20 October 2010

making yogurt cheese

Cheesemaking is a forbidden fruit in our home.  I'm not sure why.  Something about "impractical" and "tiny kitchen".  Once I found out about yogurt cheese, however, I threw caution to the wind and decided that I would take a small leap into the world of cheesemaking.

Yogurt cheese couldn't be simpler.  You need plain yogurt and some sort of sieve/draining set-up.  I laid several layers of cheesecloth inside a mesh colander and placed that in a medium-sized bowl.  I've also heard you can use a dish towel with a fine weave or even a coffee filter.  You just need something to strain the liquid from the yogurt and something to collect the liquid.

Spoon the yogurt into the cheesecloth-lined colander, or your preferred set-up, and cover.  I just twisted the cheesecloth up into a knot, but you could cover yours with plastic wrap if you'd like.  Set aside in the refrigerator.  Check on it occasionally and empty the bowl of liquid (that's whey, if you're down with cheesemaking lingo) when necessary.  You can give the yogurt a few presses and squeezes to speed up the process.  Once the yogurt has reached a cream cheese consistency, you've made it!  You just made your own cheese. Ain't nobody gonna hold you down.  Oh no.  You've got to keep on moving.

From what I've read, the process is quite flexible; let it drain for only a few hours, drain it overnight or leave it for a few days.  The longer you drain it, I think, the firmer the cheese.  I started this after work, checked on it a few times throughout the evening and then let it sit overnight.

Plain yogurt cheese tastes like plain yogurt with a thicker consistency.  Not much of a surprise there.  I added a pinch of sea salt, ground black pepper, fresh shredded basil, thinly sliced scallions and crushed garlic, a la this recipe.  What a difference that made!  Use it as a spread for crackers, in sandwiches or with a generous hunk of crusty homemade bread.

Would you make your own cheese?  Do you have a cheesemaking ban in your household?  Are there many other households in which such a topic is discussed?  I don't know if I'll make actual cheese anytime soon, but I'm intrigued...

3 comments:

  1. This sounds really interesting. At first read I wasn't sure because I expected it would taste bland, but reading about the additional ingredients has made me curious enough to try it someday! Thanks!

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  2. Yep, plain yogurt cheese is definitely bland but if you add some savory seasoning in there it's awesome! A good dip/spread substitute or even cream cheese substitute.

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  3. You have inspired me here...looks yummy!!Warmest Regards,Cat

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