Petits Pots Of Yogurt And Strawberry Compote

Yogurt is for dessert too.


After a 15+ year hiatus, I am again making yogurt. Easy, tasty, low-tech. Did I say easy? Since I much prefer eating yogurt to drinking milk, I have been making at least two quarts of yogurt a week. Love it! As was explained here: heat the milk (if the milk is pasteurized, I only heat up to 120 F; but I do heat up to 180F when using raw milk). Add milk to a large mason jar with a couple of tablespoons of plain yogurt, shake the jar. Put it in a small cooler overnight with a mason jar full of very hot water. Go to bed. Voila: yogurt for breakfast. I love it.

You can make it in big jars, in small jars, in tiny jars… For all of us who are compulsive jar saver, now there IS an excuse to save to save more jars…

I even bought some “Swiss-style” yogurt. It listed 4 kinds of active cultures (Streptococcus thermophilus, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and L. bifidus and I can’t remember the 4th – how geeky, is that?). It turned out to be less tart than the other yogurt I was getting. I am now keeping an eye out for Bulgur-style yogurt, which I remember as really really creamy and which I think containswhat else? – L. bulcaricus. I tried to add a little cream or half and half to my yogurt, and while it made it richer it still was not that wonderful Bulgarian yogurt (maybe it exists only in my memory?). I guess next time I am at a WholeFood or Natural Store, I’ll have to investigate the yogurt case. So here I am: collecting pretty china tea cups, AND yogurt cultures … See what life in the country can do to a (fairly) level-headed girl?

But then it hit me – I mean about getting creamy yogurt: strain it! It’ll give me a Greek-style yogurt. It worked! Delicious indeed (although not Bulgarian).

More importanly it was a pretty good success at a recent picnic I put together. I used Tristar strawberries, picked in the garden last summer and frozen, with a little sugar and vanilla bean to make my fruit base, combine it with yogurt in small canning jars. And man, I thought I made good ice-cream, but based on the reactions, I obviously need to be making even more yogurt. So any way, here is the recipe for Greek-Style Yogurt with Vanilla Bean & ‘Tristar’ Strawberry Compote – as much as this is a recipe!

Greek-Style Yogurt with Vanilla Bean & ‘Tristar’ Strawberry Compote

For the yogurt

  • 1 very scant quart whole pasteurized organic milk, as high quality as possible (not ultra pasteurized)
  • 2 tablespoons of Swiss-style, live plain yogurt
  • a scant 1/4 cup organic half & half

Combine half & half & yogurt, heat up to 120 F. Put yogurt in a quart jar, add the warm milk mixture. Cap and shake well. Put in small cooler touching a quart mason jar filled with near boiling water. Let rest undisturbed for 8 hours.

Line a fine-mesh sieve with a clean white muslin towel or butter muslin over a bowl. Add the yogurt, and let drip (in the fridge) for half an hour. Scoop out the much thicker yogurt. You may save the whey for other uses such as to replace of water in pizza dough or in soup.

For the compote

  • ‘Tristar’ Strawberries, or other ripe and flavorful strawberries, fresh or frozen
  • sugar to taste (maybe 3 Tablespoons by cup of berries ?)
  • 1 vanilla bean

Heat the berries gently until they start to give off their juice. Cook on low heat for 15 minutes until tender. Half the vanilla bean, scrape off the seeds, and add them to the strawberries along with the vanilla bean pod. Add the sugar, stir to dissolve and cook another 3 minutes. Remove the berries and reserve. Bring the juice to boil, and boil gently for a few minutes until syrup is slightly thickened. Chill the berries and syrup.


Have ready 1/2 pint mason jars. Spoon some cooled strawberries at the bottom, add yogurt almost to top of jar. Spoon some of the cooled syrup on top. Screw top on and refrigerate for a couple of hours – up to a few days. Serve with butter cookies or other very simple cookie.

Note for the locavore log: milk and cream from Trickling Springs in Chambersburg, PA & strawberries from the garden.

18 thoughts on “Petits Pots Of Yogurt And Strawberry Compote”

  • Sylvie, I think you meant to say that you heat your RAW milk to 120, and your PASTEURIZED milk to 180, no? And where do you get raw milk in Virginia? Do you have a cow share?

    You inspired me to walk down to the health food store and look for a yogurt with more cultures. For months, I’ve been relying on my own homemade yogurt, from the creamtop milk our dairy delivers. I found an interesting brand of Icelandic yogurt or “skyr” called “siggis” (made in New York). It contains the following: Acidophilus, Delbruecki Bulgaricus, Delbruecki lactus and Thermophilus. Is that good?

    This stuff is expensive: nearly $3 for a 6 oz. container, but I didn’t want to buy a quart container, so that’s fine. It’s a one-time purchase just to get the cultures.

  • Ed, No: I heat up the raw milk to 180 F to pasteurize it – then cool it to 120 F. I heat up the store bought-pasteurized milk to 120 F to bring it to the temperature necessary for the yogurt culture to be able to do their job, i.e. ingest natural milk sugars, and release lactic acid which will coagulates milk proteins to form the yogurt. I am just being cautious with the raw milk to ensure I only have the bacteria I want so I can control what the yogurt taste will be. Different bacteria produce different tastes. I expect that I will make the next raw-milk batch by heating it only to 120F. The first time I made yogurt with store-bought milk, I heated up to 180, then cooled down to 120. Then I thought: what’s the purpose of heating it so hot? it’s pasteurization. Since store-bought milk is already pasteurized, do I really need to do that? I tried without that step, and sure enough, it worked! But I only want to change one thing at a time, so I can isolate what goes wrong – if anything goes wrong.

    And yes I have a cow share.

    Re: culture. I saw that “Icelandic” brand too – but in the store I was in, it was $6.00 for 6 oz!!! Despite the price, I would have bought a cup if they had plain, but they only carried the ones with fruit. Indeed it’s a one-time expense (and still less expensive than buying yogurt cultures!). What you wrote down sound similar to the “Swiss-style” (imported from Switzerland that I bought – maybe the proportions of bacterias are different?). The Swiss-style yogurt was $2.00 for 6 oz! Now, I just need to make sure, I label my jars with the type of yogurt I make.

    As far as taste, everybody like different yogurt, so you just have to try different yogurt bacteria and bacteria mix and see which ones are more pleasant to you.

    Becoming yogurt snob… snort!

  • On the raw milk listserv, everyone is making their yogurt at 120 degrees because they don’t want it pasteurized! Is there another reason you like the raw milk?

    Heating the milk to make yogurt isn’t just to pasteurize it, it’s to thicken it. Thickens derives from the concentration of proteins in the milk, which is what happens when you heat it, especially for an extended period of time. I’ve been taking mine up to 200, but I think 190 for 10 or 15 minutes is fine. I especially like to add cream to the milk for the extra richness and to help prevent curdling. The protein concentration issue is why you see so many yogurt makers adding powdered milk to their product: to thicken is with extra protein.

  • Ed – my next try out is to heat up the raw milk to 120F and see what happens. I only get 1/2 gallon once a week and since we do drink it also, I only have so much to experiment with. I only started making yogurt 3 weeks ago! I do want to experiment by changing only one step at a time, so I can see and taste for myself what happens. If I like the resulting yogurt, I’ll keep doing it that way. I hear what you are saying about heating up to 200F , but for me heating up the store-bought milk to 120F produced fully satisfactory results, so I am sticking with it.

    I get raw milk for a number of reasons: taste and the natural milk components and nutrients that are in raw milk; it’s just up the road from me so I support a neighbor and my local economy, I approve of how my cow lives and is taken care of. I don’t think my quick “pasteurization” compares to the big guys’ pasteurization anyway in terms of getting rid of some of the nutrients in the milk – certainly the taste is nicer to me!…

    I am sure making yogurt and making cheese or wine or beer are similar, in that one can use different methods and come up with still delicious results!

  • You are so lucky to have a cow so close by. In my youth, I bicycled around France one years and one of the most vivid memories was stopping at the side of a country lane in Normandy one morning where a milk maid literally was in the field milking a cow. I paid her 50 centimes to fill my water bottle with fresh, warm milk right out of the pale. It was one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. I would never be afraid of drinking raw milk if it came from a cow that was well cared for.

  • Wow you guys. But I do understand the to-heat-or-not-to-heat question. It all depends what microbes you want to kill (or not). I’ve personally had only fair luck with thicker yogurt if I heat the milk too high (over 180* if either industrial or raw).

    Hey: another tip: I do try to save some of my yogurt to make the next batch, but I also freeze the initial culture (in my case, plain full-fat Stonyfield’s) in an icecube tray then put the frozen cubes in an airtight ziploc bag. I then thaw 2-4 cubes for the next batch. It won’t keep forever but it will “let” me use as much of the fresh batch as possible. It also allows me to mix things up if the batch gets a bit tired.

    I do like the idea of trying to get as many different cultures into your batch as possible, though. We have a decent Greek yogurt place in Chicago that I might have to purchase next time I am in town.

  • Oh and Sylvie I had to laugh because I made chocolate pots de creme last night, so I laughed at the title of your post this a.m. (I made it with goose eggs. Entirely too many eggs here!)

  • The info on heating milk to a high temperature to make a thicker yogurt is available in Harold McGee’s “On Food and Cooking,” revised edition, p. 48.

    El, you are too smart. It never would have ocurred to me to freeze the yogurt for culture. I’ve been using last week’s yogurt for a few months now. Maybe it is getting tired….

  • Hi mary, it’s a simple butter cookie traditional in French Brittany – very easy to make and very nice with a fruit dessert or by itself. OK, I’ll post it. Soon. Glad you ask.

  • Having tasted and made Siggis (Skyr type) yogurt, I posted a how-to on RecipeZaar:

    It’s the best yogurt I have ever tasted and I have tested many high priced yogurts.

    BTW, the cost of a you-make-it-in-3-hours quart is around $1 (including extra dry milk for creaminess) as opposed to the equivalent of $15 or more in NYC on a per-cup basis.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.