I finally have that healthy intestinal flora I've been dreaming of
March 14, 2005 1:44 PM   Subscribe

Based on this thread, I have overcome my lifelong hatred of yogurt, and eat it daily. What do I do now?

I'm interested in what, if any, are the differences in the brands. Is organic any better? What's all this I hear about wheat germ? Should I add this, or something else to my yougurt? I'm totally cool with experimenting to make it a healthier snack.
posted by grateful to Food & Drink (28 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You can use yogurt to replace milk in your cereal [but not your coffee], sour cream in your burrito and [sometimes] mayo in whatever people eat mayo with. Be aware that the fruity-snacky kinds of yogurt can still have a ton of added sugar, and most yogurts are high in sugar/carbs which is not a huge deal, but worth being aware of. I go for Cabot plain yogurt to support the local folks or the Stonyfield Farms plain organic. I get the big tubs because it's much cheaper per oz. and it encourages me to use it more.

I usually eat yogurt in the morning with either boxed cereal, fresh fruit, home made granola, chopped/toasted nuts [walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts] and some maple syrup or, yes, wheat germ [which is also great in applesauce with a little honey]. You can also make an awesome sauce for burgers/gyros/whatever called tzatziki. You can also use it as a salad dressing such as this yogurt dill dressing.
posted by jessamyn at 1:53 PM on March 14, 2005 [1 favorite]

I've never really been into yogurt, but my girlfriend introduced me to kefir (a drinkable yogurt) and I'm hooked.
posted by spaghetti at 1:53 PM on March 14, 2005

When a recipe calls for sour cream; substitute plain yogurt, less fat.

Shake the yogurt container up, place in freezer until frozen, then eat.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:56 PM on March 14, 2005

Oh yeah, I also really like plain yogurt with Morningstar Farms vegetarian buffalo wings...tasty stuff. Really anything spicy is nice with yogurt.

Jessamyn: I once put some yogurt in my coffee when I was out of milk and a strange substance emerged. Do you know why it does that?
posted by spaghetti at 1:57 PM on March 14, 2005

At home we used to have a yoghurt making machine that we used to make a variety of healthy, customised yoghurts. Much better than anything you can get in a shop :)

First link in amazon
posted by gaby at 1:58 PM on March 14, 2005

1. Kefir is indeed fantastic. Drink lots.

2. I really, really, love the Stonyfield Farms' unhomogenized yogurt (with cream on top). I like the whole milk variety which doesn't do much for you in terms of body-fat-health, but it buys a priceless amount of psychological well-being for me. I go through 4 pounds of it a week, easy.

3. I feel awkward bringing this up in MetaFilter, but pancakes made with (Stonyfield's whole milk vanilla) yogurt and pretty much the best pancakes ever.
posted by Wolfdog at 2:05 PM on March 14, 2005

I have the yogurt maker gaby linked to, and it works very well. The taste is much better than any store brand, and you can vary the tartness from batch to batch. I make it in widemouth quart canning jars instead of the container it comes with, and add mixing right into the jar when it's done. That way, I can have several batches in the fridge at once, with their proper screw-top lids.
posted by ewagoner at 2:06 PM on March 14, 2005

Best answer: If you can stand the extra calories, check out the awesome decadent deliciousness of cream top yogurt (I like Brown Cow.)

I skip most of the flavored yogurts -- they make them too sweet for my taste. If I want flavored yogurt, I swirl a spoonful of jam into plain yogurt. Or if I want plain, but sweeter yogurt, I squeeze a little honey in.

Check Middle Eastern, Greek, and Indian cuisines for how to cook with yogurt. It makes a fantastic marinade, as well as being the base of many sauces.

Homemade granola (with wheat germ,) fresh fruit, and good yogurt is a ridiculously tasty breakfast. And so healthy that you can do a little sinning on the side for free.
posted by desuetude at 2:09 PM on March 14, 2005

Best answer: I like Columbo brand yogurt, because it has the fewest calories/cup of any brand my supermarket carries (the plain yogurt all tastes more or less alike to me, though I like the firmer yogurts better).

Anyway, Columbo brand plain yogurt. I don't buy fruit-on-the-bottom because even though it's delicious, it has an extra 150 calories. I add a table spoon of jam (35 cals) to make my own fruit-on-the-bottom. In addition, I add vanilla extract (vanilla yogurt has 50 more calories than plain...I suspect they also add sugar).

So that's the base...In addition I like to add raisons, and something crunchy. Choose from: sunflower seeds, walnets, grapenuts cereal, wheat germ, granola, or similar things.

Fresh berries...yummy.

And of course, lots of recipes use yogurt as a partial fat substitute in baking. No-pudge brownies are the classic in this category.
posted by duck at 2:28 PM on March 14, 2005 [1 favorite]

Cream top yogurt is indeed glorious -- rich and creamy and fatty and glorious.

Also glorious: Greek yogurt. I first discovered it in the early '90s in England-- it's basically the consistency of very smooth sour cream and it's just incredible. Plain Greek yogurt with a drizzle honey (and maybe some fresh blueberries or raspberries) is simply sublime. For years I searched fruitlessly for it in the states, but it's now carried at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, etc. TJ's also has it with strawberries.
posted by scody at 2:35 PM on March 14, 2005

I second desuetude. Brown Cow makes a "maple" flavored yogurt that is amazing. It's really more like custard.

Kefir is great. When I was five I punched a stranger mistaking him for my father. He called me a "little f*cker," but when I went back to my parents to tell them what he said, it came out as "little kefir." And that is my yogurt-related amusing family anecdote.

Since commercial yogurters add so much crap, I prefer to buy plain (stonyfield is probably the best) and add my own sweeteners and crunchifiers, my current favorite being a combo of trail mix, banana, and honey.

Also you might want to buy a yogurt maker and brew your own.
posted by pinto at 2:36 PM on March 14, 2005

I eat light, fruit-mixed-in, whatever brand is on sale, yogurt every day. When you buy the fat-free kind, every brand pretty much tastes the same (though for me, Yoplait wins by a fraction).

For some reason, Stonyfield really grosses me out; I keep trying it but can never finish a cup before getting squidgy about it.

Also, a second/third for using plain yogurt in burritos, it's also yummy on baked potatoes.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 2:52 PM on March 14, 2005

I make yogurt without any yogurt maker, right in one of the large containers from the grocery store. My method requires a stove with a pilot light.

I just heat about a quart of milk and 1/4 cup of milk powder to steaming hot (not boiling), whisking it vigorously every now and then. I let it cool to about the temperature I like a nice hot bath to be. Then I put 1/4 cup or so of storebought yogurt (preferably a brand without pectin) or leftovers from the last batch in a little bowl, beat it soundly, and add a little of the warm-hot milk. Then I whisk that, pour it back into the pan with the rest of the milk and whisk it some more. That all gets poured into nice clean quart-sized yogurt container. I put the lid on loosely and put it in my gas oven with just the pilot on for about 5 hours. The result is excellent yogurt. I like to add honey or jam.

Another nice thing you can do with plain yogurt, whether you make it yourself or buy it in a store, is to strain it and make thick greek-style yogurt. I line a colander with a coffee filter, put the yogurt in, put the whole apparatus into a bowl to catch the whey, cover it with a cloth, and put it in the fridge overnight.
posted by redfoxtail at 2:54 PM on March 14, 2005 [1 favorite]

Greek yoghurt, fresh mint, a squeeze of lemon, drizzled over a kebab. Salt and garlic in a pestle and mortar, stirred through Greek yoghurt, sprinkle with toasted cumin seeds, wedges of charred pita bread brushed with olive oil. Fresh figs, Greek yoghurt, a drizzle of warm honey. A couple of tablespoons of store-bought curry paste mixed with a a tub of yoghurt makes an easy marinade for chicken or lamb - just dump and stir, wait, then grill on the barbecue. Labneh. Lassi.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 3:13 PM on March 14, 2005

La Yogurt makes a 'custard style' yogurt that is quite thick, almost like pudding - I find it more satisfying to eat straight out of the container than runny yogurt. I also highly recommend non-fruit flavors like coffee, vanilla, and the maple mentioned above, which tend to be less sweet-tasting than the fruity varieties.
posted by hsoltz at 3:20 PM on March 14, 2005

Stoneyfield's Banilla is tasty, although only available in tubs and probably with lots of extra calories. This thread is making me hungry.
posted by coelecanth at 3:23 PM on March 14, 2005

I second Scody on greek yogurt. Mmmmm. And kefir, too. Mmmm.

I don't love the consistency of Stonyfield. Too runny.

If you have a co-op or farmers markets in your area, there might be a local yogurt to try, too, if you want to support organic/local. For us in Phily its Pequea Valley farms yogurt.

You can drain the yogurt long enough that it gets quite thick and can be used as a substitute for cream cheese. (Flavored however you like, of course.)
posted by desuetude at 4:31 PM on March 14, 2005

Best answer: I get plain non-fat yogurt and plump a cup up with a couple of tablespoons of milled flax seed, fresh or frozen fruit (I was on a blueberry kick for awhile), and a sprinkling of splenda. Usually a full cup of that is sufficient for me for breakfast.
posted by cajo at 4:57 PM on March 14, 2005

Butterworks (out of Vermont somewhere) is by far the best whole milk yoghurt I've found. You can taste the grass the cows were eating. I eat it plain, or with ground flax seed and raisins, or with muslie. I would bathe in it if ...oh, I'm getting weird again.
posted by recurve at 5:26 PM on March 14, 2005

Oh, could some nice home-grown soap maker heed our cry for yogurt-bath? (I'm not exactly sure how this would be different from milk bath, except that it should be more satisfying, as yogurt is more satisfying than mere milk.)
posted by desuetude at 5:31 PM on March 14, 2005

Strained yogurt (also known as Lebneh) is great. Let some yogurt (probably lowfat rather than nonfat is best) strain overnight through a paper coffee filter or cheesecloth so that a lot of the liquid drains out. This makes a delicious breakfast or snack--you can spread it out on a plate, drizzle olive oil over it (don't be stingy), and scoop it up with warm pita bread. Add a bit of fresh mint if you like--it's purely optional. Delicious!
posted by Pattie at 6:01 PM on March 14, 2005

(I see that Obiwanwasabi beat me to this, but it bears repeating!)
posted by Pattie at 6:02 PM on March 14, 2005

Best answer: Breakfast: some plain yogurt, a splash of OJ, some blendable fruit (a banana, peach, some melon, or a handful of strawberries) maybe some protein powder, maybe some crushed ice, blend for a minute.

Salad: 2-3 thin-sliced cucumbers, a squeeze of lemon juice, 1-2 cloves of of crushed garlic, 1/4 cup chopped parsley, 1 cup yogurt, mix and chill. Goes great with black bean ful.
posted by LarryC at 7:41 PM on March 14, 2005 [1 favorite]

Another vote for kefir. There's also a way of making it yourself with a kefir mushroom.
posted by muckster at 8:21 PM on March 14, 2005

I occasionally use plain yogurt as a substitute for heavy cream, like in a soup.

I also like to add it to red sauce and pasta for a creamy flavoring.
posted by quam at 9:34 PM on March 14, 2005

Yoghurt (the flavorless kind) and rice is pretty much a staple diet in South India. Here's a recipe.
posted by dhruva at 11:56 PM on March 14, 2005

If you're interested in yogurt drinks, consider Doogh. The Iranian yogurt-mint drink is fantastic during burning hot summers.
posted by ruelle at 1:34 AM on March 15, 2005

To answer your question re wheat germ, TRY IT! It goes incredibly well with yogurt - I never eat mine without it anymore. It's very high in vitamin E and folic acid, and actually has a fairly high protein content (for being a wheat product). Also, most people who are allergic to wheat are actually able to eat wheat germ. It's fiber-rich and friendly to the digestion, as opposed to many other sources of wheat.

Our MD (who also holds degrees in dermatology, dentistry, acupuncture and homeopathy) swears by wheat germ and uses it whenever possible. Really, try it - it is yummy. Make sure it's the toasted kind.
posted by widdershins at 7:23 AM on March 15, 2005

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