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by Nokki Nollason July 09, 2020 4 min read

The Viking people began to inhabit Scandinavia more than a thousand years ago, bringing with them various cultures. They mainly inhabited the area of ​​today's Iceland, where, in addition to many other things that made them different from other peoples, they brought a recipe for the preparation of a specific lukewarm product, called Skyr.

Due to its high-quality composition, Skyr was considered a Viking superfood.

In addition, according to some beliefs, the daily use of Skyr in the Icelandic diet is responsible for the long life of Icelanders.

Here is an interesting fact:

According to the recipe that the old Vikings brought with them, Skyr is made exclusively out of the milk obtained from cows living on Iceland.

However, due to the fact that there are only 30,000 milk cows in Iceland (which is not nearly enough to meet the demand), Skyr is now produced in many other countries as well.

Moreover, precisely because of the limited number of milk cows in Iceland, Skyr was not known outside the borders of Scandinavia until ten years ago. Today, on the other hand, you can find Skyr almost everywhere in the world.

What is Skyr?

Skyr is a dairy product, which has been a traditional Icelandic food for centuries and an indispensable part of Icelandic cuisine.

Although it is made from only two ingredients, like yogurt, Skyr as a final product is more reminiscent of cheese than yogurt.

The reason for this is that different bacterial cultures are used to produce Skyr, which act by converting the lactose found in milk into lactic acid.

The Vikings adored this product because it is rich in proteins, and the content of saturated fats in it is very small. Additionally, as it was produced by fermentation, Skyr was safe for consumption during long Viking journeys.

How to Make Skyr?

The milk intended for the production of Skyr is first gradually heated to 85 degrees Celsius and maintained at that temperature for at least 5 minutes. This process is called pasteurization. As the milk heats up, the milk fat and casein rise to the surface.

At this point, special bacterial cultures are added to the milk, as follows: Streptococcus salivarius subsp. (Thermophilus) and Lactobacillus delbruecki subsp. (Bulgaricus). After that, it is time to add rennet, which explains why it is that Skyr is considered more a type of sour cheese than yogurt.

Due to the process of fermentation and bacterial cultures, Skyr basically does not contain fat, and it is important to underline the small amount of sugar it contains. More precisely, Skyr contains one third less sugar than is found in ordinary yogurt.

Interestingly, almost four cups of milk are used to produce one cup of Skyr, while only one cup of milk is needed to make the same amount of yogurt.

This is the proof that Skyr is indeed a high-quality product and was rightly considered a Viking superfood.

Why is Skyr Recommended in the Diet?

Skyr is a product that is extremely rich in protein (11g per 100g of product). It is especially important to mention casein, a protein that is slowly released in the human body, which gives the body more time to absorb substances necessary for proper functioning.

Why are Proteins so Important?

Here are some of the reasons why proteins are important in our everyday diet:

  • They have a positive effect on blood sugar levels,
  • They contribute to the balance of appetite,
  • Thanks to them, in the process of resting, the body consumes more calories,
  • They prevent the breakdown of pure muscle mass,
  • They prevent the sudden return of lost weight.

And here are some of the benefits of including Skyr into your diet:

  • Skyr contains probiotic cultures that are very important for maintaining the balance of the digestive tract,
  • It contains very little saturated fat (about 0.6g per 100g of product),
  • Skyr also contains Calcium (Ca) and Potassium (K), which have a positive effect on bone health.

In addition to this, it is important to know that by ingesting one glass of Skyr (on average 170 g) we introduce the following into our bodies:

  • 110 calories,
  • 15-17g protein,
  • 7g of carbohydrates
  • Less than 1 g of saturated fat,
  • 26% of the recommended daily dose of phosphorus (P),
  • 20% of the recommended daily dose of calcium (Ca),
  • 17% of the recommended daily dose of vitamin B12,
  • 5% of the recommended daily dose of potassium (K),
  • 19% of the recommended daily dose of vitamin B2.

In addition, due to a large amount of protein (15-17g in one cup of 170g) that is present in Skyr, the immune system is strengthened, because antibodies are created that are very important in the fight against various infections.

(Skyr Recipe) Can Skyr be made at Home as Well?

To the great satisfaction of many, Skyr can be made at home.

Skyr recipe is as follows:

It takes 1 liter of skim milk and one tablespoon of commercial Skyr. If you want your yogurt to be thicker, add rennet.

Procedure:

Pour the milk into the pot and gradually heat it to a mild temperature of up to 95 degrees Celsius. All the time while the milk is heating, it is necessary to stir it. Once it has reached the desired temperature, keep it on the heat for about 10 more minutes. Now it is time to remove the milk from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature (approximately 39 degrees Celsius).

Add a tablespoon of Skyr to the cooled milk, and cover it with a kitchen towel. Let it sit at room temperature for about 15 hours.

After this time, your product should have reached the consistency of Greek yogurt and now you can add rennet to make it even thicker and creamier.

Strain the resulting Skyr and store it in the fridge. Use it in the next week or so.

Enjoy a delicious and healthy product, just like a real Viking!

Let's Wrap Up

In the end, whether you care about eating healthy food or just like to enjoy slightly different flavors, Skyr is one thing you simply have to taste. You can enjoy eating this yogurt at any time of the day without being afraid that you have taken in too many calories.

Vikings knew that Skyr was a product that worked for the benefit of their health, so why don't you try it also?!

Skål!


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