Monday, February 1, 2016

Skyr – the basics

What is skyr?

Skyr is a traditional, typically Icelandic dairy product made of cow’s milk.

It’s comparable with low-fat curd, yoghurt or low-fat cream cheese. In fact, skyr is just like curd basically a form of cheese. For skyr similar bacterial strains and rennet are used as for other cheese, and whey is produced.

Pure skyr tastes pretty sour. That’s why most people don’t eat it just like that, but use it as a kind of basic ingredient. Skyr has a creamy consistency, especially if you mix milk into it. This consistency is more comparable to Greek yoghurt than to low-fat curd.

In the past, every household made their own skyr themselves. Usually this was women’s work. Making skyr is simple, but you have to pay attention to hygiene in your kitchen and it needs around two days until the skyr is ready. First you have to boil up the milk, then let it cool down. When it has about 40 °C, add either some skyr (1/2 Tbsp for 5 l low-fat milk) or lactic acid bacteria and add lab into it. These ingredients turn the milk into skyr.

By making skyr, you get a waste product called whey ("mysa"). You can use whey as diet beverage. But you also can process it to "mysingur" (creamy whey cheese) or to "mysuostur" (hard whey cheese). Both of them can be used to cook a very delicious whey cheese soup.


In the past, skyr was made with raw milk, mainly sheep’s milk. Nowadays, skyr is made with skimmed and pasteurized cow’s milk. Skyr is low in fat (0.2 - 0.5 %) and low in carbs (3 – 4 %), but high in proteins (10 – 12 %). 100 g of skyr a day is enough to cover 14 % of the daily needs of vitamin B2 and 13 % of the daily needs of calcium, this by having only 60 kcal.

That’s the main reason why skyr is good for a healthy diet.

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