A Probiotic from Iceland Everyone Should Try

A Probiotic from Iceland Everyone Should Try

Nish BagaiSep 20, '17

There is an Icelandic dairy food, known as skyr (which is pronounced as “skeer”) that is becoming increasingly popular. This probiotic is a type of yogurt, actually, and it is both healthy and delicious. It’s something you can eat on the go as part of an active lifestyle, and it is similar to Greek yogurt in texture and taste. Its probiotic benefits are also similar.

Skyr is made from milk cultures, and while it may not be very easy to find in Australia, it’s readily available in the United States. Most supermarkets and health food stores keep it in their dairy section.

It is actually starting to creep up on Greek yogurt as the new healthy yogurt of choice for dieters and fitness enthusiasts alike. We have seen it recently introduced as a new superfood into Australian markets but it has yet to gain a real foothold here.

The question a lot of people have abut it is whether it is yogurt or not. It’s very similar, for sure, with nearly identical consistency and ingredients, but many Icelanders prefer to think of skyr as a type of cream cheese.

The difference between skyr and other dairy products is the bacteria cultures and the manufacturing process. These are what make it unique. Icelanders use whey when they make yogurt to ensure it is preserved. A by-product of that process is skyr, and we suggest trying Greek yogurt and skyr side by side so that you can tell the difference.

Skyr has actually been used by Icelandic families for more than a thousand years, and it’s an integral part of the country’s culture and cuisine. There are some records showing that this cheese/yogurt concoction was made as far in the past as the ninth century, and it’s something that is suspected to have originated with the Vikings.

The Benefits

  • Skyr has been an important part of Icelandic traditions for centuries, and we want to look now at some of its benefits.
  • It’s rich in probiotics, just like Greek yogurt is. These improve your digestive health, and there is just as much of them in skyr as in Greek yogurt.
  • It is also packed with protein, containing about 11 grams of protein for every 100-gram serving.
  • A single 170-gram serving of skyr contains about a fifth of all the calcium you need for the day, protecting against bone loss and bone disease.
  • This yogurt is also packed with nutrients, such as vitamin B12 and phosphorus.
  • It can help with weight loss as well, and the protein skyr contains provides a sense of fulness that keeps you from eating more than you should. It’s also less fatty than many other yogurts because it is made with skim milk.

How to Make Your Own Skyr

You may already know that you can make Greek yogurt at home, and you can do the same with skyr. It’s pretty easy to do. Just take a little skyr bought from the store to start with. You only need a tablespoon. Set that apart and pour a litre of skim milk into a cooking pan and place it on the stove to warm at a low heat for about 15 minutes. You want to stir it so it won’t stick. Your mixture then needs to cool to about 39° Celsius. Once it hits room temperature, you can whisk in the skyr culture you saved out.

Next, cover your mixture with a kitchen towel and leave it to stand for 12-15 hours. That should give it time for the whey and curds to separate. You can strain the whey to make the batch thicker or add some of it in to make it thinner. You can keep your finished skyr in the fridge for a about a week.

If you make it homemade like this, then you get something that’s much closer to original skyr than what you would buy in a store. A lot of that you buy at supermarkets and groceries are sweetened and filled with additives to make them taste more palatable. Many of the store brand skyr products are hardly related to actual skyr any longer, due to how many artificial additives are in it.

A New Superfood for Your Diet

Skyr has years of tradition behind it and lots of benefits to offer, and that’s why we recommend it as a part of any healthy person’s diet. It’s best to buy the sweetened and raw tub of skyr, as opposed to something that has been tainted and flavoured. You will get more health benefits from that. It can be part of a meal or a nice snack to have anywhere. You can add some flavour by mixing in some nuts, honey or your favourite fruits.

You can also make it at home to enjoy a lot of natural benefits that the store-bought versions might not have. If you have ever had Greek yogurt before, you should know that skyr is pretty similar, but you should try it out for yourself and see how it compares.

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