Saturday, May 30, 2009

Making Yogurt Cheese

Yogurt cheese is really really simple to make... It's the creamy white cheese you get when the liquid whey drains from the yogurt. Not only does it taste great, but you know exactly what is in it. Yogurt cheese is mild in taste- and I started buying it because it is lactose free and pretty much au natural. Trader Joes carries 2 sliced yogurt cheese options- one plain and other with jalapeno- both are quite delicious. The one I am making is more like cream cheese in taste and texture, but just as yummy.
What you'll need:
1. Yogurt (I used Hawthorne Valley Farm - which is not only organic, but also biodynamic)
2. Sea Salt
3. Cheesecloth
4. Strainer
5. Bowl
6. Lid
To start, take almost 2 cups of yogurt (or more depending on how much yogurt cheese you want to make) and mix with a teaspoon of sea salt in bowl. Give it a good mix. My set up is a strainer, over a glass container lined with a couple of layers of cheesecloth. Pour the mixture into the cheesecloth.
The whey will start to drain out as you can see in this picture.
Cover with a lid and put in your refrigerator for 24-48 hours. It takes some time for the whey to separate from the curds (curds and whey) and get some shape.
Here it is after about 15 hours... More whey drained and it is becoming firmer. Then I gather into a ball and tie at top with a rubber band- strictly for shape. It still needs to drain some more and it goes back into the fridge for another 15 hours. As you can see - what the almost 2 cups make is pretty small. Next time I will probably make the whole quart.
Here it is all done- right before I took it out and put it on the plate. You can see how the texture changed. A little over a cup of whey drained and I am left with a little nice yogurt cheese ball that will fit in my hand. You can also flavor your yogurt cheese- use herbs, onion, garlic, etc and mix in when you start. Here is a recipe for spiced yogurt cheese Syrian style (lebneh).

Later today I will be eating my yogurt cheese with some Red Hot Blues chips (they are divine) by Garden of Eatin (no gmo + organic!)- along with olives, cucumbers, avocado and whatever else sounds good at the moment. Enjoy!

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