Iceland

Dish

Skyr is the traditional yogurt of Iceland. It is made by incubating skimmed milk with live active cultures. The whey, the water naturally found in milk, is then strained away to make for a much thicker, creamier, concentrated yogurt. So to make just one cup of skyr, with all that water going out, you need 3 - 4 times the amount of milk required to make a regular cup of yogurt. As a result of this process skyr comes out with 2-3 times the protein count of standard yogurt. According to the Sagas, the original stories of the Norse Vikings, Icelanders have made skyr since settlers from Norway first arrived on the island in the 9th century. The word skyr is probably derived from the Icelandic word skera, which means to cut or slice–– a reference to the ideal thickness of Skyr perhaps? The authentic skyr is hard to duplicate in a home setting as, due to the need for specialized active cultures, this is a recipe for an approximation of the authentic product. It could’nt really be called Skyr but gives you an impression as to the consistency. It is possible to find Skyr in some specialist stores and delis now.

Ingredients

  • 12 cups water
  • 21 cups non-fat powdered milk
  • 2 cups buttermilk

Method

  1. Pour the powdered milk into a large clean bowl.
  2. Allow the boiled water to cool until just warm. It must not be too hot or it will kill the living culture in the buttermilk!
  3. Pour the water over the milk powder, allowing room for the buttermilk. Stir thoroughly so that it is completely dissolved.
  4. Add the buttermilk, stir well and cover. Place in the oven, undisturbed.
  5. Do not turn on the oven, simply turn on the oven light. This will be enough heat to allow the culture to work. Allow this to work overnight.
  6. In the morning check your skyr for firmness and flavor. If it is not set and separated or sour enough, leave it to work longer. Every oven is different.
  7. Once you are happy with the degree of sourness, the skyr has to be drained. Gently cut the curd into squares of sections. Do not break it up too much.
  8. Line a colander with cheesecloth or a clean new J-cloth (I personally just use a bit of leftover muslin from my sewing stash).
  9. Set this in the sink or a larger container to catch the whey. Scoop the curds and whey gently into the lined colander. It will drain better if it is not stirred or broken up too much. It will take about one day to drain to the proper consistency.
  10. Then it can be beaten with a mixer until smooth. Store covered in the refrigerator. Stir in sugar and cream, or your favorite flavorings, as desired when ready to serve.