Kent never knows what he’ll find around here. I made a double batch of yogurt cheese last week so I could try some of the recipes in the most recent Wise Traditions Journal. More recently I'll make it sometimes when we end up with extra raw milk for whatever reason. For the bigger batch I needed my cheese to hang up higher than normal to drain, and this is what I came up with…hanging it from the dining room light. Classy, don’t you think? (Skip right to the ideas below if you're in a hurry…)
In this particular article, Jen Allbritton shared some great recipe ideas for getting more probiotics into our diets with raw yogurt cheese. As she explained, this cheese comes out creamy or crumbly, depending on how long it drains.
Read a few short excerpts from the article, “Growing Wise Kids – Enjoying Little Miss Muffet’s Curds and Whey”:
“Homemade curd cheese is a well-spring of nourishment. It is packed with protein, rich in healing fats (the best coming from properly raised grass-fed animals) and, most important, is an excellent digestive aid. Fresh, unripened cheese made from raw cultured dairy products is bursting with probiotic (pro-life) activity.
A hallmark practice among traditional cultures is to consume some sort of naturally preserved, lacto-fermented vegetable, fruit, beverage, meat and/or condiment at every meal. Tack homemade curd cheese onto your list of powerfully healing foods. And the best thing is, this cheese is so versatile, your family will be happy to include it in any meal!
Homemade, fresh curd cheese is the perfect complement or even replacement for sour cream in soups or dips and commercial cream cheese in spreads or desserts. It even does a fine job replacing mayonnaise on occasion. Best of all, curd cheese will take on any flavor, whether it be savory, salty, or sweet, so the sky is the limit when it comes to the possibilities with this ingredient. Heating homemade curd cheese will destroy the good bacteria, so I opt to keep mine raw as much as possible; however, there are times when it is the ideal choice for a certain soup or casserole – or you just have an excess supply.”
Which yogurt to use!
Important: you can use homemade yogurt to make this yogurt cheese–if it's made with raw milk you'll have a probiotic cheese as mentioned above! (Get yogurt starters and tutorials here. And here's my post on how to make homemade yogurt.) OR you can buy some yogurt, but be sure to get organic whole milk yogurt from grass-fed cows if possible!
How to make yogurt cheese and whey:
- I start by making homemade yogurt with my extra raw milk–my farmer friend Jenny from Six S Dairy has a simple way: she suggested taking a half-gallon of raw milk, stir 1/8 teaspoon of this culture into it, let set for 24 hours, then strain it. You'll know it's ready when it's all globby because the curds & whey separate. (Here are Jenny's exact instructions and a video too!)
- You could also make this with 2 quarts of whole milk organic yogurt from the store.
- Tie the corners together of a cheese cloth or thin dishtowels like these.
- Place a bowl under the cheese cloth.
- Pour yogurt into the middle of the cheese cloth.
- Hang on a cabinet knob or from a chandelier as pictured below, it's super classy looking for when company pops in. 🙂
- The whey will start dripping out.
- When it is done dripping (a few hours, depends on how dry you want it), I usually try to squeeze a few more drops out.
- What you have inside the dish towels is yogurt cheese, similar to cream cheese. Scoop this into a bowl and it will keep for 1 month in the fridge.
See below for all the recipe options!
Note that I use this yogurt cheese in recipes mostly, although some use it the same way they use store-bought cream cheese, on a bagel or cracker or whatever. It has a little different consistency, though, so keep that in mind.
What you have in the bowl is whey
This one gallon jar of whey is from when I made 3 batches of yogurt cheese (from 3 half gallon jars of milk):
Some drink it plain because it is so good for us, but I use it in my fermented veggies, in homemade bread, or in superfood smoothies. Here are more ways to use whey! My farmer friend, Jenny from Six S Dairy, said that she just uses it in place of the water, milk or buttermilk in recipes and they turn out great.
Here are the yogurt cheese recipes I’ve tried so far:
- Stuffed Shells
- Probiotic Fudgesicles – They’re really good…at least I thought so. (Read more at that link about my picky kids.)
- Yogurt cheese dip – I think it tastes like the yummy garlic Boursin cheese we often use in recipes. Play around with different herbs and spices to make various dips for crackers or chips. Or something similar: this veggie cream cheese dip. One another similar one showing all the variations you could try: Cream cheese dip with many variation options.
- I haven't tried it in cheesecake yet but plan to!
- Try this simple probiotic cream cheese frosting (recipe from a reader and guest-poster, Barb):
What else do you do with your yogurt cheese?
More you might like:
- Do you need a good probiotic supplement for when you need the “big guns”?
- Here's how to make cottage cheese from one of my farmer friends.
- Why raw milk is the best milk for us: Raw Milk Benefits and Information: Q & A with Mark McAfee
- By the way, the picture above is when I made a different kind of cheese, but I wanted you see how I tie it up.
A reader friend sent this pic of how she strains her whey – with a deep bowl and a strainer that sits on top. It's definitely not as attractive as my method, but it might work out better, especially if company is coming over. 😉