Skyr: The yogurt alternative you need to know about

Skyr is yogurt, but at the same time, it's not. Reminiscent of most of your other favorite cultured dairy products, Skyr (pronounced "ski-er") is to yogurt what gelato is to ice cream (via ChowHound). While it's creamy and mildly tart in taste like yogurt, this dairy product is far thicker and more versatile than items like traditional American-style kefirs

The product is typically made from the skim milk left behind in butter production, but far more liquid is drained off than during traditional yogurt production, leaving a thicker, high-protein product. The result is dense. In fact, according to Icelandic Provisions, their recipe takes almost four cups of milk to make one small cup of skyr.

The process used by well-known siggi's dairy is described as fairly simple by Jenna Amos, a Registered Dietician Nutritionist with the company. "Milk is heated gently and then cultures are added. After some time, the cultures activate and begin to ferment the milk (forming distinct curdles and the milky whey)," Amos told ChowHound. At this point, the liquid is removed, leaving a thicker, creamy paste we call skyr. If you're hearing curds and whey and thinking cheese, you are technically correct. Skyr is a bit of a hybrid dairy product but serves well as an open palette for a large variety of flavor profiles. Rarely eaten plain, skyr is typically paired with sweet breakfast or savory lunch and dinner foods. 

Skyr is a multipurpose spread

Clearly, we're sold on this yogurty, creamy, nearly-cheese spread, but how should you eat skyr? One suggestion is to put it on toast. siggi's dairy shares a delicious picture of toast and skyr topped with kiwi slices, halved blackberries, and a drizzle of honey (via Instagram). One thrilled follower commented, "Yogurt on toast is the best (heart eyes emoji)." Jenna Amos explained to ChowHound just how versatile skyr is compared to the everyday yogurt Americans enjoy at breakfast. "Skyr has been a staple of the Icelandic diet for over 1,000 years. It is consumed daily by most residents as part of breakfast, lunch, or dinner," Amos said.

Icelandic Provisions feels strongly about the right way to eat skyr. The company claims the Icelander-approved method of using skyr is adding fresh berries and a sprinkle of chocolate with a hearty helping of fresh cream, according to their website. Think of it as a fruity, sweet variation on cereal

But don't forget lunch and dinner too. Another recipe from siggi's goes back to toast again, but this time, it uses skyr as a crème fraîche-style spread topped with smashed avocado and cherry tomatoes (via Instagram). However you eat it, we're so very glad Iceland shared this versatile and tasty treat.