A Yogurt Bag as a Cheesecloth Alternative for Making Greek Yogurt
Sneak Preview: A yogurt bag or pouch made of nylon can strain large batches, clean up quickly, and allow manipulation for faster straining when making Greek yogurt.
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Why should you buy something else to strain yogurt? Perhaps you’ve already spent good money on a fine-mesh colander, tracked down a large box of commercial coffee filters, or have plenty of cheesecloth to strain yogurt. I understand. I have used all of these methods at one time or another.
I’m always looking for ways to do things more efficiently, cheaply, or faster. So when it comes to straining yogurt, I got this idea of a yogurt bag or pouch from one of my readers.
A while back, I received an email from Wendy. She designed a new way to strain yogurt and offered to send me a free one to try. Unfortunately, I don’t typically accept freebies. So I bought one with my own money so I could freely give my honest opinion.
A Portion of the Letter From Wendy:
So, I had an idea to make my own reusable fabric yogurt strainer. First, I experimented with many batches of yogurt and how best to strain it; second, I designed and sewed the pattern for the original prototype; then, I made more Greek yogurt and tweaked the design; and finally, I spent a year figuring out how to brand my new product and bring it to market.
This prompted me to think, “There HAS to be an easier way.” Cheesecloth is too messy. Urn-style coffee filters were too large to store or I needed to use several of them at a time.
Wendy’s Brilliant Idea
So, I had an idea to make my own reusable fabric yogurt strainer. First, I experimented with many batches of yogurt and how best to strain it; second, I designed and sewed the pattern for the original prototype; then, I made more Greek yogurt and tweaked the design; and finally, I spent a year figuring out how to brand my new product and bring it to market.Wendy
The result was the Kleynhuis Greek Yogurt Strainer Pouch. Check out her website here.
(The pictures below are mine.)
How to use the Kleynhuis Greek Yogurt Pouch:
1. After filling the yogurt bag with regular yogurt, cinch it with the cute little orange fastener.
If you have filled the pouch with a maximum of 1 gallon of yogurt, it will need to drain for 15-20 minutes before you will be able to cinch it.
2. Hang the straining bag from an upper cabinet handle, so the bag is not touching the surface of the colander or bowl collecting whey.
Although unnecessary, I remove the colander to get it out of the way and have one less thing to wash.
3. Want to speed up the straining process?
You can manually squeeze whey out of yogurt when you are in a hurry. Hold the cinched bag at the top with one hand (I don surgical gloves for this) and use the other hand to twist the pouch tightly and apply pressure simultaneously.
4. After your yogurt has reached the desired thickness, do this:
Turn the yogurt bag inside out to dump the contents into an empty bowl. Add preferred sweetener/sugar and flavorings. Whip with a whisk if you like your yogurt to be silky smooth.
How does this compare to cheesecloth, fine-mesh strainers, coffee filters, or nut bags?
8 Advantages of the Yogurt Bag Over Other Methods
1. The pouch is wide enough at the top (16 inches) to fit over most household colanders.
The bag will hold an entire gallon of yogurt. It’s helpful if your colander is also gallon-sized if you intend to fill the pouch.
Kitchen secret: If you have a salad spinner, you can use the colander inside to strain yogurt.
2. You won’t need extra hands to hold the bag open since the cinch around the colander is holding it open.
3. The nylon fabric is made of 100-micron ultra-fine mesh.
According to Amazon, the pouch is FDA food-grade certified and BPA-free.
Did I mention it?
A matching pouch made of organic cotton is available to buy if you would prefer that over nylon. The price is the same. (I have not personally tried it.)
4. The rounded shape means no pesky corners to clean.
Speaking of pesky annoyances, I especially like how all the seams are cleverly sewn to the outside to prevent yogurt solids from hiding in the creases.
5. Small bits of yogurt easily fall off the fine-textured nylon fabric
The more whey you drain off, the easier it is to clean up, no matter which system you use.
6. The yogurt straining pouch is less trouble to rinse and clean than cheesecloth or fine-mesh strainer
Admittedly, nothing beats a coffee filter for convenience. Nonetheless, you have to store them (usually have to buy filters in bulk) and clean the colander that holds them. In addition, some people prefer to minimize the use of disposable products, which is a disadvantage.
On the other hand, the yogurt pouch is easy to clean and reuse, presumably hundreds of times.
How to clean the pouch:
Rinse the used nylon pouch at your kitchen sink with a small amount of dish soap and rub it between your hands until clean. Squeeze out excess moisture. Hang the bag over the faucet until it no longer drips. Then hang it from a cabinet knob. The bag dries in less than an hour. Occasionally, I run it through the washer when convenient.
Compare to cleaning and drying cheesecloth (it takes forever to dry). Even a fine-mesh colander can be a pain to wash. Running it through the dishwasher is easy but requires a lot of space that always seems in short supply at my house.
7. The fine texture of the cloth allows fewer milk solids to leak through.
The pouch gives a clean strain if your yogurt has set successfully and does not resemble milk or drinkable yogurt. It does the job as well as paper coffee filters and is better than cheesecloth or a fine-mesh strainer.
A word of warning: Manually squeezing the yogurt pouch will result in a slightly cloudy whey. I can live with it.
8. You can speed up the straining process with manual manipulation.
I know I already mentioned this earlier, but this point is what sealed the deal for me.
If you want incredibly thick Skyr or Icelandic yogurt, straining can take up to 6 hours. YIKES! Furthermore, you can’t rush the straining process with coffee filters or fine-mesh colanders. There’s no way to use pressure.
But with the Kleynhuis Greek Yogurt Pouch, you can reduce straining time with “manual encouragement” if you want or need to. It is not necessary, however. If you missed it, see the picture of this process earlier in the post.
The bottom line?
After trying the Kleynhuis nylon pouch, I ordered two because I make 1-1/2 gallons of yogurt once a week, every week. Ultimately, ease of clean-up and the ability to strain faster when I want to will win me over every time. In addition, the price is not prohibitive ($14 each), and the product performs as promised.
Wendy, thank you for inventing this super-cool product. You can read more helpful reviews from happy customers here.
(On the off chance that you landed here and haven’t figured out the best way to make yogurt in your kitchen yet, take a look at my video about making yogurt, then keep reading.)
Q and A About Straining Yogurt
Question: Why strain yogurt down to a minimum of 50% of the original volume?
Answer: We prefer flavored yogurt. Adding additional flavored liquid thins the strained yogurt. It follows that straining as much whey as possible keeps the yogurt from becoming too thin after adding fruit purée or coffee concentrate (my current favorite add-ins.)
Our best-loved add-in is heavy cream, along with a bit of vanilla bean paste and erythritol for low-carb sweetness. It’s a rare treat!!!
Question: How does straining yogurt affect the flavor?
Answer: Straining off large amounts of whey will give your yogurt a milder flavor profile–just my observation. The tanginess of homemade yogurt can be affected by a million different factors, or so it seems. But this one is relatively predictable.
Question: My homemade yogurt turns out thick without straining. Why do I need this?
Answer: You probably don’t. You are eating standard, traditional yogurt, and that’s great if that’s what you prefer.
Greek or Icelandic yogurt is traditionally made by straining off a certain percentage of the whey to make it thicker. (I don’t recommend adding any thickener like some commercial companies do to save money. Always check the label when buying Greek yogurt at the supermarket.)
Do you have more yogurt questions?
See these FAQ’s about making yogurt for more help.
If you have questions or suggestions, email me privately for a quick answer: Paula at saladinajar.com. Hope to see you again soon!
Paula Rhodes, author
I’m a retired home economist, wife, mother, grandmother, and creator of Saladinajar.com. I believe you don’t have to be a chef to find joy in creating homemade food worth sharing. Here you’ll find time-saving tips, troubleshooting advice, and confidence-inspiring recipes to make life in the kitchen more fun, appetizing, and satisfying.