Flavored Yogurt
Exercise Checklist:
Estimated Time
5-10 minutes
Serves 4-6
  • 2 cups of Plain Yogurt
  • 1-2 large Basil Leaf(s), (Chiffonade)
  • 1 tblsp Shaved Almonds
  • 1 tblsp Vanilla Sauce
  • 1 tblsp Raspberry Sauce
  • 1 tblsp dried Cranberries
  • 1/2 cup Raspberries
  • 1/2 cup Strawberries
Tools & Equipment
  • Cutting Board
  • Chef's Knife
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Measuring Cup
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Serving Spoon

The actual, mechanical act of flavoring Yogurt, is not complicated. However, there are some methods that can be employed to improve your taste profiles and presentations. You can give a tub of "$2 Plain Yogurt" added value and a chef's Flair. Also, making your own Flavored Yogurts gives you more control than just buying a plastic tube of Yogurt flavored with some cheap, corn-sweetened, faux-fruit spread at the bottom. As we mentioned in the previous exercise, Yogurt is most popular as a breakfast, brunch or lunch item with means that sour Yogurt does not work as well earlier in the day when we have an affinity for sweeter tastes. Most of the preparations that Teaching Chef demonstrates in the Instructional Video are sweetened dishes and our focus in this exercise will be on sweeter Yogurts. That being said, the techniques and thought processes laid out below are still equally applicable to savory, spicy or herbaceous Yogurts as well.

Teaching Chef begins his preparation with his mise en place laid out for 3 sample Yogurts. On his work space he has a Raspberry Sauce, Vanilla Sauce and Powdered Sugar, dried Cranberries, Almonds, fresh Raspberries, Basil, Mint, and plain Yogurt. All of his ingredients are cool because Yogurt should remain cool to encourage the active cultures. Teaching Chef uses a plain Yogurt, though a Greek Yogurt would work equally well. Using a Greek Yogurt will yield a creamier, denser taste and a slightly more caloric end product. Though Teaching Chef does not have it in his Mis en Place for this exercise, Muesli and Granola's with Strawberries, are perfect ingredients to consider when making your own Yogurts.

The first Flavored Yogurt Teaching Chef creates is the simplest, a plain Yogurt. *Notice Teaching Chef’s spooning technique. He is very focused and uses a vertical drop method. The vertical drop is very linear without a lot of lateral or jerky movement. Moving smoothly and in line avoids a lot of flinging and/or splattering which in turn keeps everything looking neat. In the case of a clear serving vessel keeping the presentation neat and clean is half (maybe a quarter) of the battle. Even with his technique, a bit of Yogurt hit the rim of the serving bowl. Teaching Chef’s ever-present kitchen towel is the solution. He just carefully wipes away the errant bit of Yogurt. With a plain Yogurt plated as a baseline, Teaching Chef can move on to the first of his Flavored Yogurts in this exercise: Vanilla Yogurt. The goal in this first Flavored Yogurt is to add a bit of sweetness to offset the naturally bitter taste, of Plain Yogurt. Teaching Chef uses a Vanilla Sauce (poached from the Pastry Chef's) to contrast with the acidic taste. However, he could just as easily have used Sugar or Honey. Also, you can get Vanilla flavor into a Yogurt by using Vanilla Extract, but the thin, alcohol-based extract won’t yield the same rich, thick texture or sweetness of a Vanilla Sauce.

Notice that Teaching Chef mixes his batch of Flavored Yogurt in a separate mixing bowl. Using a separate bowl helps keep the presentation pristine which is another factor that separates the cooks from the chef's. With the Flavored Yogurt mixed to his satisfaction, Teaching Chef measures out a portion of Vanilla Flavored Yogurt into the serving bowl. He uses the same careful vertical spooning technique to try and keep the clear sides of the bowl free of Yogurt. If you watch carefully, you will see that he missed a spot. Hopefully, Teaching Chef will catch that dab of Yogurt when he garnishes all of the Yogurts towards the end of the video.

The final Flavored Yogurt in this exercise, is a Raspberry Yogurt. The practice of creating the Raspberry Yogurt is similar to that for making the Vanilla Yogurt. Add flavoring ingredient to your taste and then mix to your satisfaction. In this case, Teaching Chef has a few errant drops that are wiped away before passing the Raspberry Yogurt on. Once he has portioned out his three Flavored Yogurts, Teaching Chef brings them all back for additional Flair in the form of a garnish. “What’s a chef to do?” The garnishing choices are actually endless. He lays out a number of good options to give you an idea of how you might think about garnishing the blank canvas of your Flavored Yogurts. The goal is to compliment and improve the overall color, taste, freshness and presentation.

For the Raspberry Yogurt, Teaching Chef chooses to expand on the Raspberry flavor by adding "like to like." To bolster the Raspberry flavor of the flavored Yogurt, he adds some fresh Raspberries. Adding Raspberries brings some color, flavor and texture to the dish but equally importantly the Raspberries signal elegantly (and non-verbally) to a diner, as clearly as a written card, "What flavor the reddish-pink Yogurt is." Labeling the Flavored Yogurt in this fashion improves the diners comfort level and helps avoids any unpleasant surprises from those who can’t eat Raspberries (allergies for example) or don’t eat Raspberries (preference).

At this point there are a lot of reds and pinks in the serving bowl. Some color contrast might improve the visual appeal of the Raspberry Flavored Yogurt. Teaching Chef considers a few options and even eye-balls a Basil Leaf, against the Raspberries. In the end, he chooses to forgo adding a contrasting taste and color to the Flavored Raspberry Yogurt. Another option could have been to go with Mint Leaves which are a nice compliment to Raspberries. Choosing to forego using the green Basil leaves with the red/pink Raspberry Flavored Yogurt, Teaching Chef, instead finely Chiffonades the Basil and uses the results with some Toasted Almond Slivers to Garnish the Vanilla Flavored Yogurt, where the color difference between Yogurt and Herb are less glaring. The smaller pieces of the Chiffonade will be an easier bite, be a similar size as the Almonds and mesh nicely, visually, with the caramel and white tones of the Nuts.

Finally, Teaching Chef dresses up the plain Yogurt with some dried Cranberries. He adds a piece of Fennel sprig to provide some contrasting color and flair. Finally, he completes the presentation with a sprinkle of Cinnamon Sugar on top. The Cinnamon Sugar will add some sweetness and some more color, which helps elevate even a plain Yogurt from a portion of cheap fermented Milk, to a well-dressed item that will command a 50% - 100% premium.