« Top 10 Most Controversial Restaurants in Baltimore | Main | Cantler's named top seafood "dive." Say what? »

May 19, 2009

The best yogurt

I've decided I should start eating a carton of plain yogurt every day for health reasons. I'm not defending this decision, so don't try to get in an argument with me about whether yogurt is any better for you than a glass of milk, We can talk about that another time. What I want today is your advice. ...

I already mix plain and fruit-flavored yogurt half and half because the fruit yogurts taste too sweet to me, so I decided I might as well just bite the bullet and switch to plain. Yesterday I had a carton of Dannon fat-free yogurt (the only kind of Dannon plain my supermarket sells), and I could barely gag it down. The texture didn't make up for sour taste.

Maybe I should go for full-fat plain. I don't mind yogurt's calories (most of the calories are in the "fruit" anyway). I want it to have the texture of sour cream, only be yogurt. Or maybe I should just eat a carton of sour cream. Nah. That probably wouldn't have the same health benefits.

So you plain yogurt eaters out there, please recommend a brand for me to try. Of course, with my luck it will probably be some brand from Switzerland that can only be bought at the Whole Foods in Fairfax, Va., and it will become another food obsession that I will spend too much time and money trying to track down. But recommend away. I'm listening.

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 11:14 AM | | Comments (71)


BROWN COW! Its available at every Whole Foods. Try the cream top variety, anything that lists "cream top" on the carton can't be bad right!?
I prefer the fruit flavors, but even the plain has a wonderful taste!

It's like you're reading my mind ... six months ago. No wait, I sent you an actual email about this. I bought every brand of plain yogurt available at Whole Food (5 or 6) and reviewed them. No thickeners or additves allowed, just milk and bacteria. Whole milk only. Full fat? Come on, it's milk, real milk, not the object of some chubby chaser. Do mothers breast feed their babies "full fat" milk? No. Milk = milk. It's 3.4 percent fat because that's exactly what it's supposed to be.

Try the FAGE Greek Yogurt- it comes plain with a little side of either honey or fruit to mix in- which is nice because you control how much you want to add in - its a little higher in fat and calories but not enough to make or break you and it seems much more satisfying because of its rich texture... give it a whirl. I know they have it at Whole Foods.

You should definitely try Greek yogurt.

I am huge fan of Fage (I think that's the spelling) Greek yogurt. I often use the plain yogurt in place of sour cream in recipes, and in the winter, used it to top chili, etc. The texture is so similar, I am not sure all my dinner guests knew they were having yogurt instead of sour cream.

I've also recently started eating siggi's skyr, and I love the thicker texture. I haven't had the plain, but their fruit flavors are unlike other yogurts. No unnatural ingredients and no added sugars. I just wish is was cheaper and easier to find (I have to go to Whole Foods in Mt. Washington, altho Whole Foods in Harbor East has the plain).

For making smoothies, I usually get a giant container of plain Stonyfield Farms organic. That's my go-to yogurt. I think it's less sour than Dannon, but the textures are similar.

Dannon fruit on the bottom! I've tried all of them and it's the best. At only about 180 cal, if you don't mix it up, it's a delicous vanilla on top that tastes like panna cotta with sweet fruit on the bottom. It's rich, filling and satisfying.

Fage. The best. Even the 0% fat is creamy and delicious.

EL, I'm right there with you. I'd love to find a good tasting (not sour!) plain yogurt, but with low sugar. Even a fruit yogurt, but just low sugar. So I'm all ears.

Well, Fage is too thick for you, although you could thin it with milk (which is how Icelanders eat skyr).

I only eat plain yogurt, but, when I really want something sweet, I will stir a little good quality jam in.

I think you should try Fage Greek yogurt, or the new Greek-style from Stonyfield Farms, Oikos, which my Giant does not yet carry.

Fage comes plain with a tiny compartment for the fruit topping, so you can add as much or as little as you like. I hate the idea of plain yogurt, but I can eat the Fage even with little fruit mixed in.

Greek yogurt is higher in protein and creamier in texture than other yogurts. I would start with the 2% peach flavor. I'll bet you like it.

Faje Greek yogurt. If you go with Greek yogurt, you'll get that sour cream-like consistency you're after. It's seriously good, and not very hard to find. I know that Wegman's has it, as does Giant, and Whole Foods.

I would also put my .02 with Brown Cow "cream on top" yogurt. My favorites in the winter are Maple and Coffee to avoid the too sweet 'fruit' also. In the summer, I just mix farmers' market fruit with plain Brown Cow Yogurt.

I love Greek yogurt, and I'm very satisfied with the fat-free version of either Fage or Chobani. You can find both at pretty much any large store now.

I fell in love with the amazing yoghurts at Waitrose in the UK. The had the most incredible Champagne Rhubarb, Scottish Raspberry and Lemon Curd flavours. I actually brought some back with me on my last trip.

Failing that, Fage Greek-style yoghurt with honey is pretty good.

EL, you have got to try Fage Greek Yogurt. You will love it. It has the exact same texture as sour cream. In fact, I use it as sour cream substitute. To sweeten it up, I had fresh fruit - its heaven!

Try Le Creme by Dannon; its creamy and fruit flavored, minus the real fruit or Yoplait smooth and creamy

horizon organic nonfat yogurt, cappuccino flavor

it is the yogurt that you-know-who eats

I really enjoy Fage plain 0% fat yogurt. It does have a weird granular thing going on but I try to ignore it; the $2 price tag is less easy to ignore and so I usually opt to cough down the Dannon. I will also warn you that I find it next to impossible to find plain yogurt at the grocery store, seems a very popular commodity.

I can't recommend a brand per se, but here's an idea of a way to eat it- use it as a toppping on baked potatoes in place of sour cream. It tastes the same and is healthier for you. I doubt you eat baked potatoes every day, but it's one way to eat it as opposed to eating it straight out of the container.

I love plain yogurt (especially the Greek-style) but always mix fresh fruit in. Any berry would be a good add-in. Otherwise -- gack!

Total brand Greek yogurt (nonfat or lowfat) is super thick.

Mix a half cup of frozen fruit (like blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, add some splenda to taste, and it is better than ice cream! I like the low-fat plain yogurt that Safeway sells. But any low-fat plain yogurt will do once you add the fruit and sweetner in.

Oh good! Happy to oblige, EL! For plain yogurt to use in everyday cooking or making any dips or whatever, try FAGE, from Greece. Many stores now carry it, but you might have to look in their "organic" section. For flavored/fruited yogurt, the "Liberty" brand is deLISH. It's tricky to find around here, but Wegmans and Whole Foods carry it. They have great flavors (plum & walnut, wild blackberry), and their "7-Grains" line is not as icky as it sounds. Not crunchy, more chewy, with little pieces of whole grains and fruit in the yogurt. Try the 7-grain with Pear. Very refreshing! I can't go back to Dannon or any of the other major brands now. Compared to FAGE and Liberte, they all taste and feel chemical-y.

I recently switched from Lucerne and Yoplait over to brands like Fage, Oikos, and Chobani. There is no comparison, and I can't go back to the other kinds as they taste very sweet and chemical-ridden. They are a bit more expensive, but they are super creamy, high in protein, and taste delicious! BJs has a 12-pack of Chobani for $11 something, so if you have a membership, it is worth it to stock up.

Another one I really like, but is definitely a splurge due to price, is Skyr. I have only seen it at Whole Foods, but it is an Icelandic yogurt (whatever that means) - really thick, smooth, creamy, tart. Try it!

Agree with the Fage recs on here...also, Oikos Greek is made by the Stoneyfield Farms folks and also has the toppings/sides as options. I use in place of sour cream in everything. For a meal, I stick with the 'full fat' plain and sometimes add agave nectar or almond butter if needed. I've also recently started eating sheep's milk yogurt and found it easier to digest. Tried the goat's milk and although I LOVE goat cheese I couldn't eat a container of yogurt.

I use Activia because it is a part of my active lifestyle...that and Jamie Lee Curtis told me to eat it.

I agree with the majority above, but also want to cast a vote for Stonyfield's full fat plain yogurt. If I didn't care about calories it's what I would eat all the time.

For yogurt thick=tart. Do we have to do the chemistry again, beause I love talking about it.

Fage is my favorite for plain yogurt. The taste is tart but mild and the texture is creamy, thick, and smooth. I use it in place of sour cream in a lot of recipes.

Skyr is technically a cheese, not a yogurt. It is delicious, though.

I've been eating Stoneyfield Farms full-fat yogurt since it was a regional hippy brand. It isn't as good as it used to be, but it still pretty good. I love the yogurt creme.

Oh, and, if you want to buy it out somewhere, Carma's Cafe has the most amazing homemade yogurt.

Jamie Lee Curtis gives me the creeps.

Hi, Rosebud!

I am addicted to Wegman's plain yogurt. I eat it plain or with apple butter.

I can't usually find Greek yogurt @ my regular grocery store (Shopper's). I've noticed that Lucerne (@ Safeway) has a nicer texture than most other plain yogurts--it's very smooth rather than chunky. Also, have you tried kefir? It's not as thick as yogurt, but I like how refreshing it is, either on its own, or with diced cucumbers and tomatoes.

Lalalala I just discovered the joy of Greek Yogurt- and you should as well! Fage is brilliant, of course and I love it plain with a bit of honey, granola and a whole banana for breakfast. Trader Joe's also has their own brand of greek yogurt and that's also delicious and much better priced.

I always buy the Whole Foods brand organic plain yogurt, then mix it with some type of frozen fruit (normally frozen blueberries or mixed berries).

I too love Brown Cow Maple yogurt. But it does have a fair amount of sugar in it, so beware.

We eat an obscene amount of plain, Greek Yogurt in our house and to keep the budget in check, we buy the Trader Joe's Greek yogurt. To us, tastes the same as Fage, but a better price.

(Watch, now that I said it, there won't be any at my local TJ's as there will be a run on the stuff.)

Don't be hatin' on Jamie Lee. She's one of my top 5 celebs I'd like to meet.

Eve, your comment on Jamie Lee out of the blue made me laugh out loud! Oh, just noticed RoCK's comment, but still made me laugh!

I never did get the attraction to Jamie Lee Curtis either, and that was even before the gray hair and the hawking of a product the promotes regularity.

Greek yogurt can't be beat. I loooove the tzatziki at Never on Sunday (so close to the Sun). It's not for everyone -- the garlic will keep vampires away from me FOREVER -- but if you want to change up your plain yogurt routine without going the fruit route, throw some garlic and mint in there. Mmmm.

Also, as a lady eating yogurt for health reasons, this is recommended watching:

I recommend Stoneybrook whole milk plain. It has a smooth creamy taste and it is easy to find in grocery stores, although unfortunately only in the 32 ounce size, but if you are eating it every day, it goes quickly.

what's the sugar content in Greek yogurt? I can't eat a ton of sugar in the morning, so I normally go with "light" as its less sugar than the normal. I don't really care about fat/calories all that much.

Also - does Greek yogurt have that sour taste, the one that people claim in the "authentic" taste of yogurt? Authentic or not, I can't stand that sourness.

Ok, just realized it's time for a yogurt SWERVE- how is it that yogurt is now filled with ingredients we've never heard of before or learned about in Chemistry? Like Bifidus Regularis? What the heck? Sounds made up to me!

If you don't like tart then you don't like yogurt, you like creamy candy. "Lite" yogurt means they are adding poisonous chemical sugar substitutes. Did you know that the FDA under Bush allowed MSG to be added to yogurt as "natural flavoring". without listing it specifically. Ta da.

To refresh:

Milk + bacteria + time = yogurt.

The lactobacilli eat the lactose (sugar) in milk and change it to lactic acid.

The lactic acid changes the morphology of the milk proteins. Milk proteins are tight bundles of linked amino acids like a ball of string. The acid unravels the molecules which causes them to take up more space and thicken the milk.

I think this unravelling process also makes the protein easier to digest.

Cool huh?

You can extrapolate and figure out why acidic marinades tenderize meat. (unravelling).

I find that adding good cinnamon to plain yogurt is delicious and no added sugar is necessary. Don't try it wth McCormick cinnamon, it's disgusting and bitter.l Penzey's works great and is naturally sweet.

It's also ridiculously easy to make your own yogurt. Heat milk. Let cool to room temperature. Add some yogurt. Put in a warm place overnight (I use my gas oven). Voila – yogurt.

I eat Stonyfield lowfat plain yogurt everyday (I switched from the fruit and vanilla flavored yogurts becuase of the amount of sugar in them). I always put either fresh or frozen berries and ground up flax seed in the yogurt. It is my special treat each day. A 32 oz. carton usually lasts one week.

Chobani greek yogurt is the bomb. I get the fat free, but with sugar stuff. For being healthy, I put in some frozen berries, plain greek yogurt, and some honey and milk into a blender. Delish!

Bifidus Regularis is Latin for "everybody poops".

Go for greek yogurt. Interestingly I just had the best yogurt ever, called Mountain High. However its only available in the western side of the country. Its almost the texture of greek with a yummy flavor. Mountain High people if you google across this, START SENDING IT TO THE EASTERN SEABOARD. As for greek yogurt, trader Joes is pretty good with a really great price, if you don't have a tj near you there is at my giant a brand called 'Chobani' which is good but WAY cheaper than Fage. or rather a buck less which helps.

You want thicker yogurt? Let it sit overnight in a warm place. It can't go bad. It's alive!

I'm very skeptical of this Greek stuff. What the hell does Greek even mean here? It's just branding. It's not Greek at all. It's American milk and American bacteria.

My favorite yogurt (which sounds uncannily like the noise one makes while vomitting: "yo ... gurrrrrrt!") is creme brulee with raspberries.
But if Sigourney Weaver told me to eat Activa, don't get between me and the spoon drawer.

Buy Dannon plain yorgurt or any other quality brand and drain the excess liquid through cheesecloth and a strainer. Kathleen has discovered that the result is an equivalent of Greek yogurt without the extortionate price.

Right on point, John McIntyre. That is exactly what I do. Plus, you can make cheese with it at that point too.
If you don't have cheesecloth, a coffee filter will work too.

Mr. McIntyre, that is called 'laban' in Arabic. The excess liquid is whey, and can be drunk or used for cooking.

An easy way to make laban is to use a melitta filter and a coffee pot or mug, and put the whole thing in the fridge overnight.

One way to eat laban is to swirl it out on a plate, then sprinkle some thyme and good olive oil on top, toss on a few good olives and eat with pita bread. Tasty, light, nutritious and easy. My kind of food.

LOVE Fage and Chobani (sold at BJ's-big 'ol container). I'm a greek yogurt fanatic. (Plus, for some reason I don't have the health problems with it that I have with regular yogurt. No clue why.)

I eat yogurt every day, and I'll eat basically any brand, but I do have preferences. Dannon is probably my least favorite, but I'll buy the fruit-on-the-bottom style if it's on sale.

At the top of the heap is Liberté, a yogurt from Montreal, particularly the fruit-added versions which have no added sugar and are not particularly sweet. Superfresh sells it, so Giant probably does too. Then comes a Greek-style yogurt like Fage (I find Chobani too be excessively chalky. Oikos is merely ok.) I also enjoy Trader Joe's and Wegman's house brand yogurts.

Trader Joe's sells a full fat Greek yogurt that is pretty similar to sour cream. But, I've only seen it in large containers. At 18 grams of fat per serving, it is heavenly.

Make yogurt in my own home? Never!
I'd rather buy it than make it. And I promise you, as easy as it is - and I believe you that it's ridiculously easy -- it won't turn out right when I do it. It just won't, and that's all there is too it.

Take a mouthful of heavy cream, then a shot of white vinegar, shake your head violently then swallow..

Ta Da ..Yogurt or a reasonable likeness...eck uck yogurt

Trader Joe's has a full line of greek-style yogurts, all of which are delicious. The fat-free is very tasty, especially mixed with some fresh fruit -- any kind of fruit will do. The full-fat version is like heaven -- thick, creamy, and chock-full of calories. But, oh, what a lovely way to get those calories.

Fage is great.

I am also a big fan of Liberte Mediterranee yogurt. I can vouch for their Plum & Walnut and Strawberry flavors...both divine.

And their Coconut yogurt is crazy decadent. It's like dessert. So good.

Only whole milk.
In order of preference:
Brown Cow (cream top)
Stoneyfield (cream top)
If you mix in fresh fruit, you get used to the fact it's not sweetened quickly. I eat it every day.

Fage 2% Greek yogurt. It is as much like sour cream as anything else, and honey and chopped nuts taste delicious in it. I've seen it at Superfresh, in addition to Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. That said, TJ's Greek yogurt ain't half-bad either.

Silly human race.

By the way, Daniel Carasso, the namesake (and a longtime leader) of Dannon, died a few days ago, as noted in this New York Times obituary.

I can't remember the name, but there's this yogurt that I think is made from sheep's milk that comes in a bright green container that is exactly what you want. I find it a little milder than most plan yogurts I've tasted and it's a perfect texture.

You can definitely get it at all the local Whole Foods and at Atwater's. I've seen it a few other places too.

Having have a bad bout with c diff (have no clue how I got it and previous bouts of coilitis,I decided to try Activia and then Chobani, Chobani is thicker and better tasting in my opinion and seems to be helping my problem.

caroline u., c diff colitis usually comes from antibiotics. You should if you haven't already, get checked out from a Gastroenterologist if this is an on-going thing for you.

Any yogurt with active cultures is good for the GI tract. So, if Chobani is working and you like it, go for it.

Seven Stars Farm is definitely the best. It comes in plain, vanilla and maple. To make any plain yogurt a little better, I add a tiny bit of maple syrup.

While other businesses are shrinking, Fresh Healthy Vending is expanding and currently has career opportunities nationwide. Help us change the way America is eating by joining the team.

Post a comment

Verification (needed to reduce spam):

About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

Top Ten Tuesdays
Most Recent Comments
Baltimore Sun coverage
Restaurant news and reviews Recently reviewed
Browse photos and information of restaurants recently reviewed by The Baltimore Sun

Sign up for FREE text alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for dining text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Food & Drink newsletter
Need ideas for dinner tonight? A recommendation for the perfect red wine?'s Food & Drink newsletter is there to help.
See a sample | Sign up

Stay connected