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draining yogurt. What is that stuff??

Upon the suggestion of chowhounds here, I've begun draining my yogurt to make it richer and more creamy. Wow, what a difference! It almost feels and tastes like clotted cream without the artery clogging goodness.

But this has got me wondering. What is the syrupy liquid that drains off. Any ideas?

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  1. whats the stuff little miss muffets eats? curds and wey? maybe its one of those?

        1. It's whey - the liquid part of milk. However, I recently had a discussion about how wonderfully virtuous it was to have such a delicious, low fat substance. I began with 2% or 3% yogurt, after all. My son, the scientist and party pooper, reminded me that when the liquid drains away, it concentrates the solids and what I have left is no longer 2% or 3% but a much higher fat yogurt.

          He may be my son but sometimes I hate him.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Nyleve

            I've often wondered how Total Greek yogurt can be so thick, and at the same time low fat and high protein. I hope those lables are correct! I'm always careful to stir in, not pour off, the liquid that settles on top of my Total.

            1. re: danna

              I assume that if you start with yogurt that's ultra low fat, and you drain off some of the liquid, it will just increase the percentage. When I drain yogurt to use as yogurt, I generally just let it drain for a couple of hours to thicken it - not solidify it (as in labneh). So if I've drained off about half the volume of liquid as what's left...I'm sure some mathematical genius can figure out what the increase in fat percentage would be.

              In Greece and Turkey, just about all the yogurt you encounter has been drained so that it's thick. And some of it clocks in at 1% or less fat.

            2. re: Nyleve

              Well, you increase the percentage, but you don't increase the actual amount of fat. So if you measure out one serving of yogurt, and then drain it, the amount of fat in the "serving" will be the same. Or you can start with zero percent yogurt. I've been draining the nonfat French Village from TJ's and it does quite well. I still use 0% Total for eating straight, but the drained French Village does fine for cooking, spreads, etc.

              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                Exactly. The total amount of fat in the yogurt doesn't increase. Just the percentage, which doesn't really mean anything anyway.

            3. I have also heard that this whey is really nutritious, so it could be not such a great idea to always drain it off, maybe just for a treat. Or, and this is what I do, just by Stonyfield Farms whole milk vanilla yogurt. The best stuff on earth.

              1. What's left after draining, the thick stuff, is variously known as labna or labné in the Middle East, and kefir cheese in Eastern Europe. You can buy labna at the Armenian shops in Watertown and in various other M-E markets. It may be higher fat than the yogurt you started out with, but it's a great substitute for cream cheese on a bagel, etc., and a lot lower fat than that.

                1. They whey, liquid drained from yoghurt and some cheeses is very nutritious and you can use it in baking as a sub for milk, it will increase the nutrition without increasing the fat if you are worried about that kind of thing. Don't waste the stuff, put it to good use.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Candy

                    I used whey from making fresh cheese for the Bittman "no-knead" bread with spectacular results! I have always used this same whey in sourdough starter and baking. It adds a pleasant tang.

                    1. re: Sherri

                      Hey Sherri - finally came upon a good use for the whey!!! I used to go to Jim Lahey's Sullivan Street bakery when it was in lower Manhattan, and found him to be charming and informative - had seen him on Martha Stewart's program, and just had to go and talk to him, and try out his breads - his pizza bianco was unbelievable, and I'm looking forward to trying this recipe..... Thanks for the source, also had dinner with Mark Bittman at a book store/cooking demo here in Vancouver, B.C. a few years ago, nice man.....

                    2. re: Candy

                      You can also add it to beans to form a complete protein, Graham Kerr is a big proponent of this technique. The whey is quite nutritious stuff.