Cooking With Yogurt
~ Basics 101 ~

Cooking With Yogurt : Moussaka

Type of Curd
Heating
How and When to Stabilize
Cooking With Yogurt
How to Thicken
How to Thin
How to Stiffen
How to Use as a Substitute


A warm welcome. Yogurt is amazingly versatile and used in a variety of dishes, hot or cold, sweet or savory. However there are a few quirks about cooking with yogurt that call for special mention.


Type of Curd

  • Yogurt has variations itself depending on the type of milk and yogurt starter used along with length of incubation... it can be tart or smooth tasting, thin or thick, creamy or low-fat.
  • The type of curd used in cooking should be considered as it will influence the final product.
  • Tart curd is suited for dips and dressings while a smoother curd is better suited for desserts. Other dishes will taste better cooked with a rich, creamy yogurt.
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Heating

Yogurt is sensitive to heat. When you're cooking with it:

  • Bring it to room temperature before heating.
  • Heat it slowly.
  • If possible use low temperatures for short periods of time.
  • Try to add it at the end of cooking right before it's removed from the heat.
  • Mix it with a bit of hot liquid before adding.
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How and When to Stabilize Curd

Yogurt will curdle or separate at moderate to high temperatures or if heated for too long. To avoid curdling when cooking, stabilize it first. The following method is from The Book of Yogurt (Uvezian, Sonia).

  • 1 quart (litre) plain yogurt
  • 1 egg white, slightly beaten or 1 Tablespoon cornstarch or flour dissolved in a little cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

In a stainless steel pot beat the curd vigorously until it is very thin. Add the egg white, or cornstarch or flour in water, and salt. Mix well. Bring slowly to a boil, stirring continuously in one direction only (a traditional Middle Eastern technique, which probably discourages separation). Reduce the heat to very low and simmer gently, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until the mixture becomes thick and creamy.

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Cooking Yogurt

  • Stabilize first if adding at or near the start of a recipe.
  • After it's stabilized it can be added and cooked with other ingredients without curdling.
  • If used in baking, stabilizing isn't necessary.
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How to Thicken

Any of the following can be dissolved in a small amount of cold water and added to yoghurt:

  • cornstarch
  • flour
  • arrowroot
  • powdered milk, add without dissolving in water


How to Thin

  • Stir quickly until curd becomes like liquid.


How to Stiffen

  • If the curd has thinned from being warmed, refrigerate until stiffer.
  • Mix with a beaten egg white.
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How to Use as a Substitute

  • Curd can be used in place of milk, cream, buttermilk or sour cream.
  • When substituting for milk or cream, add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda for each cup of curd.
  • When using instead of buttermilk, thin with water till the consistency is similar.


Mixed Berries
Yogurt Homemade
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What Will Help You Make Yogurt?

powdered yogurt culture handy in cupboard
starter kit (culture, thermometer, mason jar)
audio (mp3) instructions
video on how to make yogurt
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no milk
no thermometer
no way to incubate
afraid yogurt won't turn out
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