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Strained yogurt

"Greek yogurt" redirects here. For the use of strained yogurt in Greece, see § Greece.

Strained yogurt
Strained yogurt with olive oil
Alternative names chak(k)a, Greek yogurt, labneh, suzma, yogurt cheese
Type Yogurt
Place of origin Middle East or Central Asia
Region or state West, South, and Central Asia; Southeastern Europe
Main ingredients Yogurt
Food energy
(per serving)
457 kJ (109 kcal) per 100 g[1] kcal
16x16px Cookbook:Strained yogurt  16x16px Strained yogurt

Strained yogurt, Greek yogurt,[2] yogurt cheese, labneh (Arabic: لبنةlabnah), is yogurt which has been strained to remove its whey, resulting in a relatively thick consistency (between that of conventional yogurt and cheese), while preserving yogurt's distinctive, sour taste. Like many types of yogurt, strained yogurt is often made from milk that has been enriched by boiling off some of its water content, and/or by adding extra butterfat and powdered milk.

Strained yogurt is sometimes marketed in North America and Britain as "Greek yogurt", though strained yogurt is also traditional food in Levantine, Eastern Mediterranean, Near Eastern, Central Asian and South Asian cuisines, wherein it is often used in cooking (as it is high enough in fat content to avoid curdling at higher temperatures). Such dishes may be cooked or raw, savory, or sweet. Due to the straining process to remove excess whey, even non-fat varieties of strained yogurt are much thicker, richer, and creamier than the conventional/unstrained yogurts.[citation needed]

In western Europe and the US, strained yogurt has seen rapidly expanding popularity due to a much richer texture (and to a lesser extent, much higher protein content) than unstrained yogurt. Since the straining process removes some of the lactose, strained yogurt is also lower in sugar/carbohydrates than unstrained yogurt, which may appeal to those engaged in low-carbohydrate diets.[3] It may be strained in a cloth or paper bag or filter.[citation needed]

Most of the recent growth in the $4.1 billion US yogurt industry has come from the strained yogurt sub-segment, sometimes marketed as "Greek yogurt".[4][5] "Greek-style" yogurt is similar to strained yogurt, but may be thickened with thickening agents,[6] or if made the traditional way, is made from domestic (rather than Greek) milk.[7]


Strained yogurt contains essentially 100% casein protein, as the more immediate nutrient rich whey protein is removed with the whey.[8][9][10][11]


File:Մածունը քամելիս.JPG
Yogurt being strained through a cheesecloth


In Armenia, strained yogurt is referred to as kamats matzoon. Traditionally, it was produced for long-term preservation by draining matzoon in cloth sacks. Afterwards it was stored in leather sacks or clay pots for a month or more depending on the degree of salting.[12]

Central Asia

In the cuisines of many Iranian and Turkic peoples (e.g. in Azerbaijani, Afghan, Tatar, Tajik, Uzbek, and other Central Asian cuisines), a type of strained yogurt called chak(k)a[13][14] or suzma (Turkmen: süzme, Azerbaijani: süzmə, Kazakh: сүзбe, Kyrgyz: сүзмө, Uzbek: suzma, Uyghur: сүзма‎)[14] is consumed. It is obtained by draining qatiq, a local yogurt variety. By further drying it, one obtains qurut, a kind of dry fresh cheese.[14]


As in Greece, strained yogurt is widely used in Cypriot cuisine both as an ingredient in recipes as well as on its own or as a supplement to a dish. In Cyprus, strained yogurt is usually made from sheep's milk.[citation needed]


Strained yogurt ("στραγγιστό γιαούρτι" straggistó giaoúrti in Greek) is used in Greek food mostly as the base for tzatziki dip and as a dessert, with honey, sour cherry syrup, or spoon sweets often served on top. A few savoury Greek dishes use strained yogurt. In Greece, strained yogurt, like yogurt in general, is traditionally made from sheep's milk. Fage began straining cows milk yogurt for industrial production in Greece in the 1975, which is when its launched its brand "Total".[15]

Indian Subcontinent

A disposable clay pot with "dahi"

In the Indian Subcontinent, regular unstrained yogurt (dahi or curd), made from cow or water buffalo milk, it is often sold in disposable clay bowls called kulhar (Hindi-Urdu: कुल्हड़ or کلہڑ / Sinhalese: මී කිරි) . Kept for a couple of hours in its clay pot, some of the water evaporates through the unfired clay's pores. It also cools the curd due to evaporation. But true strained yogurt is made by draining dahi in a cloth.

Shrikhand is an Indian dessert (often eaten with poori) made with strained yogurt and sugar, saffron, cardamom, diced fruit and nuts mixed in. It is particularly popular in the state of Gujarat and Maharashtra, where dairy producers market shrikhand similar to ice cream. In Pashtun-dominated regions of Pakistan a strained yogurt known as chaka is often consumed with rice and meat dishes.[citation needed]

Middle East

Labneh (also known as labni, lebni or zabedi) is popular in the Levant and the Arabian Peninsula. Besides being used fresh, labneh is also dried then formed into balls, sometimes covered with herbs or spices, and stored in olive oil. Labneh is a popular mezze dish and sandwich ingredient. The flavour depends largely on the sort of milk used: labneh from cow's milk has a rather mild flavour. Also the quality of olive oil topping influences the taste of labneh. Milk from camels and other animals is used in labneh production in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries.

Bedouin also produce a dry, hard labneh (labaneh malboudeh, similar to Central Asian qurut) that can be stored. Strained labneh is pressed in cheese cloth between two heavy stones and later sun dried. This dry labneh is often eaten with khubz (Arabic bread), in which both khubz and labneh are mixed with water, animal fat, and salt, and rolled into balls.

In Syria and Lebanon, labneh is made by straining the liquid out of yogurt until it takes on a consistency similar to a soft cheese. It tastes like tart sour cream or heavy strained yogurt and is a common breakfast dip.[16] It is usually eaten in a fashion similar to hummus, spread on a plate and drizzled with olive oil and often, dried mint.

Labneh is also the main ingredient in jameed, which is in turn used in mansaf, the national dish of Jordan.

Labneh is commonly consumed by both Jewish and Arab Israelis, often with pita and za'atar, or dried hyssop. It can also be purchased in the form of small white balls immersed in olive oil.[16]

Labneh is a common breakfast food among Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Labaneh bil zayit, "labaneh in oil", consists of small balls of dry labneh kept under oil, where it can be preserved for over a year. As it ages it turns more sour.

Strained yogurt in Iran is called mâst chekide and is usually used for making dips, or served as a side dish. In Northern Iran, mâst chekide is a variety of kefir with a distinct sour taste. It is usually mixed with fresh herbs in a pesto-like purée called delal. Yogurt is a side dish to all Iranian meals. Strained yogurt is used as dips and various appetizers with multitudes of ingredients: cucumbers, onions, shallots, fresh herbs (dill, spearmint, parsley, cilantro), spinach, walnuts, zereshk, garlic, etc. The most popular appetizers are spinach or eggplant borani, ‘’Mâst-o-Khiâr’’ with cucumber, spring onions and herbs, or ‘’Mâst-Musir’’ with wild shallots.

In Egypt, strained and unstrained yogurt is called "zabadi" ("laban" meaning "milk" in Egyptian Arabic). It is eaten with savoury accompaniments such as olives and oil, and also with a sweetener such as honey, as a snack or breakfast food.

North America

Strained yogurt (often marketed as "Greek yogurt") has become popular in the United States and Canada,[3] where it is often used as a lower-calorie substitute for sour cream or crème fraîche.[17]

"Greek yogurt" brands in North America include Chobani, Dannon Oikos, FAGE, Olympus, Stonyfield organic Oikos, Yoplait and Voskos. FAGE began importing their Greek products in 1998 and opened a domestic production plant in Johnstown, New York, in 2008.[5] Chobani, based in New Berlin, New York, began marketing their Greek-style yogurt in 2007. The Voskos brand entered the US market in 2009 with imported Greek yogurt products at 10%, 2%, and 0% milkfat.[7] Stonyfield Farms, owned by Groupe Danone, introduced Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt in 2007; Danone began marketing a non-organic Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt in 2011 and also produced a now discontinued blended Greek-style yogurt under the Activia Selects brand;[6] Dannon Light & Fit Greek nonfat yogurt was introduced in 2012 and boasts being the lightest Greek yogurt with fruit,[18] and Activia Greek yogurt was re-introduced in 2013.[19] General Mills introduced a Greek-style yogurt under the Yoplait brand name in early 2010 which was discontinued and replaced by Yoplait Greek 100 in August 2012.[20] Activia Greek yogurt was re-introduced in 2013, and in July 2012 took over US distribution and sales of Canadian Liberté’s Greek brands. In Canada, Yoplait was launched in January 2013, and is packaged with toppings.[21]


Strained yogurt is called jocoque seco in Mexico. It was popularised by local producers of Lebanese origin and is widely popular in the country. The name jocoque is Nahuatl, and is used for an indigenous cultured milk product similar to sour cream but with less fat content and still with beneficial bacteria.[22]

Northern Europe

Strained yogurt, in full-, low-, and no-fat versions, has become popular in northern European cookery as a low-calorie alternative to cream in recipes. It is typically marketed as "Greek" or "Turkish" yogurt.

In Denmark, a type of strained yogurt named ymer is available. In contrast to the Greek and Turkish variety, only a minor amount of whey is drained off in the production process.[23] Ymer is traditionally consumed with the addition of ymerdrys (lit. Danish: ymer sprinkle), a mixture of bread crumbs made from rye bread (rugbrød) and brown sugar. Like other types of soured dairy products, ymer is often consumed at breakfast. Strained yogurt topped with muesli and maple syrup is often served at brunch in cafés in Denmark.

In the Netherlands, strained yogurt is known as hangop, literally meaning 'hang up'. It is a traditional dessert. Hangop may also be made using buttermilk.


File:Turkish yoghurt 10% fat.jpg
Unstirred Turkish Süzme Yoğurt (strained yogurt), with a 10% fat content

In Turkey, strained yogurt is known as süzme yoğurt[24] ("strained yogurt") or kese yoğurdu ("bag yogurt").[25] Water is sometimes added to it in the preparation of cacık, when this is not eaten as a meze but consumed as a beverage. Strained yogurt is used in Turkish mezzes and dips such as haydari.[26]

In Turkish markets, labne is also a popular dairy product but it is different from strained yogurt; it is yogurt-based creamy cheese without salt, and is used like mascarpone.[27]

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom strained yogurt can only be marketed as "Greek" if made in Greece; as there are other producers of strained yogurt. Strained cows'-milk yogurt not made in Greece is typically sold as "Greek Style" or "Greek Recipe" for marketing reasons, at lower prices than imported yogurt. Among strained yogurts there is no distinction between those thickened by straining and those thickened through additives.[citation needed]

In September 2012 Chobani UK Ltd. began to sell yogurt made in the United States as "Greek Yogurt". FAGE, a company that manufactures yogurt in Greece and sells it in the UK, filed a passing-off claim against Chobani in the UK High Court, claiming that UK consumers understood "Greek" to refer to the country of origin (similar to "Belgian Beer"); Chobani's position was that consumers understood "Greek" to refer to a preparation (similar to "French Toast"). Both companies relied on surveys to prove their point. Ultimately Mr Justice Briggs found in favor of FAGE and granted an injunction preventing Chobani from using the name "Greek Yogurt".[28] In February 2014 this decision was upheld on appeal.[29][30] Chobani said that they would make strained yogurt in the UK, but gave no indication of name.[31]

Production issues

The characteristic thick texture and high protein content are achieved through either or both of two processing steps. The milk may be concentrated by ultrafiltration to remove a portion of the water before addition of yogurt cultures.[32] Alternatively, after culturing, the yogurt may be centrifuged or membrane-filtered to remove whey, in a process analogous to the traditional straining step. Brands described as "strained" yogurt, including Activia Greek, Chobani, Dannon Light & Fit Greek, Dannon Oikos, FAGE, Stonyfield Organic Oikos, Trader Joe's, and Yoplait, and have undergone the second process. Process details are highly guarded trade secrets. Other brands of Greek-style yogurt, including Yoplait and some store brands, are made by adding milk protein concentrate and thickeners[33] to standard yogurt to boost the protein content and modify the texture.[32]

The liquid resulting from straining yogurt is called "acid whey" and is composed of water, yogurt cultures, protein, a slight amount of lactose, and lactic acid. It is difficult to dispose of.[34][35][36] Farmers have used the whey to mix with animal feed and fertilizer. Using anaerobic digesters, it can be a source of methane that can be used to produce electricity.[37]

See also


  1. ^ Sütlü Besinler Kalori Cetveli. Sütaş Dairy Products (in Turkish)
  2. ^ Davidson, Alan (2014). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. p. 239. ISBN 9780191040726. It should also be noted that sheep's or goat's milk yoghurt, or strained yoghurt often called 'Greek', are more stable than plain yoghurt. 
  3. ^ a b "Is Greek Yogurt Better Than Regular?". Mother Jones. Retrieved 2010-11-07. 
  4. ^ Associated Press (January 22, 2012). "Greek yogurt on a marathon-like growth spur". Wall Street Journal. 
  5. ^ a b Neuman, William (January 12, 2012). "Greek Yogurt a Boon for New York State". The New York Times. 
  6. ^ a b "Greek Yogurt Wars: The High-Tech Shortcuts vs. The Purists". theKitchn. Retrieved January 24, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Sun Valley Dairy. "Greek Yogurt". Voskos. Retrieved March 3, 2008. 
  8. ^ "Whey vs. casein protein - Nutrition Express Articles". Nutrition Express. 
  9. ^ Bart Pennings. "Whey protein stimulates postprandial muscle protein accretion more effectively than do casein and casein hydrolysate in older men". 
  10. ^ "Ingestion of whey hydrolysate, casein, or soy protein isolate: effects on mixed muscle protein synthesis at rest and following resistance exercise in young men". 
  11. ^ "Bovine milk in human nutrition – a review". 
  12. ^ С. А. Арутюнов, Т. А. Воронина. Традиционная пища как выражение этнического самосознания, стр. 120—125. Наука, 2001 (S. A. Arutyunov, T. A. Voronina. Traditional Food as an Expression of Ethnic Self-Consciousness, pp. 120-125. Nauka publishers, 2001; in Russian)
  13. ^ Meyer, Arthur L.; Jon M. Vann (2003). The Appetizer Atlas: A World of Small Bites. John Wiley. p. 348. ISBN 9780471411024. 
  14. ^ a b c Похлебкин, Вильям Васильевич (2005). Большая энциклопедия кулинарного искусства (in Russian). Centrpoligraph. ISBN 5-9524-0274-7. 
  15. ^ Daphne Zepos. Greek Gastronomy. Kerasma, accessed on 2013-01-24
  16. ^ a b Debra Kamin. Tourist tip #242:Labheh. Haaretz
  17. ^ Barbara Fairchild. Bon Appetit Desserts: The Cookbook for All Things Sweet and Wonderful, p. 8. Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2010
  18. ^ Dannon Wants To Help Operators Get Growing With Greek Yogurt. Dannon via PerishableNews, 6 February 2013
  19. ^ Dannon Introduces New Activia Greek. Dannon via Yahoo finance, 29 April 2013
  20. ^ Yoplait Introduces New, 100-Calorie Greek Yogurt. Yoplait via Business Wire, 08 August 2012
  21. ^ Tim Shufelt. Canada goes Greek, "Yogurt wars get serious". Canadian Business, 23 August 2012
  22. ^ Abraham Villegas de Gante. El Jocoque: Un Lácteo Fermentado Revalorizable
  23. ^ "Syrnede produkter" (in Danish). Arla Foods Corporation. 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-12. 
  24. ^
  25. ^ Süzme Yoğurt. Food Technology, MEGEP, Turkish Ministry of Education, 2007 (in Turkish)
  26. ^ Elizabeth Taviloglu. Haydari - Meze with Strained Yogurt, Garlic And Herbs. Turkish Food
  27. ^ Pınar Labaneh. Pinar, Yaşar Group
  28. ^ "Fage UK Ltd & Anor v Chobani UK Ltd & Anor [2013] EWHC 630 (Ch) (26 March 2013)". 
  29. ^ "Fage UK Ltd & Anor v Chobani UK Ltd & Anor [2014] EWCA Civ 5 (28 January 2014)". 
  30. ^ Ben Bouckley. Dairy reporter "Chobani gets Fage fright, loses Greek Yogurt appeal". DairyReporter, 28 January 2014
  31. ^ "Chobani". 
  32. ^ a b Gelski, Jeff (April 4, 2011). "My big, thick Greek yogurt: protein, straining methods affect texture". FoodBusinessNews. 
  33. ^ Scott-Thomas, Caroline (June 23, 2011). "National Starch develops ingredient for no strain Greek yogurt". Foodnavigator-USA. 
  34. ^ "Greek yogurt waste 'acid whey' a concern for USDA: Jones Laffin". 
  35. ^ Environmental Leader. "Yogurt Companies Face Whey Disposal Problem". Environmental Leader. 
  36. ^ "Chobani, Dannon attempt to defuse Greek yogurt ‘acid whey’ concerns". 
  37. ^ "Whey Too Much: Greek Yogurt’s Dark Side". Modern Farmer. May 22, 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2013. 

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