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Yogurt strainer or chinois?

Since I haven't been able to find an organic Greek style yogurt that we both like at a reasonable price (the usual case when something is currently trendy, LOL) I've decided to just take our usual organic lowfat and employ a yogurt strainer instead. Don't want to mess with cheesecloth bags particularly, so I noticed this 'wave' shaped strainer by Donvier:


I like that it is stainless steel mesh although I wish its shape didn't restrict it to use with only the square plastic container it comes in (would rather have it strain into/stored in glass, frankly). I was wondering if a stainless chinois would accomplish the same thing or is the bottom shape too narrowly pointed in those?

I also came across an article recommending the use of a typical paper coffee filter for straining yogurt. Does that really work? It sounds as if not enough of the liquid would actually drain through, compared to an actual mesh.

The Cuisipro/Donvier got great reviews on Amazon but it's no longer available there, btw.

Any opinions from experience on the Donvier vs using a chinois? We don't have either at the moment so it's a question of which one would work better if there is a difference.

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  1. It's offered on eBay: http://www.ebay.com/sch/items/yogurt%...

    Found this link while unsuccessfully searching for a picture of the one I use (purchased decades ago). It's a half-round of plastic which snaps together to form a cone (easy to store when not in use) which I just set in a liquid measuring cup.

    The neat feature is that while the cone is solid plastic, it has an inner liner of plastic mesh that's to hold the yogurt. When I want to release the yogurt, I just unsnap the cone and the strained yogurt/cheese falls into my container -- nothing sticks to the mesh & it's easy to rinse out. By the way, the mesh is not attached to the cone along the upper edge of the cone which also facilitates cleaning (which would be my concern with a chinois).

    ETA: Found a link to my cone aka funnel: http://www.amazon.com/Really-Creamy-Y...

    , but unfortunately not readily available any more :{

    1 Reply
    1. re: Stephanie Wong

      Yours is what I was originally looking for, in fact! I just picked up a copy of Graham Kerr's "Minimax Cookbook" and he describes and illustrates exactly the one you have. The book was written in 1992 and the yogurt strainer is illustrated with a drawing on page 12. His description: "Simple, reusable 1-cup (236 ml) strainer that comes two per package and allows you to have a constant supply of strained yogurt on hand." There are photos of his on page 84 along with his instructions for basic strained yogurt.

    2. I used a colander lined with cheesecloth for years, then I got the donvier in your link. I really like it, although it's a lot more limiting in how much you can drain at one time than my other method. Never tried using a chinois to strain yogurt.

      1. After reading all the reviews on the Donvier on Amazon, I see a recurring theme of complaints about the metal mesh (a) making the yogurt taste metallic and/or (b) the metal rusting fairly quickly. I am the taster-equivalent of a canary in a coal mine (once threw out a stainless 6-qt pot because it made anything cooked in it metallic-tasting even though nobody else could detect it) so I'd rather not risk it. Come to think of it, that might be a problem with the chinois as well; big difference between running something through a SS chinois for a couple of minutes or less, vs having it sit in contact with it for hours.

        Poking around the net I see several recommendations for using a coffee filter basket either with or without an additional paper liner, and am wondering whether the flat-bottomed ones would be a good choice because they would offer more surface area for yogurt to drain through than the cone-shaped ones. One of the gold ones would even eliminate the need for paper liners (assuming the mesh is small enough).

        3 Replies
        1. re: skyline

          I'm a canary in a coal mine. I've used the yogurt metal mesh Donvier for a number of years, but I never had an accompanied metal taste.

          Just by coincidence, DH discovered a gold coffee filter about a week ago that was sitting at his father's house, and brought it home. It was thrown in the dishwasher (by mistake), and even though it has black plastic enforcements, that wasn't destroyed even though we use a sanitary wash, but the gold finish was all mottled and I'd say that most of the gold was gone. Needless to say, I'm glad I never used it. But I can't way whether it would be a good choice to eliminate use of paper filters - even though yogurt is definitely not a 'hot' item.

          I am really not fond even using paper liners, particularly the all natural ones which seem to have some sort of grassy taste - can't put my finger on the taste that it imparts to me; but, of course, I only use them with as a filter with a melita-type ceramic coffee cone, and not that often - usually it's espresso at our house.

          Oh, I forgot - I have the perfect thing (I think) - let me look for it and see if I can find a picture to send.

          1. re: Rella

            I looked all over the house to find it and couldn't. It is something I've had for years and maybe is no longer around to find easily. It was a set of four foldable-uppable white stanchions made to hold a cotton bag. One puts the yogurt into the bag and it drips. I used to put mine in the refrigerator while it dripped overnight.

            But it reminded me of something that could be used to an advantage for you. It is a nut bag

            You could tie this bag onto a string on your cupboard handle and let it drip into a dish or pan. The nut bag is nylon, I believe, not cotton, but dries very fast

            There are good reviews. I bought 4 myself. I found this in my file - I don't know if I wrote it or someone else did:
            "Use the nut milk bag to drain yogurt for cheese. It makes the proper density, vs. the yogurt strainer."

            1. re: Rella

              I've done several of the mentioned methods: unbleached coffee filters, cheesecloth tied to the faucet and drippage via a paper llunch bag. All worked equally well, and I didn't find any odd flavor (altho' I'm NOT the canary type).

        2. I use a Braun gold coffee filter. It has a metal mesh. There are less expensive versions out there, I already owned this for my coffee maker. For real cheap I have seen round basket style coffee filters with nylon mesh in the grocery store but the holes are bigger. I haven't ever tried a paper filter but maybe you could "borrow" one ( they probably won't want it back) and try it.

          1. I use a chinois lined with either a coffee filter or a single ply of paper towel, and it works just fine for me.

            I think a chinois is a generally (very) useful tool to have in the kitchen - to strain stock, broth, sauces, purees, soups. Takes up barely any space and has so many uses. That's the way I would go.

            1. I line a colander with just a coffee filter or paper towel, and it's been fine, cheap, and easy.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Claudette

                Agree. My 6 inch strainer with two overlapping coffee filters does great. Holds a quart easily. I let it drain overnight directly into the sink for 'cheese'.

                1. re: Claudette

                  As an experiment I am test-straining a small amount of Stonyfield Organic 1% plain yogurt into a small fine-mesh strainer lined with one coffee filter. Set it over a large glass whose diameter is the same as the strainer and we shall see how it does by tomorrow morning.

                  Btw, I have read in several places that the straining "setup" should always be covered to prevent contamination (so I set a small glass prep dish upside down over the strainer-atop-glass) and also that the process should always take place in the fridge -- so am I bit surprised to hear of draining it overnight directly into the sink, unrefrigerated, as described above.

                  I can already see a noticeable amount of whey in the bottom of the glass even though it has only been straining for about 3 or 4 hours. Surprising because we usually tip out the whey that accumulates in an opened container of yogurt anyway -- didn't think there would be that much left, since we already used more than half of the 32-oz container of it (and thus have "dumped" they whey a couple of times already).

                  1. re: skyline

                    Just another point of view:
                    I always strain/drip under refrigeration.

                    Regarding a container of regular yogurt:
                    Sometime ago I asked a group if they pour out, or dip out, or spoon out the whey that comes to the top; and my answer(s) were that they always stirred it back into the yogurt. That is what I have always done since.

                2. As an update, the test of using paper coffee filter in a small handled strainer over a tall glass worked fine. Of course it only made a small amount, so I will keep an eye out for the larger size flat bottom coffee filter liners that can be used inside a larger strainer and container.

                  I hesitate to try paper towels because we alwyas buy the superabsorbent ones (Bounty) and I would guess that they would hold/absorb far more liquid than they would allow to drain through. They are such a completely different type of paper, designed for a different use, than a coffee filter .... I can't envision how a paper towel would work equally well?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: skyline

                    I've used Bounty - I just separate the plies and use a single ply. :)