Showing posts with label Hamdi Ulukaya. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hamdi Ulukaya. Show all posts

Monday, July 8, 2013

Beat the Heat: Go Greek (Yogurt)

Everyone's getting into the Greek yogurt craze: this food proprietor's sign greeted me as I entered our Midtown office building today: "Put Your Greek On." The store, Fresh, is adding a yogurt station to its expensive salads and lunchtime health nibbles. Let's see if the yogurt is thickened in a pure way.
Yogurt has become my theme of the summer: earlier I wrote about New York's yogurt summit, and have learned more about Chobani, the upstart yogurt company founded by entrepreneur Hamdi Ulukaya.
Ulukaya is Kurdish and Turkish and grew up on a dairy farm in Turkey. He came to New York and tried feta cheese manufacturing before launching a strained yogurt enterprise.
His story in this video, and the one below:

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Yogurt, Whey & Greek-Turk Battle For Domination

New York recently played host to a yogurt summit.
That's right. Gov. Andrew Cuomo was front and center, too.
Despite its Big Apple reputation, New York is a state full of dairy farms. And it turns out the national craze - strained, thick Greek yogurt – is boosting milk demand and producing tons of waste. Greek producer Fage has operations in New York’s Mohawk Valley, while Chobani - founded by Hamdi Ulukaya, a Turkish man of Kurdish extraction - operates in the “Southern Tier” of the state. 
The summit addressed just what to do with the runoff from straining yogurt, otherwise known as “whey.” I think of whey as a good thing. I think that's what Mediterranean food shops use to store feta. One would think industrial bakers could use it, or that someone could bottle a branded, new lassi or salty-mint drink. Instead, this Modern Farmer article totally demonizes the yogurt byproduct as "acid whey" and says it's a potential environmental hazard. One Upstate New York farmer tried to turn whey into electricity, but it cost millions.
There is another way to take the whey away: just artificially thicken the yogurt.
This 2012 NPR story explains the battle - mostly for yogurt authenticity - and says one Turkish dairy products company has studied just how to get the Greek "residual mouth coating, meltaway and jiggle."
Kiss a Greek, perhaps?
My advice: make yogurt at home. Here's a recipe for thick, Greek yogurt. Boil lots of milk, and cool it just enough to mix with some already-made yogurt. (My rule: it's just cool enough if you can hold your pinky in the hot milk for about 10 seconds). Then let the mixture sit in a warm place (that requires more finagling in winter). Strain. The above recipe says use an old t-shirt for straining. Greek grandmothers are known to use cheesecloth.