve only just seen your question.
      Labene is Greek yogurt – that is, yogurt without the whey. Leben is similar but made with
      a different microbial culture. Eshel is also similar but has a thicker consistency.

      Hope this answers your question.

  9. avatar says: sgnehrer

    I see someone has pointed this out already, but there is *definitely* Greek yogurt in the Israeli stores. Some of it is even labeled “Greek yogurt” in English letters. It’s not Chobani, as it doesn’t come in yummy flavors, but it can be found!

    • I think someone needs to take Jamie food shopping in Israel. :)

    • don’t laugh but that’s true!!! there is a woman who offers professional supermarket tours – I kinda dismissed it initially but now I am scrambling for her phone number! sgnehrer: so what’s the brand??? help. I haven’t seen it. I don’t need flavors I prefer plain so I can do with it what I please :-) and really want 0%/Fat Free.

    • Jamie, I believe that Danona makes Greek yogurt, but I have only seen it with rather high (about 7%, if I recall correctly, though I may not be) fat content. Come shop with me some time – Rami Levy is always an adventure, even when you’ve been here a while!

  10. avatar says: davises88

    We spent three weeks in Greece over the summer and everyone fell in love with the yoghurt mixed with local honey. What’s not to love? We’d been buying hechshered Greek yoghurt in the States for ages but the taste of the real thing is so different.
    Recently we bought a yoghurt maker (Euro Cuisine 2 Qt. Yoghurt Maker) and are now making our own at home. You can also follow the crock pot method (http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2008/10/you-can-make-yogurt-in-your-crockpot.html) if you have a milchig crock pot.
    We use a half gallon of (whole) milk at a time. I have yet to try with 1 or 2%. (Greek yoghurt in Greece is full fat — the lowest fat was 4% and much was 10 or 12%!) We strain our homemade yoghurt (using a Donvier Yoghurt Cheese Maker) so we lose some quantity due to the whey run off – but the regular unstrained homemade yoghurt is also wonderful. My family eats it – with my homemade granola – faster than I can make it. And it make great tzatziki and raita.

  11. I live in the US and have plenty of greek yogurt options, but I prefer to strain my own. It’s thicker and fresher that way, I find. I buy Stonyfield Organic Plain Yogurt and strain it in my fridge. I use the same technique as you do, but I use a papertowel instead of cheesecloth. (Cheaper and easier to find.) I drizzle it with honey and DEVOUR it.

  12. avatar says: goldie

    definitely cereal and milk!

  13. Shalom!

    I love, love, love Greek yogurt! I can’t believe I only discovered it a few years ago. It reminds me of sour cream, but is much healthier. I buy the unsweetened, unflavored, nonfat variety and eat it plain most of the time. I try to get an organic version whenever possible.

  14. avatar says: rivkyg

    I am not a big fan of yogurt but I do like toast in the morning! Thanks for the contest!

  15. Lately I have been enjoying adding a small amount of thick honey, I got it from Trader Joe’s and it is almost like jelly and is perfect with the yogurt and a diced apple.

  16. avatar says: BusySavta

    I have found Greek yogurt here in Israel, at my work. Made by Danona (Strauss Dairy). I like it with granola or with fitness cereal, or just plain along side a cup of coffee!
    thanks for the homemade recipe and the nutrition info !

  17. avatar says: Chayala

    Farina- Cream of Wheat. I agree with Miriam’s comment: “It reminds me of my childhood, my father and it’s one of my favorite comfort foods.” Although he, a’h, ate his with salt, I eat mine sweet: w/ Splenda/Equal, raisins, cinnamon, & a little vanilla. …. & must have coffee!

  18. I couldn’t live without greek yogurt for breakfast….or oatmeal with peanut butter, maple syrup, and cinnamon…

  19. avatar says: RochelS

    Same breakfast every morning for as long as I can remember – Honey Nut cheerios and milk. :)

  20. 1 cup of Kashi Golean, .5 cup blueberrie and skim milk. My favorite breakfast! Oh, and coffee, of course.

  21. avatar says: DebbieB

    a couple of decades ago, I started “draining and straining” my American-style plain yogurt. I thought it too sweet then. Turns out I was just way ahead of trends! I was very happy when Greek yogurt came on the market. Breakfast has included yogurt with nuts, dried fruit and honey for several years now. Even though I am lactose intolerent, this seems to be tummy-approved!

    • Debbie – it’s so funny you should say that. I never thought of myself as lactose intolerant but yogurt makes my stomach uneasy and I love it — but when I eat Greek yogurt or my strained yogurt it NEVER has that effect on me.

  22. Straining the yogurt gets rid of a lot of the lactose! And the probiotics/cultures in the yogurt feed off of the remaining lactose, so it continues to break down, over time.

    I couldn’t find Greek yogurt on my last visit, either. Labane is not really Greek yogurt, but rather yogurt cheese, more dense. Imagine taking your Chobani and straining it even further. Delicious, but I don’t think it’s the consistency you want. It’s closer to cream cheese in texture, than Chobani, and probably too tart for your breakfast combo (my breakfast of choice, as well!)OTOH, spread it on thick, crusty bread and top with za’atar… OMG…

  23. avatar says: Adina

    I don’t know if anyone has already said this, but I live here in Israel and also have been missing nonfat Greek yogurt from the U.S. I have discovered an even simpler way of making delicious nonfat greek yogurt. Just take 0% plain yogurt (I use Danona), mix in a little sugar and vanilla(to your taste), let it strain for a few hours and you’re done. Definitely easier that starting from scratch! (Yes Danona did make it but it’s now out of production and anyway, it was only full fat)

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