How To Make Hung Yogurt

by | Apr 13, 2012 | 25 comments

Hung yogurt is quite simply the thick creamy yogurt you are left with after you drain the yogurt in a muslin or cheesecloth hanging from your kitchen tap. The liquid that drains out is whey which is excellent for cooking or to thin your smoothies. Hung yogurt takes about 5 hours to make and keeps well in the fridge for a week. It is a great light option to have on hand.
The Art Of Making Hung Yogurt
In my little hometown in India, there was a train station. Even 25 years ago, thousands of people passed through that station every day on their way to work and school. The footpaths leading up to the train station would be dotted by local women on one side, farmer's wives selling fresh produce arranged beautifully in baskets. The other side would have deli like shops, individual specialty stores that sold tea, coffee, cheese, yogurt, spices and exotic kitchenware. I loved walking on the footpath, a narrow pathway winding through these magical stores to the left and women hawking their strawberries, eggplants, chilies, okras and mangoes to the right.
Sheep's Milk Yogurt
I remember my nose starting to prickle with the first whiff of a  milky, cheesy aroma and my pace would quicken as I would walk toward a gloomy-looking store that emanated a cool drift. Through glass doors I would cup my hands around my eyes and peek in. It was the same scene every time. The man with the big beer gut slumped back on a low raggedy chair, fanning his face with the day's newspaper. In front of him on an equally low counter would be rows of massive steel platters carrying pyramids of what looked like very thick molten yogurt, covered with a netting of sorts to keep the flies at bay. Behind him would be my object of fascination.
A massive hook suspended from the ceiling dangling a giant white pouch, big enough to look like a person bundled up in white. And falling from the bottom of the white pouch would be a steady drip drip drip of greyish-greenish water that would collect in a bowl large enough to be a birdbath for 20 birds. This was the Shrikhand shop and that massive lump of white draining away was hung yogurt.
To a wide-eyed little girl, being able to turn plain old yogurt into something more was quite magical. 25 years later, I haven't lost any of that wide-eyed wonder and get instantly excited about trying to take food to new heights. Hung yogurt is one of those things. Once you start making it in the sanctity of your kitchen, you realize the power it gives you to create your own fresh unprocessed dips, desserts and spreads.

Ways you could use Hung Yogurt

  • To make Shrikhand, the traditional Indian dessert flavoured with nuts and fruit.
  • As a substitute for cream cheese in desserts.
  • To make creamy dips and spreads.
  • To use as a marinade base for meats.
  • To sweeten with honey and use as a topping instead of cream.

HOW TO MAKE HUNG YOGURT

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Author: Sneh
Course // Deli, Dessert, How To
Cuisine // Gluten Free, Indian, Vegetarian
Total Time: 6 hours
Servings: 600 -700g

Ingredients

  • 1 kg full-fat yogurt, I used full fat sheep's milk yogurt
  • 2 cheesecloth squares, 30cm or a nut milk bag
  • jute twine
  • colander and bowl

Instructions

  • Place the colander in a bowl. Place the two cheesecloth squares/nut milk bag in the colander with the ends hanging over. Place the yogurt in the center of the cheesecloth/bag. Gather the ends gently and hold them up to form a pouch at the bottom. Tie the twine around the gathered ends just above where the yogurt is.
  • Place the bowl with the colander and yogurt under your kitchen tap or peg or hook (whatever you are using to hang it) and tie the open corners of the cheesecloth around it. Make sure your yogurt pouch is hanging over the colander and bowl to collect the whey and avoid making a mess. Leave this hanging for at least 5 hours.
  • Untie the twine around the pouch and scoop the hung yogurt into a jar. Use as required. Will keep in the fridge for up to three days (longer if you add sweeteners and flavourings)

Notes

The consistency of the yogurt after hanging for 5 hours is that of cream cheese. You can reduce the hanging time by a couple of hours to get a softer more pliant yogurt.
Did you make my recipe?I'd love to hear how you went! Tag me on Instagram @cookrepublic

 

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SNEH

I love creating easy, vibrant, fresh, everyday recipes and taking gorgeous photos of the food I cook. I have been blogging for 15 years and I have also written a book with over 100 new recipes. If you make a recipe from the blog, Tag @cookrepublic on Instagram. I would love to see!

COMMENTS

25 Comments
  1. Martyna @ WholesomeCook

    Interesting that it's a popular way to thicken yoghurt in your homeland too. I made a Middle Eastern version of this recently called Labne. Loved it with garlic and paprika! PS Your photos are gorgeous!

    Reply
  2. Ines

    This is beautiful! ¿Can you use any kind of yougurt? Like... even store bought? 🙂

    Reply
  3. chinmayie @ love food eat

    Loved reading you post! My husband simply LOVES Srikhand and hopes I make it at least once in a while but I am just lazy 🙂

    Reply
  4. marifra79

    Leggo spesso i tuoi articoli, li trovo davvero belli!!! Buon fine settimana

    Reply
  5. LunaJune

    I haven't bought cream cheese in over 10 years... I strain yogurt every week.... I let it sit 3 days in the fridge and get the thickness that most people are use to with cream cheese, and I use 0 % fat skim milk yogurt so there is no fat in my cream cheese and I can slather it on everything without

    Reply
  6. kankana

    Such beautiful memories. I am waiting for summer to make some mango shrikhand for Arvind!

    Reply
  7. Eileen

    I've never heard of the term "hung yogurt," but I definitely drain yogurt at home to make Middle Eastern labneh! I bet draining yogurt is traditional in far more cultures than I could imagine. 🙂

    Reply
  8. Glamorous Glutton

    I have to give this a go, thanks for the method and the fact that I can make great dips almost from scratch. Fabulous photos. GG

    Reply
  9. Eha

    I feel ashamed I have regarded myself as somewhat of a foodie for a long time, have known about this method, love yogurt, make it myself and have never drained it 🙁 ! Well, Sneh, tomorrow is the day! And thank you to LunaJune for imparting that low fat yogurt can be used for this!

    Reply
  10. Brian @ A Thought For Food

    I meant to leave a comment before. I absolutely adore this post... every element from the story to the photographs and, of course, the directions on how to make your own thickened yogurt (some call it Greek Yogurt, but I think I like how this looks even more)

    Reply
  11. Nash at Plateful

    I've been making shrikhant ever since the warmer climate hit us here in the Middle East. Your writing took me back to an era, and I could suddenly picture this railway station and this shrikhant shop in particular, as if I lived there. And those pictures make me ache, really!

    Reply
  12. marissa @ the boot

    this was such a beautiful ode to hung yogurt that i'm more than inspired to make some myself.

    Reply
  13. Gaby

    Gorgeous photos as usual!

    Reply
  14. Kit

    This looks super yummy- I'm definitely going to give this a go!

    Reply
  15. Yasmeen @ Wandering Spice

    Gorgeous post as always, Sneh. I love that our cultures share this tradition of straining or hanging yogurt - it is such a versatile blank canvas for all things sweet and savory, isn't it!

    Reply
  16. Magic of Spice

    I love this process and your fantastic instruction...great post!

    Reply
  17. Nandita

    This is such a lovely post. Loved reading the write up. It just transported me back in time. Lovely recipe and a great presentation as well 🙂

    Reply
  18. Sara (Belly Rumbles)

    What a wonderful walk to the station! Thank you for sharing the recipe. Not too difficult and with a wonderful home made awesomeness, that you can't achieve at your local supermarket.

    Reply
  19. shruti | a spoonful of yumm

    i love hung yogurt...use it mainly for shrikhand. once in a while for dips

    Reply
  20. Claire L

    I made this hung yogurt yesterday for a New Year's Eve party. It was delicious! I mixed in a little bit of salt and served it with a cranberry-raspberry compote on top to spread on crackers. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  21. Sandi

    Had hung yoghurt today with fruit toast and fresh figs in a local cafe. Divine. Will definitely try this recipe. Thanks so much!

    Reply
  22. Yamila Gurovich

    Hi I just found your blog from an australian instagram cooking account- the hungry babushka.
    Your new kitchen looks absolutely great. Very convent and the large island is awesome, it would be wonderful to cook and prep while the kids sit there and watch, talk or do their homework!
    I love the photos, I really love the pantry and your laundry tucked away behind folded doors.
    We live in a small isolated town in southern Patagonia, Argentina and we make our own yoghurt and feta cheese (as you really can't get greek style thick yoghurt or feta cheese). We buy fresh milk from the farmer down the road and pasteurise it for making cheese. We also make our own labne by hanging the yoghurt we make for 8 hours. It is a creamy cheese that is used in the middle east. The greeks or Indians never really immigrated to Argentina on mass so we do not have any of their food or inspirations. Though Argentinan cuisine is mainly inspired by southern European and Italian culture.
    We also make our curries (thai, Indian) form scratch. We bring some spices back with us when we travel to Australia to see family or in Buenos Aires there is a big china town with a lot of shops. We mainly just buy raw ingredients and try to make everything that we miss from living in Sydney, Australia.
    thanks

    Reply
  23. Payal

    Love your photos, Sneh, and I love shrikhand!
    My favourite use for hung yogurt though is to make labneh which has recently (scarily) become a part of my daily diet.
    There is something special about making your own hung yogurt, particularly when it is such a solid base for a whole variety of other dishes.

    Reply
  24. AussiNatural

    Fantastic information ! Thank you for posting

    Reply
  25. stephen

    hm super

    Reply

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