Greek Yogurt Brands
There are many Greek yogurt brands out there, and even more brands of regular yogurt. Many are starting to diversify and cover both in an effort to attract as many consumers as possible. Yogurt has been made for thousands of years, in different countries, using different methods. The earliest references have been in India and Iron over 2000 years ago whereas Greek yogurt has a history going back 5000 years. Many people make their own yoghurt successfully and many farms have their own signature brand such as Stonyfield Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt vs regular yogurt is just one of thousands of decisions grocery shoppers must make. That decision is made for a number of reasons: taste, texture, flavor, calories, and even price. But at the end of the day yoghurt is just yoghurt, or is it?
Ironically you need yogurt to make yoghurt if you’re working at home, commercial producers will use bacteria such as in Oikos Greek yogurt. The bacteria is used to ferment milk to make “yogurt cultures”. The most common bacteria used in dairy yogurt are Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus and Streptococcus salivarius subsp. thermophilus bacteria. Often there are added bacterial cultures to these to make the yogurt into a healthier choice. These bacteria are considered to be probiotics, meaning they are beneficial to the body by promoting good bacterial growth inside the digestive tract. The earliest bacteria were probably just found in the goat stomach, animal udder or other material used to contain the yogurt since sanitation practices were not as stringent as today. The bacteria change the lactose in milk into lactic acid which causes the milk to become thick and creamy.
Eating Greek yogurt can also a great way to make lifestyle changes for weight loss. Often Greek yoghurt is creamier because of the type of milk used to make it. Trader Joe’s Greek yogurt for example is made from cows milk however other companies may use goat’s milk. That is not necessarily the case as many companies will use a blend of different milks to produce their signature products. The only way to be certain what sort of milk is in your yogurt is to check the ingredients. Goat milk can be great for those who have dairy sensitivity as it has less lactose in it than cows milk. Greek yogurt usually uses milk with fat that is about 9% more than that of milk for regular yogurt. It is this higher fat content and then subsequent straining that makes Greek yogurt
Nutritionally Greek yogurt has several major differences than its regular yogurt cousin. Greek yogurt has a higher nutritional value than regular yogurt despite its higher fat content. It is richer in protein and has around a 50% lower sodium rate than regular yogurt as well as being lower in sugar. Regular yogurt is high in carbohydrates and calories because of it’s high sugar content. The texture of Greek yogurt is often preferable to that of regular yogurt. Its thicker creamier taste is more fulfilling than regular yogurt though many are a little wary of jumping all in for a very tangy taste such as that in Greek Gods Yogurt. Greek yogurt is also known to be more digestible than regular yogurt because it is not as harsh as regular yogurt and is often a good choice for those who are lactose intolerant. Although Greek yogurt does have all these benefits it is lower in calcium than its regular counterpart because of the straining process. so different.
To make Greek yoghurt at home you will need a starter culture or about 3 tablespoons of yogurt and one liter of whole milk – the higher the fat content the better, and often some of the more expensive milk brands such as Coldstone have higher fat levels so choosing a thicker, creamier milk will give you a thicker, creamier yogurt. To make the yogurt you will need a plastic or wooden bowl, plastic or metal strainer, ladle, cheese cloth or muslin, and a large pan. The milk should be warmed but not boiling and removed from heat when steaming. Pour the milk into the bowl, it is important that this is not a metal bowl as the bacteria will react and taint the milk. Once the milk cools add the yogurt and any desired flavorings, cover and leave overnight to ferment. Strain the yogurt through the muslin covered strainer into another wood or glass bowl as often as needed to make the yogurt into the desired consistency placing in the fridge to strain. The straining process will take several hours so be prepared and it is important that the yogurt remain in the fridge as much as possible to make it creamier. It is important not to strain the yogurt too much, at most 8-11 hours, since this will cause it to become cheese.
Making yogurt at home may sound simple but on a commercial level this takes many enormous vats of milk and numerous additives. Oikos Greek yogurt is known to be both certified organic and the company has many reviews praising its natural methods. It does not contain any hormones, antibiotics or artificial flavorings unlike some other brands. When choosing between regular yogurt and Greek yogurt look into the benefits and losses in your nutrition and choose the option that fills the holes best. Greek yogurt brands might be confusing but armed with a little nutritional knowledge they don’t have to be a mystery.
Top 5 Greek yogurt brands
Fage is a brand of Greek yogurt that is not sour to the taste. Its texture is very creamy, and it blends well with other foods (dips, smoothies, dressings, etc). Fage Greek Yogurt comes in the general sizes, and it uses a two percent milk for production. Fage is a Greek dairy company, based in Athens, Greece, and was founded in 1926. It is a fairly small company, as far a dairies go, employing around 1200 people. Fage prides itself in providing a product with a consistent taste and long shelf life. Fage yogurt comes in a variety of flavors, in addition to plain.
Chobani is a United States dairy company that focuses on manufacturing Greek yogurt. In addition to being an official sponsor the the 2012 Olympic games, Chobani is in the process of building a new manufacturing plant in Twin Falls, Idaho, which will be the biggest yogurt-producing plant in the United States. Chobani is the number one selling Greek yogurt in the United States. Chobani Greek yogurt has a very sour taste, but its consistency and texture is silky smooth. It can mix well into sauces and dips, or be used as a very healthy alternative to sour cream. Chobani offers a fat-free yogurt.
Cabot Greek is a yogurt on sale in the United States through the company Cabot Creamery Cooperative, which is a Vermont dairy that has been owned by dairy farmers since 1919. In addition to cheeses and milk, Cabot Creamery Cooperative offers a Greek-style yogurt, which has a very tart but pleasant flavor, works as a good alternative to sour cream. It can also be used in sauces and as various condiments, as a rub, and in baking. In addition to plain flavor, Cabot Greek also comes in Lowfat Plain, Lowfat Blueberry, Lowfat Vanilla Bean, and Lowfat Strawberry. The lowfat yogurts are made from 2% milk.
Dannon Oikos bills itself as possibly the best yogurt in the world. The berry versions of Dannon Oikos nonfat yogurt beat Chobani two to one in a national taste test. It is a very tart yogurt that works as an alternative to sour cream. It is an excellent base for dips and sauces, and can work as a sort of marinade when used as a rub. Dannon Oikos yogurt comes in single serving sizes, as well as larger, more cost effective sizes. Oikos also offers an organic yogurt, a nonfat yogurt, and a lowfat yogurt, which are all available in different serving sizes.
The Greek Gods yogurt is a traditional yogurt that can be added to smoothies and cereals for breakfast, or curries and dips for dinner and snack. It is a strained yogurt made from cow’s and goat’s milk, with a higher fat content than other strained Greek yogurts on the market. This helps to create a rich, thick yogurt that has a pleasant tang and smooth texture. The Greek Gods yogurt is available in Plain, plain non-fat, honey, honey strawberry, vanilla honey, and honey blueberry. The Greek Gods yogurt is available in single servings, or larger family sizes. This rounds off the top 5 Greek yogurt brands.