Oh friends. I just love sitting down here with you and sharing what's in my head. Or in my heart. Or happening in my kitchen.
Today, it's a kitchen happening. A happening that I've been meaning to share for awhile.
It's not secret that I favor kitchen goodness that serves multiple purposes. Apple cider vinegar, for example, serves as a dressing, acid medium, marinade, cleaner, and hair conditioner. My homemade yogurt is another multi-tasker. Not only does it create delicious breakfast smoothies, but it also serves as a soaking agent for my flours, a probiotic-rich addition to my soaked granola, and now…a delicious base for homemade soft cheese.
That's right, my friends. It's yogurt cheese time.
Active time: 10 minutes.
Enjoyment time: Probably less than that if you're like me and inhale it down with the speed of a new Hoover.
Don't be intimidated – read through the steps and be completely under-impressed with how little effort I put into this delicious treat.
You will need:
– Plain yogurt, preferably homemade
– A piece of clean cheesecloth
– A wooden spoon
– A bowl
(It's no secret that I looooove my Villi Culture from Cultures for Health. This yogurt cultures at room temperature, which means all I have to do (literally) is pour milk over the half-cup of remaining yogurt I keep from each batch and let it culture on the counter for a day. You can read more about this method of yogurt making HERE and you can purchase the culture online HERE).
Homemade Yogurt Cheese
Step One: Set a bowl on the counter. Then, double-up a piece of cheese cloth.
Step Two: Pour two or three cups of cultured yogurt into the cloth and then gently lift up the sides of the cheesecloth to create a hammock of sorts for the yogurt. Tie the sides of the cloth into a loose knot and slip a wood spoon through the created knot.
Step Three: Now, we need to drain the whey off the yogurt. To do this, I jimmy-rigged a contraption that worked very well. Take a look:
You can use whatever setup works for you, but the premise is simple: the yogurt needs to be able to drain, so it needs to be elevated above the whey that will run off.
Step Four: Allow the yogurt to drain for about eight hours or until the whey has almost completely stopped dripping. After the yogurt is finished dripping, you can reserve the whey (if you wish).
Step Five: That's it. Yogurt cheese.
Now you have two options here. The first is to season the thick and creamy yogurt cheese with salt & herbs to create a delicious savory spread for crackers or fresh bread. The other alternative is to season the yogurt cheese with honey, vanilla, and cinnamon and use it as a topping over granola or fresh fruit.
Either way, you can't loose.
This time, I chose the savory option, and seasoned it with some fresh basil, rosemary, and salt. Then, I smeared it over a biscuit and…well, and then I ate it.
It's a simple recipe, but it's the little victories in the kitchen that keep ya going. I have a wonderful new book on artisan cheese-making and though I haven't the time nor resources for many of the cheeses at the moment, this cheese was a hit and will keep a place in the kitchen.
The bonus is it is made with ingredients I already keep on hand at all times, namely homemade yogurt.
If you haven't gotten around to culturing your own yogurt yet, consider this me peer-pressuring you to get started.
There's a million recipes and cultures out there for you to get enthusiastic about!
If you don't want to have to purchase a special culture to get started, read my oldie (but a goodie!) post on crock-pot yogurt HERE. All you need is some pasteurized milk and a small container of plain yogurt from the store.
Happy Friday, my friends! What special treats will YOU be culturing this weekend?!
P.S. For those of you who have been so kind as to ask, yes, we are surviving without the air conditioner. At least for the moment. Yesterday it rained in the afternoon which does wonders for cooling down this tropical town.
P.P.S. Speaking of the tropics, Stuart and I had to capture a lizard that had made it's way into our house and onto our kitchen table yesterday. A lizard. It my house. Are you kidding me?!
P.P.P.S. Actually, I guess that's all. Good day.