Greek yogurt makes baked custard grainy and sour.

Can Greek Yogurt Be Used in Place of Heavy Cream in Baking?

by G.D. Palmer

Greek yogurt, also known as strained yogurt, is high in protein and relatively low in fat. Many cooks substitute it for richer dairy ingredients to produce healthier dishes. It performs very well in cold soups and sauces, but Greek yogurt's low fat content works against it in baking. You can still use it instead of heavy cream or other fatty dairy products, but you might need to adjust your recipe to ensure success.

1. Texture

The straining process that produces Greek yogurt makes it much thicker than cream. Some chefs recommend thinning this product to the same consistency as cream in order to prevent dry or overly dense baked goods. Even at the right consistency, Greek yogurt can affect the texture of your finished product, however. It tends to produce slightly heavier baked goods with a moist crumb.

2. Richness

Greek yogurt contains anywhere from zero to 10 percent fat, depending on the type. Heavy cream tends to contain about 36 percent fat. The lower fat content of Greek yogurt means that it produces baked goods with a less rich texture and flavor. To mitigate this problem, use full fat Greek yogurt whenever you need to substitute for heavy cream. Avoid using yogurt in applications that rely on the fat content of cream, such as baked custards.

3. Flavor

Baking with Greek yogurt adds a tangy flavor to your breads, pastries and other recipes. This works well in applications that already include some tartness, such as lemon cream cake. It can add an unexpected sourness to other dishes, however. Choose brands of Greek yogurt that have a relatively mild taste to ensure a product closer to that intended by the recipe.

4. Creams and Fillings

Greek yogurt works very well as a cream in applications that don't require heating, such as fillings and toppings for baked goods. You can whip it with powdered sugar to produce a soft, creamy substitute for whipped cream. Use one part sugar for every four parts yogurt. Beat the mixture with an electric mixer until it becomes creamy and light. Use the whipped yogurt within two days.

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