The Subtleties of Strained Yogurt

If you choose to believe Wikipedia, then yogurt cheese, labneh, and Greek yogurt are all strained yogurts, where a cloth or filter is used to remove the whey.

Under fresh cheeses, if you scroll all the way to the bottom of the page on The Cook's Thesaurus website, it says just about the same thing, but adds the word "chaka" to the mix and refers to all of them as soft, tangy, and nutritious cream cheese substitutes.

Needless to say if you search for chaka, you will find a much beloved American singer as well. : ) But I digress.

It seems that many countries have different words for the same thing. Right now, strained yogurt, whatever you want to call it, is all the rage. As the demand grows, I've watched the prices continue to shoot up and different brands try their own versions. One store will raise the price, while another will have it on sale all the time. So I switch where I buy it. Then the other store will discontinue it all together. So the other store will raise the price. Then two new brands will introduce their own version. Then the store will introduce their own store brand.

My budget can only stand so much, so I've been experimenting with different store brands and name brands of regular and Greek yogurt. No matter what type of yogurt, I usually get vanilla, because I find plain yogurt rather horrid.

Recently, I noticed a new store brand Greek yogurt was not much cheaper than the name brand. The law of supply and demand again. For quite a while, my standby was Cabot Greek Vanilla Bean. The price was more than I'd prefer to pay, but I loved the flavor and it's made in the United States and also made in New England. So I paid the higher price.

Then the container size changed to a smaller one. The price went up. The flavor that I liked wasn't always available, then I would not see it all. So I gave up my brand loyalty again. If I can't depend on getting the product where I shop, then what's the point?

So here I am again. At a yogurt crossroads. I saw this blog post about making labneh. Then I saw this labneh post too.

I've decided to take the often traveled food blogger road. Would Robert Frost approve? I don't know. But for now I'll be buying store brand vanilla and straining it myself. Maybe that will make all the difference.

*Updated 5pm* Now wondering what to do with leftover whey. Whey can be used as a substitute for milk or water when baking or used to make ricotta cheese. Below is the finished labneh. It drained for about 17 hours. I'm so excited to use it!

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