Sunday, May 18, 2014

Make your own Skyr

Last year we went to Iceland.  We love cheese and yogurt and so fell in love with skyr, which is sort of like yogurt but also like cheese.  Since I make yogurt and cream cheese, I figured I should be able to make skyr.  After cruising through some recipes, I gave it a shot.  My methods are slightly different from those I read, so I thought to post how I make mine.

You will need:

  • ½ gallon milk – any kind you want.  Milk fat will give the skyr a creamier texture.  I used 1%
  • 1 cup powdered milk.
  • 1 cup unflavored Siggi’s skyr.  Many higher end health food stores carry it.  If you cannot find it, use Greek yogurt or Fage.  You need about  3 T of it.  The rest can be frozen for future batches.
  • 1 tablet rennet (this is where Skyr gets its cheese qualities.)  Liquid rennet works, too.  The tablets were easier to find and keep well.
Make sure everything is very clean: run it through the dishwasher or wash in very hot water!
  • 1 large glass bowl or cup that will hold ½ gallon or more.
  • Thermometer with at least a 100 to 200 degree F range (37 to 93 C) -  optional ,but good to use if you never have made anything like this before.
  • Colander
  • Cheesecloth to fit colander
  • Whisk
  • Cup or small bowl for mixing the rennet.
  •  Whisk the powdered milk and milk together in the glass bowl.  Microwave on high until it simmers – usually about 18 to 20 minutes.  It should be at 190+ degrees.  The scalding kills any unwanted bacteria in the milk.
  • Let the milk cool to about 100 to 110 degrees.  I use the finger test – sticking a clean(!) finger into it should feel really warm, but not hot.  This also takes about 20 minutes.
  • Whisk in 2 to 3 T of the yogurt or skyr starter.
  • Dissolve the tablet of rennet in a few T of water.  Whisk that into the mixture.
  • Incubate for 8 to 12+ hours.  I happen to have a Big Batch yogurt maker (ancient and no longer made), but you can make your own.  Fill 2 clean 1 qt mason jars with your mixture and screw on the lids.  Place them in a towel lined box.  Wrap a heating pad over the top set to low and drape a towel over that.  OR place the jars in a warm oven.  OR fill several water bottles with very hot water, place them around the mason jars in a box or cooler and wrap a towel around the whole thing.  You need to keep all this very warm for the entire time.
  • After the mixture is jiggly firm, set it in the refrigerator for several hours to firm up some more.
  • Line a colander with the cheese cloth and set into the sink.  Pour the entire batch into this.  Tie the cheese cloth around the batch firmly and hang over your sink faucet – the weight of the batch is sufficient to help strain out the whey.  Let it drain several hours.  The batch should hold together like very soft mozzarella.  Put into a container and keep in the fridge.
 Skyr can be flavored sweet with fruit, honey and the like or made earthy (?) with herbs and spices.