Thursday, July 30, 2009
In search of the perfect vanilla yogurt
I was a yogurt eater in 1971 when most people looked at me like I was crazy. I bought a Swiss-style yogurt then, and enjoyed it. Over the years, yogurt choices have improved and I’ve gone through phases. There was a time when Yoplait Custard Style was an exclusive favorite, until I discovered I could have had a dish of ice cream for the same calories! Then I switched to other low-fat, non-fat, artificially sweetened yogurts, only to give those up because I don’t care for the overly-sweet taste and the artificiality of it all. I just want to find one good, thick, creamy, naturally sweetened vanilla yogurt that I can toss with some berries and a good granola and be happy. Is that too much to ask?
To that end, I have tested some previously un-tried yogurts, and the search continues. It’s a consistency thing with me. I don’t like anything that resembles curdles (blech). No whey! I want something smooth, shiny, and almost scoop-able. Recent taste trials included Stonyfield Farm Vanilla (nope) and Brown Cow Vanilla (OK, still not there). At my brother Danny’s recommendation, I looked for something called Aussie, couldn’t find it, and found Wallaby instead – could that be what he meant? Well, the taste was fine, nice vanilla flavor, but the consistency was more like yogurt soup. Not buying that one again.
I used to strain plain or vanilla yogurt to make “yogurt cheese” as a cream cheese substitute in low-fat cheesecake recipes, or as a sour cream replacement for dips or baked potatoes. I’d take a large container of yogurt and strain it overnight in a colander lined with coffee filters. The bowl was placed in the refrigerator and the top of the colander and bowl were covered in saran wrap. The next morning the yogurt had the consistency of a soft cream cheese, ready for whatever recipe I had in mind. I never thought once about just eating it that way. I’m realizing now that a strained vanilla yogurt, Greek style, might be just what I’m looking for. I’ll give that a try and keep you posted!
Photo credit: http://img.timeinc.net/recipes/i/recipes/hl/van-lemon-berry-parfait-hl-1193349-x.jpg