How to Make Icelandic Skyr

  • 01 of 07

    Nordic Cooking Lesson: How to Make Icelandic Skyr

    Icelandic Skyr (non-fat milk product)
    Bara K Kristinsdottir/Nordic Photos/Getty Images

    Anyone lucky enough to visit or live in Iceland knows all about skyr - the traditional Icelandic "yogurt" that has been made since the 9th century Viking era. Much, much thicker than American or even Greek yogurt, skyr is quite possibly the healthiest of yogurts. Made from non-fat milk combined with live cultures, it is low-fat, high in protein (containing three times the protein of ordinary yogurts), and absolutely loaded with probiotics.

    Only recently introduced to America (in 2005) by...MORE enterprising Icelandic expatriate Siggi Hlmarsson (under the brand name of "Siggi's Icelandic Style Skyr,", skyr can be hard to find unless you have access to Whole Foods, The Fresh Market (South East), or Haggen's (Pacific Northwest). As of 2012, it's also really pricey - $2.79 for a 5.5-ounce container.

    No worries, though - so long as you can find a single container of "Siggi's" plain or vanilla yogurt, you can use it as a culture to make your own skyr. If you can't find liquid rennet, a reliable supplier is's how.

    To make approximately 4 cups of Icelandic skyr, you will need:

    • 1-gallon non-fat milk
    • 1 5.5-ounce container "Siggi's" plain or vanilla skyr
    • 7 drops liquid animal rennet (or 4 drops liquid vegetable rennet)
    • 1/4 cup warm, non-chlorinated water
    • a reliable digital thermometer
    • a fine-meshed nylon vegetable bag or cheesecloth for draining the curds
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  • 02 of 07

    Santitize Your Supplies

    Before beginning, thoroughly sanitize all of your skyr-making equipment (bowls, whisks, measuring cup, spoon, mesh straining bag) either by rinsing them in boiling water or by removing them immediately from a hot dishwasher.

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  • 03 of 07

    The Icelandic Skald ... (oops. Scald).

    Bring the milk to a slow and steady simmer over a medium-high burner, heating it until it reaches the scalding point (use a thermometer to ensure it reaches 185°F-190°F), about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent scalding (if towards the very end of the heating process, you notice that the milk at the bottom of the pot has begun to scald, reduce the heat to medium-low and stop stirring. A small bit of scalding is o.k., but you don't want to release the scalded bits into the...MORE mixture).

    Turn the burner off immediately when the milk reaches the scalding point. Remove from burner and allow to cool to 110°F.

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  • 04 of 07

    Add your Skyr Culture and Rennet

    Combine 1 cup of the cooled milk with the skyr, then return the mixture to the pot, stirring to incorporate.

    Whisk the liquid rennet into the warm water, then stir immediately into the milk (the rennet will lose its effectiveness if prepared more than 30 minutes before using).

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  • 05 of 07

    Off to Bed with a Warm Blankie

    Cover the pot with a thick towel and keep in a warm, draft-free place (an oven or an insulated cooler) for 12 hours. After a good night's rest, it will be time to separate the curds (pictured here) from the whey.

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  • 06 of 07

    Drip and Dry

    Spoon the curds into a fine-meshed bag (nylon vegetable bags work great for this!) or a double-layer of cheesecloth. Suspend the bag over a dripping tray in a cool room or the refrigerator and allow to drain until the skyr is thick.

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  • 07 of 07

    Pucker Up!

    Skyr will keep for 3 or 4 weeks, covered, in the refrigerator. To serve as breakfast or a snack, top with milk, fresh berries, and sugar or honey to taste (warning for the uninitiated: skyr is far more sour than overly-sweetened American yogurts). Or use it to make tangy and refreshing desserts like frozen strawberry skyr.

    Per Serving: Calories 178, Calories from Fat 4 , Total Fat 0.4g 1%, Trans Fat 0.0g, Cholesterol 10mg 3%, Sodium 214mg 9%, Total Carbohydrates 25.0g 8%, Sugars 25.4g, Protein...MORE 18.4g, Vitamin A 20%, Vitamin C 0%, Calcium 64%, Iron 1%