Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The yogurt aisle...

Morocco has the largest yogurt aisles I have ever seen.  Here, in my regular grocery store, there must be close to 100 different varieties of yogurt products and flavors.

At first glance it looks like a pretty comprehensive collection of yogurt products. There is pomegranate raibi, yogurts mixed with cereal, wonderful flavors such as fig or pistachio and standards such as strawberry and vanilla. There is however, in my humble opinion, one very important item missing... Greek Yogurt.

When we first arrived, time was spent searching this aisle very closely thinking I might be missing it and then wondering why it wasn't available.  Oh how I missed it, the rich and silky texture, the copious amounts of protein... What to do? Well, make it myself of course!

Since moving to Marrakech, I have spent quite a bit of time figuring out how to adapt recipes and create items that we like and want, but that are not readily available. For example, I now make my own sriracha, vanilla extract, candied ginger and even foam dish washing liquid.

For each project, the process is the same. Internet searches provide a plethora of recipes that I read, compare and combine.  I then gather ingredients and materials and start experimenting. Sometimes it goes horribly wrong and sometimes it is amazing. Whatever the turnout, I always have fun and am left with a feeling of accomplishment when the desired product is achieved.

To make Greek Yogurt, the following process has worked well for me. Perhaps you would like to try as well?

1 Liter of milk
2 Tablespoons of prepared yogurt containing live active bacteria
Candy Thermometer
Double Boiler
Pour milk (reserve 2 tablespoons and set aside) into double boiler and heat to 180 degrees. 

While milk is heating, mix the reserved milk with 2 tablespoons of prepared yogurt in a separate bowl.  Once milk reaches 180 degrees, remove from heat and cool to 105 degrees. While milk is cooling turn oven on to warm and turn oven light on.  When milk reaches 105 mix in reserved milk and yogurt mixture and transfer to ceramic or glass bowl.  Cover bowl with kitchen towel.  Turn oven off, but keep oven light on.  Place covered bowl in oven and keep it there for about 8 hours or overnight.

Yogurt should be pretty set. You might have a greenish liquid sitting on top. This is whey and perfectly fine.  Just drain it off.

Place yogurt in refrigerator for about 3 hours to thicken. 

Line strainer with 4 pieces of cheesecloth and place on top of a bowl.  Put yogurt into cheesecloth lined strainer and place back in refrigerator to further drain and thicken, an hour or so should do it. Voila! You have made Greek yogurt.

For an extra treat, I like to top mine with honey. The above honey is Xunaan Cab, Miel de abeja Melipona.  It was a gift from my friend Eben and is really something special. It comes from a small batch producer in Merida, Mexico. Next time you are over, ask for a taste, I might let you try it.


  1. what an inspiration you are! lucky for us here in Marrakech to have our very own Martha Stuart! can you give me the recipe for the dish soap? I buy the Arbre Vert brand of organic soaps for dishes, floors, clothes etc but they cost an arm and a leg...thanks my dear

  2. Since moving here I have learned to make ginger ale, graham crackers, pickles,...and many other things I miss from the States. Your own Sriracha though, that's impressive!