Thursday, April 4, 2013

Homemade Chobani

Last year, about this time, I posted about how and why I make homemade yogurt. Today at work we were discussing Chobani yogurt, and I realized that in the last year, I have gradually transitioned to making Greek-style yogurt. Basically, I use my old yogurt-making technique, then strain off the whey with cheesecloth. Ta-da! Homemade Chobani!

I promised a co-worker I'd share the details. So here goes:

Start with a pot of yogurt. Lately, I've had the best luck with using whole milk (I find it tastier and more filling). And my family now strongly prefers that it's vanilla-flavored. I've started culturing it overnight, wrapped in a bath towel in a pre-warmed (but turned off) oven, so it gets a nice long culturing time. I let it chill in the fridge all day before straining it.

That crater is the cup of yogurt I took to work today. I just couldn't wait. It's full of whey, the stuff we'll strain off.

Try to convince the dog that the yogurt's not for him. Good luck.

Exact a candy tax from the kids' Easter stash, whenever available. This is a seasonal procedural variant, of course...

Set a mesh strainer in a large bowl.

Line with cheesecloth. 

I wash and reuse mine, and store it in a ziplock.

Transfer the yogurt into the strainer. I usually set aside a quart of yogurt before straining because the girls don't truly appreciate the valuable strained stuff as much as I do. Sometimes it's like throwing pearls to swine...

Almost immediately, you'll see the whey start to separate out. Let it sit in the fridge for a few hours. The longer it sits, the thicker the yogurt will be. But if you forget it overnight, you'll have yo-cheese. It's tasty, but not much like Chobani.

Check on it occasionally. If you're like me, pregnant and waiting to go to bed, decide enough is enough and just let it strain for just a little while. The results are less dense and creamy, but the bedtime is earlier and the risk of yo-cheese is lower.

If you're a cheapskate like me, save the whey you strain off. Well, at least the stuff you don't spill on the counter while trying to pour it into the bottle. I usually get more than this when I don't spill...
What do you do with whey? Well, you can combine it with a little dollop of yogurt and use it in place of buttermilk. Or you can use to make smoothies. Or, if you're really like me, you can optimistically save it for future use, then realize that you're too tired to bake or be creative in the kitchen and eventually throw it out. Like you would have originally done while making the yogurt. Oh well...

And here's the finished product:  6+ cups of whole milk vanilla-flavored Greek-style yogurt.

I bought the milk for $2.99/gallon, and used some leftover yogurt as my culture. So this batch of yogurt only cost $2.99. Even if I'd spent $1 on a fresh small container of yogurt as my culture, the grand total would be $3.99 for over 48 ounces of yogurt. Chobani is sold in 6 ounce containers, usually for around $1.25/container. So the equivalent amount of yogurt in the store would cost $10. And contain preservatives and shelf-stabilizers that I don't add to mine. I consider the time and energy well-spent!

My hard-working cheesecloth gets treated to a bubble bath after each use. Basically, I'm too lazy to wash it. I just soak it overnight and wash it the next morning.

See? It's not too hard. Enjoy your homemade Chobani!


  1. Out of curiosity...when do you add the vanilla? Is your whey then vanilla-flavored too? Do you add any sugar to boost the vanilla? And I completely agree that whole milk makes the best yogurt. :)

    1. I just add vanilla extract after the milk is warm. I bet vanilla bean in the milk as it heats would be much better...
      I don't add any sugar. I just add honey or fruit while serving.
      And I just tasted the whey. It does have a vanilla flavor. Yes, I just drank a shot of whey...

  2. hmmmm. SO, I made a second batch. the first batch (that you helped with) was good; this one, not so much. the texture is a little curdled, kind of. Not smooth. Any idea what went wrong? (and if we'll die if we eat it?)