Preview: A beginner’s guide to Icelandic Yogurt — Find out what it is and learn how to make it at home. Detailed pictures included.
Do you have to have something a little sweet to signal the end of your meal? Me, too. We eat Icelandic yogurt for dessert almost every night at our house. It’s rich, creamy, high-protein and so filling. No midnight snack needed!
This guide to Icelandic yogurt includes answers to your questions and instructions for making it yourself at home. If you want to know more about this cousin of Greek yogurt, keep reading.
Here’s the scoop on Icelandic yogurt:
Icelandic yogurt, also know as Skyr, is a popular style of yogurt originating from Iceland. According to the Icelandic Provisions (a commercial brand available locally) carton, “it has been enjoyed for centuries in Iceland.”
They describe it as “a combination of milk and cultures that is rich and creamy…simplicity on a spoon.”
On a side note, low-fat milk is listed as the first ingredient on the Icelandic Provisions container.
Another popular brand called Siggi’s lists pasteurized skim milk as the first ingredient.
What’s this about rennet?
Neither brand lists rennet, a thickener. Although rennet is advocated by some, I have it on good authority (an email from a company that makes this stuff commercially) that rennet is not necessary if your live cultures are plentiful and active.
Skyr is thicker than Greek yogurt and contains a higher level of protein than other yogurts. This makes sense when you consider it takes 4 cups of milk to make one cup of Skyr.
Traditionally, Greek yogurt requires 2 cups of milk to make one cup of yogurt.
Want to try making it yourself?
Since I love to make yogurt, and I like to save money, I decided to try making Skyr at home. (I’ve been making Greek yogurt and answering your questions about it for the last 10 years on this blog.)
If you want to try making it for yourself, check out my method below. Compare it to others online, and I think you’ll find this method easier and less complicated than most.
Maybe you’re not like me, but I find I won’t make something very often if it’s too involved. Of course, the first few attempts may take longer until you get your system figured out. But in my opinion, it’s so worth it.
4 random observations about making Icelandic yogurt
1. You can use skim, 2% or whole milk to make Icelandic yogurt.
The fat adds creaminess. So does whipping the final product (optional) and/or adding a bit of heavy cream.
Go ahead and take it into ice-cream-like territory with some sweetness if you want. A few colorful sprinkles might even convert the kids in your life.
2. When using milk with increased solids…
Braums (and probably others I’m not aware of) uses a special evaporative technique to increase the solids in their lower-fat milk. This causes their milk to be higher-protein and better-tasting right out of the carton.
Consequently, it will be difficult to strain this yogurt down to 1/2 of the original volume because of more solids. No worries.
Even if you get it down to 1/3 of the original volume, it will be very thick and totally delicious.
3. Which brand of starter should I use?
I purchased Siggi’s plain yogurt as a starter for one batch and Icelandic Provisions Skyr for the other. Both batches turned out similar with only the slightest difference in tartness. The particular strain of cultures used in each brand is listed on their respective cartons. Interestingly, they are different.
Which starter you use is not as important as how fresh it is. That’s why the best starter is often the fresh yogurt you make yourself. Of course, you won’t have that available in the beginning.
Note: You can use either Greek yogurt or regular yogurt as a starter so long as it is fresh and has no additives.
4. Why is my yogurt too tart (or too mild?)
Some people consider Icelandic yogurt more tart than Greek yogurt. My experience is that it is milder than Greek or regular yogurt. Although many people prefer a sour taste, I like a milder yogurt with less tartness.
The “tartness” of any homemade yogurt can be affected by the length of incubation and type of milk used.
I go for the shortest incubation period possible that still produces a firm product. Mine usually takes about 4-5 hours to set.
I strain it on my kitchen counter for about 3-5 hours using a Kleynhuis yogurt bag as seen in the picture below. The yogurt is perfectly safe at room temperature for several hours because of the acid content.
My yogurt turned out similar to what I have always called yogurt cheese. As you can see in the picture below, 2 quarts of milk reduced down to a generous 2 cups of yogurt and lots of whey.
If you’re wondering what to do with all that whey, see this post for 18 ways to use yogurt whey.
- Icelandic yogurt is more filling/satisfying because it’s more concentrated!
- Speaking of treats, try some Icelandic yogurt mixed with a small serving of Halo ice cream (our new fave) or any ice cream for that matter. I think it tastes like soft-serve frozen yogurt.
- For the record, both brands of commercial yogurt I purchased claim 17 grams of protein, 6 carbs, and approximately 100 calories in a 5.3-ounce serving. I’m assuming the stats on my homemade Icelandic yogurt are similar.
How to make Icelandic yogurt at home:
Posts Related to Icelandic Yogurt:
- How To Make Healthy Homemade Greek Yogurt
- Five Things You Should Not Do When Making Homemade Yogurt
- Can I Use Whey Left Over From Straining Yogurt to Make More Yogurt?
- Cold Start Yogurt with or Without an Instant Pot
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Hope to see you again soon!
p.s. If you have any questions or suggestions, you can email me privately: paula at saladinajar.com.