Tuesday, May 6, 2008
A few posts back, I wrote about making yogurt at home. That yogurt can easily be made into yogurt cheese, simply by draining the whey (liquid) from it over the course of a day or two.
I use a little cone-shaped plastic strainer, somewhat like this one, that I picked up somewhere. There are all kinds of yogurt strainers available, or you can devise your own using a regular small colander or strainer and a basket-type coffee filter or some cheese cloth.
There is really no recipe, and no work to it. Simply spoon yogurt into the strainer, cover the top with a little plastic wrap, place it in refrigerator, and let the whey drain away from the milk solids. After several hours, place a small weight (such as a canning jar partially filled with water) on top of the plastic wrap to press out more of the whey. Keep straining the yogurt until it is the consistency you want. You can usually count on losing half the volume in whey (1 cup yogurt will yield about 1/2 cup of yogurt cheese).
Yogurt cheese made from plain yogurt can be used in any recipe that calls for cream cheese. Yogurt cheese made from sweetened or flavored yogurt makes a nice spreadable cheese for bagels or to use in some cheesecakes and frostings.
As with the homemade yogurt, there is some savings to be had by making yogurt cheese instead of buying cream cheese. However, the better reason to make it may be the taste. I like it much better than commercial cream cheese, which I sometimes find has a gummy texture. Yogurt cheese seems to me to have a lighter texture and better flavor.
I almost forgot...don't throw away the whey! Use it as part or all of the liquid in your favorite bread, cake, pancake or biscuit recipe for added flavor and nutrition.
Posted by Annie Jones at 11:16 AM