Greek yogurt now claims 19% of all yogurt sales. Long before Greek yogurt appeared on the scene as one of the trendiest new foods of the decade, savvy artisan cheese makers were making Labneh. Popularized 8,000 years ago in the Middle East, Labneh is simply the strained yogurt we now know as Greek Yogurt. Its high protein content and probiotic affect make this superfood a staple for the modern health conscious connoisseur. Steer clear of low fat and fat free varieties. Products made with whole milk are whole foods.
Yogurt should not be made with raw milk. Yogurt culture is noncompetitive and easily taken over by natural bacteria. Sterilize all equipment in boiling water or a solution of 2 Tbsp bleach per gallon of hot water. I use two stacking stainless steel stock pots as a double boiler to heat the milk. For a thick bodied, mild yogurt use ABY-2C Yogurt culture available through The Dairy Connection . You can also use natural, plain store bought yogurt with active cultures, 4 Tbsp per half gallon of milk. I make this every few weeks with ABY-2C and our goat milk. It lasts well in the refrigerator and can be served with honey and nuts, fruit, granola or used as a substitute for sour cream.
Heat whole cow or goat milk to 180 °F Hold temperature for 30 min.
Chill milk in an ice water bath to 115 °F
Add yogurt culture. (Culture usage: 1/8 tsp for up to 1/2 gallon of milk or 1/4 tsp for 1-4 gallons of milk.) Stir in gently until dissolved.
Hold temperature at 105 to 110 °F for approximately 8 hours.
This can be accomplished by setting the pot on a heating pad set on medium covered with a towel or in a cooler half filled with 110 °F water. Of course a yogurt maker can also be used.
Set a stainless steel colander over a stock pot and line it with muslin. Allow the yogurt to drain until it is reduced by half. Tie ends of muslin and suspend it over the stock pot with a large spoon 8 hours. Refrigerate.