The main difference between Greek yogurt and regular yogurt is the amount of water and whey content. Greek yogurt is made by straining regular yogurt at least three times, thereby removing whey. This makes Greek yogurt thicker and creamier.
In US Greek yogurt has become very popular because of its dense and creamy texture and the fact that it can be substituted in recipes that require sour cream. Cooking with Greek yogurt is easier as it does not curdle as easily as regular yogurt while cooking. The companies that export Greek yogurt to US use a combination of whole milk and cream to get a superior quality and so it has more calories. Diet conscious people need to look for low fat Greek yogurt made with skimmed milk.
What is Regular Yogurt and Greek Yogurt?
Regular Yogurt is a creamy, tangy and sometimes sour diary product which is made by fermenting the milk with bacteria.This culturing process makes it more digestible than milk. It is most commonly used as a breakfast or a dessert item or to complement the meals. It is also used to make dips and sauces, and uses it in baking to replace high-fat ingredients like butter, oil, shortening or sour cream.
Greek Yogurt is thicker and creamier than regular yogurt. Like regular yogurt, it can be consumed raw or used in cooking, baking and as a substitute for sour cream.
What is in Regular and Greek Yogurt?
Cow's milk is most commonly used to make regular yogurt, but milk from water buffalo, goats, sheep, horses, camels, and yaks is also used in various parts of the world. Traditionally Greek yogurt was made by using only sheep’s milk, however now it is also made with cow’s milk.
How to make Regular or Greek Yogurt?
Both regular yogurt and greek yogurt are dairy products made by fermenting the milk with bacteria culture. The bacteria used are Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus and Streptococcus salivarius subsp. Thermophilus. This culture is available in the market for preparing yogurt, alternatively it is also present in yogurt and so an amount of yogurt already made can be added to the milk.
For regular yogurt, the milk is first heated to about 80 °C (176 °F) to kill any undesirable bacteria and to denature the milk proteins. The milk is then cooled to about 45 °C (112 °F). The bacteria culture (also called starter) is added, and the temperature is maintained for 4 to 7 hours to allow fermentation.
The process for making Greek yogurt is same as the above but once the yogurt is made it strained through muslin or cheese cloth or paper bag. All the water, also called whey, strains off. The remaining solid is called Greek Yogurt.
Here are a couple of videos showing how to make greek yogurt and regular yogurt at home:
Benefits of Yogurt
One of the most commonly asked questions is why to eat yogurt and what health benefits it provides. All yogurts are a good source of probiotic, helps prevent yeast infections, overcome lactose tolerance and aid in the digestion of milk proteins. In terms of their nutritional value, regular and greek yogurt vary as follows:
- Protein - Greek yogurt has almost double the protein of regular yogurt.
- Carbohydrates - Greek yogurt has lower content of carbohydrates than regular yogurt.
- Calcium - Regular yogurt has about three times the calcium of Greek yogurt.
- Sodium - Greek yogurt has half the sodium of regular yogurt.
- Calories - Plain, nonfat versions of Greek and regular yogurt have a similar calorie count per serving.
The following video explains the differences between, and the health benefits of, Greek vs. regular yogurt:
Where can you find Greek Yogurt and Regular Yogurt?
Greek yogurts and regular yogurts are available at most grocery stores around the world or can be bought online from many retailers like Amazon.com, Walmart etc.
How much does it cost?
Greek yogurts are more expensive than regular yogurts because of the process of filtering involved. It also requires more amount of milk to produce an amount of greek yogurt equal to that of regular yogurt.
You can find the current prices on Amazon:
Popularity and controversy
The U.S. yogurt market is estimated to be worth $5 billion. Greek yogurt has seen a boom in popularity in recent years. According to the 'Wall Street Journal, Greek yogurt now represents 28% of U.S. yogurt. That number was at 16 percent in 2011 and 3% in 2009. It's estimated to increase to 4% over the next year.
A July 2012 NPR story outlined how some Greek Yogurt manufacturers like Chobani are upset with other manufacturers that are using newer methods to manufacture Greek yogurt. Straining machines are expensive and not available readily so some manufacturers make Greek yogurt by adding starch from corn or tapioca.
As a breakfast item or a snack:
Greek yogurt with fruits and granola
In the main course or as a dessert:
Frozen yogurt with various toppings
A beautiful dessert with Greek Yogurt, pistachio, apples and tarragon
More recipes with Greek Yogurt and Regular Yogurt can be found on Food.com: