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I have a yoghurt-based sauce, e.g. yoghurt with garlic, pepper and salt, and I want to thicken it. Basically I don't want to change the taste, although minor changes are fine but I'd like to adjust its consistency.

How can I achieve that? What should I add to thicken cold sauce?

Potato flour is not an option as I don't want to warm the sauce.

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4 Answers 4

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The usual way is to use a thickener. Some of them require warming, but others do not. Guar or xanthan gum will work if used in the cold sauce. It is the easiest way. If you don't have them, yuo can use gelatine, but you'll have to dissolve it in warm liquid first and then add to the cold sauce, then wait to thicken. None of these will change the taste.

If you are from the "no additives" fraction, you can just use a thicker dairy product. I don't think the heavy whipping cream would be a particularly good fit to yogurt. The best choice would be a fermented product thicker than yogurt, e.g. sour cream or creme fraiche. But you can also use a cheese, although this will change the taste (without making it bad or too different from the original). Good choices would be cream cheese, ricotta, quark, tvorog or mascarpone.

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+1 for xanthum gum, it is an all natural additive. and should do the trick. And I think rumtscho is correct you are going to need something thicker than whipping cream. I would suggest draining the yogurt and making a yogurt cheese (like cream cheese). If you want it to be really thick you can actually just buy yogurt cheese at specialty stores. Or else make it yourself and take it as thick as you want. –  jeffwllms Jul 16 '11 at 19:13
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Mixing in Heavy whipping cream and whipping the mixture should give you a thicker consistency while maintaining cold temperatures and should not dilute the flavor, though you might want to adjust your yogurt/whipping cream proportions.

If you want an even more thick consistency, you might try butter. I would whip the butter first and then add your yoghurt sauce to mix it in.

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If the yogurt doesn’t contain modified food starch, gelatin, or gums, you could put the sauce in a coffee filter or cheesecloth lined strainer for a few hours to let some water release from the yogurt.

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When I make yogurt based sauces, cold (tzatziki) or hot (curries etcetera), I strain the yogurt to remove some of the liquid (whey), which thickens it. Greek yogurt is strained yogurt.

It isn't necessary to use additives for thickening.

I now use cheese cloth to do the straining. Stockings, towels and jelly bags are strainers I have used in the past, before I invested in a roll of cheese cloth.

It is simple to make thickened yogurt, half hour in the straining cloth gives good results.

Note: I always save the whey, and use it for something - add it to a pot of beans if nothing else.

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