Just a quick post to say that this week, I took my homemade yogurt one step further. At the suggestion of several readers, I made yogurt cheese. It is the simplest cheese imaginable, requiring only a few steps, and no cooking, no rennet, no enzymes. Just some cheese cloth that will help separate the solid parts of yogurt from the liquid.
Yet it took me a long time to attempt yogurt cheese. Here’s why: it always seemed to involve hanging cheese cloth from something, and that is where I got stuck, always. Where, oh where would I hang cheese cloth in my house? How would I keep it safe from wandering, counter-leaping dogs, or friendly, fiesty field mice? Where do these people who hang cheese cloth live?
So this week, I simply put a few layers of cheese cloth in a strainer, plopped the whole strainer over a bowl, and put a big dollop of yogurt right in the middle. The whole contraption looked like this:
(this shot reminds me of our bed when we lived in west Africa, the gauzy mosquito net under which we slept every night. Which sounds romantic, but the truth is, when I look back on that bed, with the lizards that leapt down upon us from the ceiling, the roaches that lived beneath our mattresses, the buzzing, malaria-ridden mosquitos that invariably found their way in, leaving us with 106-degree fevers and night sweats, romance is not exactly what leaps to mind).
Then I put the whole thing in the fridge, and left if for twelve hours.
“It won’t work,” I said to myself, as I walked away from the fridge. “It’s impossible. The yogurt will drip right through, intact. I’m going to wind up with a bowl of yogurt, and a messy cheese cloth.”
But would you believe? It worked. After a while, I was left with this:
These are the curds. The watery liquid, the whey, drained away from the curds into the bowl.
Now I’m told that the whey can be used in place of liquid when making bread or muffins. I’m also told it can make fantastic lacto-fermented foods. But I did the simplest thing: I just drank it. I just couldn’t let all the good nutrition go to waste. It wasn’t terrible; it tasted like concentrated yogurt. One small cup was enough.
As for the curds? Holy healthy alternative to cream cheese, Batman! It makes a lovely spread for bagels or toast. I ate it plain, but next time, I’m going to add chives and dill, and maybe a touch o’ garlic.
Here, by the way, is the rainbow that appeared outside my kitchen window on the evening I made the yogurt cheese:
And I’m pretty sure if you make yogurt cheese, you too will have a rainbow appear outside your window. No, really. I’m almost certain of it. Happy Friday, all.