noun| \'skir\ :
an Icelandic dairy product made by fermenting milk, better known as strained yogurt
Skyr is a strained yogurt that has been a staple of the Icelandic diet since the Vikings settled more than 1,100 years ago. Skyr is even mentioned in some of the Sagas, the famed stories about the Vikings and early Icelandic history and settlement. Skyr today is almost only made with cow’s milk but was originally made from both the milk of sheep and cow.
Here's how it was made:
Butter has a longer shelf life than yogurt so to help get through tough Icelandic winters the farmers would first skim the cream from the summer’s bounty for churning then the remaining skim milk was used for yogurt making.
The skim milk was used to make the yogurt by heating it up and culturing it most often using a bit of the last skyr batch as a starter. Sometimes an age-old method to gather cultures was used: the farmers would place a few cups of milk outside overnight to capture cultures from the air. The cup that “curdled” the best would be used as starter.
The yogurt was then strained in batches using cloth. Like milk, regular yogurt is mostly water, but when the skyr is strained that water goes out in the form of whey, leaving behind a thick, protein-rich yogurt.
The whey that was strained out was then used as an everyday refreshing beverage or in pickling. There are even stories of fermenting whey to create a mead-like alcoholic drink.
Like all yogurt, skyr is made by incubating skim milk with live active cultures. Unlike most yogurt, though, the whey is then strained off to make a thick, creamy, and concentrated yogurt. Skyr is similar to other strained yogurts, including Greek yogurt, labneh, and shrikand, except that skyr is usually strained more, making it even thicker.
skyr is high in protein, a good source of calcium, and contains probiotic bacteria. Calcium is important for bone health, and probiotics help to maintain a healthy gut. As with any yogurt, make sure to check the nutrition facts and ingredients to ensure you are choosing a product with a short ingredients list and minimal added sugar (less than 11 grams per 5.3oz serving).
siggi’s is the first brand of Icelandic-style skyr to be made in the U.S. Not long after moving to New York from his native Iceland, Siggi Hilmarsson found himself missing skyr, which he ate all the time growing up. He also found the yogurt on the shelves in the U.S. too sweet; he wanted subtle flavor and less sugar.
In 2005, Siggi started making skyr in his kitchen and by 2006 began selling it at a local farmers market. People fell in love and within a few years, siggi’s skyr was available in grocery stores nationwide.