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Aug 13, 2009 11:33 AM

anyone know where to find skyr?

Hello Chowhound, finally decloaking after lots of lurking!
I have recently returned form a visit to Iceland and would love to have some skyr, the ubiquitous Icelandic food.
What's skyr you might rightly ask? It's a soft cheese, like yoghurt that is sold everywhere in Iceland. It can be firm and fruity, or liquidy (kind of like yop, except super yummy)It's low fat and higher protein than yogurt as it has whey added to it.
I heard a rumour that Whole foods has it in the states, but I emailed the store in Vancouver and they have not responded-I also wnet there to ask but still, no skyr!
Please help me fulfill my skyr needs, please!!!

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  1. That's something I've never seen in Canada, having had Icelandic Skyr I know how delicious it can be and what we're missing.

    I wonder if there is some place in Winnipeg or Gimli that has it?

    1. Arborg, MB

      Importing Skyr runs afoul of Canada's dairy regulations (same as Fage).
      You might try contacting the local Icelandic Society - someone might be making it for their own consumption.

      2 Replies
      1. re: cancowboy

        Cancowboy, great links! I am going to have to join that Icelandic society, that might be a place to start.
        Could skyr be made to sell in Canada? Do you know what it is about it that is against dairy regulations?

        1. re: willow72

          It is made for sale in Canada - see the note about Palsson's in the first link.

          From what I gather from the Fage in Canada threads, it is a general prohibition on the importation of raw milk products. Plus the dairy oligopoly doesn't like products made with foreign milk.

      2. I am in New Iceland as I speak. I made a trip to Arborg looking for the elusive skyr. None. We drove back to Gimli and found a woman who said that Arnasons's Tip Top foods on the main drag would have it. So we went there and asked. He said they used to make it but no longer do, due to strict govt regulations that cost too much to comply with so they no longer make it. He didn't think that anyone in Canada makes it anymore. So he said, why don't you make your own? So I said, how? So he said, take some buttermilk, let it sit at room temperature for 2 days, strain through cheesecloth and the curds are skyr. Simple as that. And that was from Mr. Arnason himself.

        4 Replies
        1. re: sarah galvin

          sarah - thanks for the update

          willow - sorry about passing on old info to you

          1. re: cancowboy

            I drove to Arborg based on info from Chowhound! They had never heard of skyr. It seemed to be more Mennonite than Icelandic in this town at this point in time. Whatever! It was a nice drive.

              1. re: cancowboy

                lol... I had friends from Sask that were camping at Gimli so went up to visit.

        2. Thanks everyone, I am going to make it today!
          You need buttermilk for the culture and also Rennet, which took some hunting to find, also cheeseclothe-wish me well using this recipe:

          The Viking settlers are believed to have brought the knowledge of skyr-making with them from Norway, and developed it further after settlement. Since that time, the knowledge of skyr-making has been lost in Scandinavia. Skyr looks like thick yogurt, and the taste is reminiscent of it. But skyr is not a yogurt, it's actually a type of fresh cheese. Because it is made with skim milk, the fat content is very low, allowing it to be eaten with cream and sugar without too much guilt. It is also an excellent source of calcium. Making it takes time, but it's well worth the effort. Skyr is not widely available outside Iceland, which can make it hard to produce in other countries. The reason for this is that in order to make skyr, you need some skyr. There is a special bacteria culture that gives the skyr its unique taste, and the best way of getting the bacteria into a new batch is by mixing a portion of skyr into it. Sour cream or buttermilk can be used in place of skyr, but the taste will be slightly different. This recipe makes 16 to 20 servings, and can easily be reduced. The skyr can be stored for 4-5 days in a closed container. 10 liters skim milk* 8-9 drops OR 1 1/2 tablet rennet
          10 grams skyr = þéttir (if not available, use 1 tblsp. live culture sour cream or buttermilk)
          *Skim milk should preferably not be pasteurized (the skyr will taste better). 1. Heat the skim milk up to 86-90°C, and cool slowly for about 2 hours, down to 39°C. Stir the prepared þéttir with a little boiled milk and mix into the milk with the rennet (if you are using dry rennet, dissolve in a little water before adding).
          2. Close the cooking pot and wrap in towels or a thick blanket. The milk should curdle in about 5 hours. If it curdles in less than 4 ½ hours, the curds will be coarse, but if it curdles in more than 5 hours, the skyr will be so thick it will be difficult to strain. When the milk is curdled, cut into the curds with a knife. When you can make a cut which will not close immediately, then you can go on to the next stage.

          3. Line a sieve or colander with cheesecloth or a fine linen cloth and pour in the skyr. Tie the ends of the cloth together over the top and hang over a bucket or other container so the whey can drip off. If the skyr-making has been successful, there will be little whey, and it will not float over the curds, but will be visible along the edges of the sieve and in the cuts you made in the surface. You can judge the quality of the skyr from the appearance of the curds when you pour them into the sieve. If the skyr is good, it will crack and fall apart in pieces, but should neither be thin nor lumpy. Do not put a layer thicker than 7-9 cm. into the sieve. Keep the sieve in a well ventilated room, with a temperature no higher than 12° and no lower than 0° Celsius. The skyr should be ready in 12-24 hours.

          4. The skyr should be firm and look dry when ready. The whey can be used as a drink, to pickle food, or as a replacement for white wine in cooking.

          Possible problems: If the whey does not leak off the curds or floats over the curds, or the curds do not shrink from the edges of the sieve, then something is wrong. The milk has not been heated to a high enough temperature or has been cooled too quickly, so that the rennet has not had time to work. The more milk you curdle at a time, the relatively less þéttir and rennet you need. A large container cools slower than a small one, and the effects of þéttir and rennet last longer. About the þéttir: It is best to use fresh skyr for þéttir. If the skyr is sour, it should be mixed into the milk while it is still 80°-90°C hot. This will remove the sourness. Don't add the rennet until the milk has cooled to approx. 40°C. When the weather is cold, it is best to mix it in when the milk is a little over 40°C (say, 41° or 42°). In cold weather, the milk also needs to be covered more tightly while it curdles. This is especially important if you are making a small portion of skyr. Serving: Eat the skyr as it is, or stir some milk and sugar into it and serve with cream and fruit/berries (blueberries are traditional, but crowberries or strawberries are also good). It is also good with müesli and/or brown sugar, honey or maple syrup. The historical information is taken from the

          2 Replies
          1. re: willow72

            ok, so the recipe above DOES NOT WORK, I am trying another one today, wish me luck!
            My emails to Paullson's come back unopened, so I think it's a dead end.
            Anyone one to start a skry company with me in Canada? My cousin in Iceland can hook us up.

            1. re: willow72

              Did you try the buttermilk at room temp for 2 days? That's what he told me to do.

          2. I was on Hecla Island last summer, and you could definitely get skyr at the general store there... Haven't been more recently though. Hope that heps?

            3 Replies
            1. re: annie4399

              Joy of joy! Someone has reached me online after my plea, and they are making real skyr here in Vancouver, and are going to set me up with some so that I can make my own-the trick, it seems, is bringing in real skyr from Iceland as a starter-why didn't I think of that?

              1. re: willow72

                Can they just sell you some of their skyr and use it as starter?

                1. re: sarah galvin

                  willow72, would you please post the recipe after you meet up with the skyr-makers of Vancouver?

                  Unfortunately I will need to modify it a bit as I can't bring skyr into Ireland and I can't seem to find it here. But any recipe would help & I can start with that. Thanks and have fun!