Using yogurt as a healthy substitution in your cooking is a wonderful way to boost the protein and calcium in your foods while limiting fat and calories. Before you begin switching out ingredients, check out these crucial tips for cooking with yogurt.
It’s not always an even exchange
When you use yogurt as a substitution for fats and liquids in your cooking, it’s not always an even, cup-for-cup exchange. As a general rule, add the least amount that you think you’ll need and then add more yogurt in slowly. It will help you to avoid thinning your recipes out. Here are a few substitution ratios to keep in mind:
- Cut the oil in your recipes back by substituting 1/2 of the oil with 3/4 the amount of yogurt.
- When substituting butter with yogurt, replace 1/2 of the butter with 1/2 as much yogurt (so if a recipe calls for 1 cup butter, you would use 1/2 cup butter plus 1/4 cup yogurt).
- When baking, you can replace one egg with 1/4 cup yogurt.
Plain is paramount
If you cook with yogurt, it is important to make sure you use the plain kind. Accidentally throwing vanilla yogurt into your chicken salad will lead up to a memorable dish you’d prefer to forget. Depending on the recipe, you may choose to cook with Greek yogurt, plain, low fat or non-fat. Greek is a little tangier than plain yogurt, so it really lends itself to recipes like meat marinades, salad dressings, dips and potato dishes. Plain yogurt tends to work really well as a substitute in baking. The main thing to keep in mind is that they do have slightly different tastes and will impact your recipes differently.
Use yogurt wisely
Before you go crazy in the kitchen with yogurt as your new favorite ingredient, here are a few pointers for handling it in order to get the most out of it in your dish.
- Over-stirring yogurt will cause it to break down and thin out. Never vigorously stir, whisk or beat yogurt. Instead, fold it into your recipes to make sure you maintain its rich and creamy consistency.
- If you heat yogurt too quickly, it will separate into curds and whey. Avoid this unpleasant problem by making sure yogurt is at room temperature before adding it to a hot dish.
- Speaking of heating, it’s important to know that when yogurt is heated above 120 degrees F, it loses its beneficial bacteria.
- The acidity in yogurt can actually react negatively to aluminum. Avoid using aluminum foil or baking dishes when cooking with yogurt to avoid a potentially nasty reaction.
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