for your table
Geeked on Greek America’s new favorite yogurt THINKSTOCK
By Marcy Goldman
AS A CHEF, I’M ALWAYS delighted when a
food craze seems to make enduring sense. I’m
referring, in this case, to thick Greek yogurt.
The product gets kudos across the board,
appealing to mainstream eaters along with
dieters, health-conscious foodies, nutritionists, dietitians, chefs and gourmets.
Greek yogurt’s wide appeal has a lot to do
with its differences from conventional yogurt.
All yogurt is made from introducing healthful bacterial cultures to milk. The mixture is
then heated to slightly reduce and evaporate,
causing the milk to curdle and clot. To even
out the texture, the mixture is strained twice
to make regular yogurt, while Greek-style
yogurt is strained three times, giving it an
extra-thick and luxurious texture. This makes
it great for baking and cooking.
What makes this yogurt “Greek”? First of
all, despite the name, it’s not imported.
Thicker yogurts are common in the Middle
East and the eastern Mediterranean region,
which is likely why Greek yogurt received its
designation. What you really have to be aware
of with yogurt, especially Greek style, is that
the thickness should come from the manufacturing methods and not thickening agents,
which some brands add. How can you know?
Check the ingredient label and make sure it
doesn’t include cornstarch or gelatin.
Greek yogurt is comparatively low in calories and features double the protein and three
times the calcium of regular yogurt, making it
a real bone-building food. It also has somewhat fewer carbohydrates than regular yogurt,
but contains the same digestion-friendly probiotics since it’s made from milk to which certain bacteria cultures have been added.
Still, like regular yogurt, Greek yogurt for-
feits some of its healthy traits if you buy sugar-
laden varieties, eat too much in one sitting or
top it with too much processed brown sugar.
Opt for coconut sugar, honey or maple syrup
instead. When it comes to the sweeter side of
Greek yogurt, easy does it.
You also have a choice of buying low-fat or
fat-free Greek yogurt, which is every bit as rich
as full-fat variations. Since Greek yogurt tastes
ambrosial, fat notwithstanding, opting for the
lower-fat varieties isn’t a sacrifice in taste or
recipe performance. It’s also a perfect swap for
mayonnaise, sour cream or whipping cream in
recipes for dips, soups, casseroles and more.
But aside from the above, what I like
about Greek yogurt is that recipes that call for
buttermilk (which I rarely have on hand) can
be made just as successfully with Greek
yogurt. Being somewhat acidic, Greek yogurt
makes a great marinade base for fish or
chicken, and sublime vinaigrettes and dips.
Similarly, nothing beats a slightly acidic ingredient for upping the leavening in your average
muffin or scone, or in my mellow Greek
Yogurt Banana Bread (see recipe).
Greek yogurt is one trend that will deservedly last a good while. Incorporating it into
your diet makes perfect sense for a healthy
new year. As a
I think it’s a game
changer. As an eater,
I’m up for seconds
any time. C
is a master baker
and cookbook author.
; Greek Yogurt Banana Bread
This neoclassic banana bread has just enough
sweetness, moistness and warm banana flavor
to become your new go-to banana bread. The
best banana breads feature very ripe, spotted-skinned, hand-mashed bananas. Hand-mixing
and slow baking will also result in the best loaf
ever. It freezes well.
3 or 4 bananas
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 tablespoons Greek yogurt
4 tablespoons water, orange juice
or brewed coffee
3 cups all-purpose flour
1¼ teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
Pinch of cinnamon
½ cup milk-chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 F. Stack 2 baking
sheets together and line the top one with
parchment paper. Spray a 9 x 5-inch or 8 x
4-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray
and place on the stacked baking sheets.
In a small bowl, using a fork or potato
masher, hand-mash enough bananas to
make 1 cup, and set aside. In a mixing
bowl, cream together both of the sugars
and the butter until well blended. Add the
eggs, vanilla, Greek yogurt and water, and
blend well. Fold in the bananas, flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and chocolate
chips. Blend well, but don’t beat.
Spoon batter into the loaf pan. Bake 30 minutes and then lower temperature to 300 F
and bake an additional 50 to 70 minutes
until the loaf springs back when lightly
pressed with fingertips. If the loaf seems to
be browning but appears slightly moist in
the center, lower oven temperature to 275 F
and bake 15 minutes longer or until cake is
done, using the fingertip test.
Cool well before slicing. Makes 10 servings.
Healthier banana bread?
If you want to up the nutrition in this recipe, substitute whole-wheat flour for half of
the all-purpose flour. You can also replace
the butter with canola or coconut oil, and
swap out the chocolate chips for raw sunflower seeds or organic raisins.
Recipe courtesy of Marcy Goldman.
The Costco Connection
Kirkland Signature™ Greek Yogurt and a
variety of other brands are available at
your local warehouse.