Thursday, September 8, 2011

Skyr with Jules and Ruby

Ruby
Ruby just raves about it!

If you haven't been to Julesfood.blogspot.com yet, check it out!  Since 2008, Jules and her partner, Ruby, have been making interesting food and taking absolutely gorgeous pictures of it.


Jules
Jules spends most of her time in the kitchen, so Ruby writes the actual articles.  It all comes together beautifully.  (Jules does warn their readers that because Ruby has no opposable thumbs, she types with the hunt and peck method and this may cause occasional grammatical errors.)

We have been on a search for good Skyr recipes for quite some time. Last April, we had a request in the Moosletter for a recipe for Skyr.  We received a few responses which we published in the May issue and they included links to recipes (which were unfortunately without pictures).

But, Ricki's daughter, Sarah, is always on the lookout for good blog articles and she found Jules Food.  We contacted Jules because we think her post about making Skyr is the best one we've seen so far:

SKYR...Homemade Icelandic Yogurt
By Julesfood.com


just look at those curds!
SKYR CURDS...

i love making yogurts and cheeses.  for some reason it's like baking bread.  i don't know why, but the smell of fresh yogurt right when you open the pot or while it's hanging in the fridge... gets me every time.  even when i'm having a bad day yogurt makes me happy.  if i've accomplished NOTHING in the day, at least i know i'm making yogurt...and it's gonna be good!

well, as promised, here is the SKYR recipe i use.  i should first state that i have not ever had "REAL" Skyr.  you have to go to Iceland to have "REAL" Skyr and i have no immanent plans to rush off to Iceland in the near future so i can only liken mine to the store bought here in America.  in any case if you haven't heard of SKYR...it is an Icelandic dairy product resembling Greek yogurt, but thicker and with a very slight cheese tang.  some say it's not a yogurt at all.  it actually IS a cheese.  the process of making it is like yogurt, but it calls for rennet, a cheese making ingredient and the incubation doesn't seem to be as temperamental.


the important thing is you have to have skyr to make skyr.  luckily it seems to be growing in popularity.  like Greek yogurt, it is high in protein, low or NON fat and low in carbohydrates.  also a great way to get in some calcium.  the only brand i have seen around the markets is called Siggi's Skyr
if you can't get ahold of some Siggi's i read some other recipes that say buttermilk or other live active culture yogurt will do, but there is something in real skyr that these don't have.  try high end markets or health food stores to find Siggi's



i've got this skyr thing down...you can too.  as i mentioned, it seems to be a lot easier than plain yogurt and the incubation is not as precise.  i get these beautiful curds every time.  i just can't help myself from taking a picture or calling someone into the kitchen to admire my curds... don't they just glisten in the sunlight?...okay...okay...enough already !!!


so you've seen the pictures of how the curds look after you cut them...above is a photo of the pot all wrapped up in 3 towels.  tightly wrapped and cozy.  i leave it this way for about 12 - 16 hours.  i didn't notice a difference in the end product if it sat 10 hours or once i left it for 18 hours...woops...still turned out great. i should mention i live in Southern California where the weather is not too extreme.  my house doesn't really get higher than 75 or lower than 55 degrees.

just below is a photo of the skyr before cutting the curds.  it should look like a solid mass with a little visible whey.



just above is a beautiful photo of the professional straining method i have come up with for the fridge.
IMPORTANT...make sure you have a big enough container underneath to catch the whey dripping...could get ugly 


RECIPE and INSTRUCTIONS TO MAKE SKYR
i found 2 good, easy recipes for skyr.  one is at Recipezaar by Charlotte J and another was in a forum called The Iceland Weather Report by a poster named Bigbearok.
below is kind of a combo of the two.  this works every time for me.  check the links to see if you would like to follow one of their recipes and instructions by the book.

MUST HAVES...
4 quarts (1 gallon) non fat milk...NOT ultra pasteurized
 Siggi's Skyr, or another brand if you can find it
Rennet...i use liquid rennet (vegetable base)
or...1/2 rennet tablet dissolved in a little cold water
good thermometer
good quality stock pot, stainless steel
towels for wrapping up pot
cheese cloth or a big square of muslin works better
a large strainer

make sure all of your utensils are CLEAN.  heat the milk slowly up to 195 F degrees.  be careful not to burn the bottom.  slow heating, a heavy stainless pot and stirring will prevent this.  when it reaches 190-195 degrees, turn off and cool to 110 F degrees.  mix about 3-4 Tbsps of your starter (Siggi's or other live active culture yogurt) with a couple of Tbsp of the warm milk (one at a time) in a small cup until it seems combined and pourable.  add this mixture to the warm milk and stir being careful not to scrape up any milk solids that may have formed at the bottom of the pot.  now add the rennet...i use 7-8 drops for 1 gallon if milk..again...stir carefully.

cover your pot and wrap it in 2-3 towels all cozy and leave it on the counter.  one recipe says to let it sit for 24 hours...another says 12 hours...and another says 5 hours...i let mine sit for 12-16 hours.  i have seen no difference in a few hours here or there.

uncover and take a peek.  it should be a pretty solid mass and there should be some visible whey (yellowish liquid).  if it still looks and acts like a pot of milk...something has gone wrong.

if all has gone well it is now time to cut the curds...
as shown in numerous photos above and obviously my favorite skyr step.  i don't know if this is completely necessary, but some recipes call for it AND i like the way it looks.  i think it helps the curds separate from the whey while straining. next, line a large strainer with a couple of pieces of cheesecloth OR i like to use a piece of thin washed muslin.

slowly spoon the curds into the lined strainer until all is in.  let this sit for an hour or two while most of the whey drains from the curds.

TIP !...i use the inside of my salad spinner for the strainer.  a regular pasta colander doesn't seem to work as well.  you need a strainer that will really allow the whey to drip otherwise it will take forever.

when it looks as though the dripping has slowed...gather the four corners, tie and hang from a wooden spoon (or something) over a sauce pan to catch the whey.  i like to move this to the fridge, but i suppose it can be done on the counter if it's not too hot.  a cool, well ventilated room is fine.  this should take a few hours.  your end result should be firm and a bit dry around the edges of the cloth...kind of cheese-like..i like mine a little thicker than commercial Greek yogurt, but not as thick as cream cheese.

remove from the cloth into a large bowl and stir or whisk until smooth.  one time mine was so thick i had to use the Kitchenaid mixer and whisk it up to creamy goodness...again...it was  delicious.

flavoring is up to you.  stir in a little honey and vanilla extract...i use a few packets of splenda and one vanilla bean...or i stir in some vanilla whey protein powder to taste....a couple of times i added some honey, vanilla bean AND fresh finely chopped ROSEMARY...YUM !

NOTE...the consistency should NOT be grainy like cottage cheese...stir or whisk until smooth.  if it is too thick you can stir in some of the whey or beat in a little cream and sugar for a richer, sweeter treat.

i hope my long instructions don't turn you away from trying to make your own skyr.  it really IS EASIER than it sounds.  once you get it down i bet you'll enjoy it more than regular or Greek yogurt. here are a few more links that i found helpful.

Jo's Icelandic Recipes
European Cuisines
Recipezaar...Icelandic curds
Wikipedia-Skyr
Icecook...Icelandic Cooking Recipes and Food

4 comments:

Simona said...

I love all the photos, especially the ones of curds: very nice!

DigitalBjarki said...

Nice to see a Skyr recipe here, Im from Iceland and we actually eat alot of this here.
Bodybuilders here eat alot of Skyr without the added sugar but the general public eats it with some sugar (well.. alot of sugar ) and cream (not whipped)
Try creating a Cheesecake with Skyr instead of the creamcheese, it´s super !


Real Skyr Cake
Ingredients:
1 package of Cinamon biscuits, crushed (Bastogne)
80 g melted butter
5 dl cream, whipped
500g vanilaskyr ( we have alot of choices, but just add a bit of a vanilla to your recipe to get the same result + sugar until it tastes nice and sweet )
3 tbsp. blueberry jam
150 g blueberries
200 g strawberries
Method:
Mix together the butter and crushed biscuits and press to the bottom of the well-anointed bid form.
Stir in the cream gently skyr vanilla and pour on top of the biscuit bottom.
Put blueberry jam gently on top, along with blueberries and strawberries that have been
cut into pieces. It's fine to prepare skyr cakes the day before, but it must at least
stand in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.

:)

DigitalBjarki said...

Nice to see a Skyr recipe here, Im from Iceland and we actually eat alot of this here.
Bodybuilders here eat alot of Skyr without the added sugar but the general public eats it with some sugar (well.. alot of sugar ) and cream (not whipped)
Try creating a Cheesecake with Skyr instead of the creamcheese, it´s super !


Real Skyr Cake
Ingredients:
1 package of Cinamon biscuits, crushed (Bastogne)
80 g melted butter
5 dl cream, whipped
500g vanilaskyr ( we have alot of choices, but just add a bit of a vanilla to your recipe to get the same result + sugar until it tastes nice and sweet )
3 tbsp. blueberry jam
150 g blueberries
200 g strawberries
Method:
Mix together the butter and crushed biscuits and press to the bottom of the well-anointed bid form.
Stir in the cream gently skyr vanilla and pour on top of the biscuit bottom.
Put blueberry jam gently on top, along with blueberries and strawberries that have been
cut into pieces. It's fine to prepare skyr cakes the day before, but it must at least
stand in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.

:)

Jeri said...

Digital,
Thanks for the recipe. I would like to use it in the February Moosletter if that's alright with you. Please contact me at Moosletter@cheesemaking.com so I can put your name on it, etc. Thanks again.