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.
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...
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!