Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Yogurt Cheese. Yum.

Whenever I make yogurt cheese, I think of a certain nursery rhyme...

Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet
Eating her curds and whey.
Along came a spider
And sat down beside her, 
and frightened Miss Muffet away!

Actually, "curds and whey" is cottage cheese (you have to curdle the milk to get curds).  But still Little Miss Muffet accompanies my every yogurt cheese endeavor...

Yogurt cheese is very easy to make, highly nutritious, and a great alternative to sour cream or cream cheese. 

Essentially, you separate the solids in the yogurt from the whey (liquid).  I used to do this by tying a cheese cloth to the opening of a large jar and plopping yogurt into it - I'd end up with yogurt cheese in the cheese cloth and whey in the jar.    Then I got a yogurt cheese maker, simply because it is so much easier to clean than cheese cloth.  It's all the same concept, though.  You can use a tea towel, cheese cloth, coffee filter, etc.  Drain out the liquid overnight.

Even more simply...

Strain it overnight through something with a really fine mesh.

You get this creamy, slightly tart, yumminess.  (If you don't strain it long enough, you get Greek yogurt.  Still yummy, just not as thick or spreadable.)

I make this with whatever yogurt we have left as I go to make more.  This time we ate it all in one meal - as sour cream on tacos.

One of my favorite ways to eat this is with fresh dill mixed in, and then spread over toasted sourdough bread.  You can mix whatever you like into this and use it as you use sour cream or cream cheese, though it doesn't melt like cream cheese.

And what about the whey? (And, yes, those are plain ol' store-bought, probably GMO corn tortillas you see!)
The whey is also very nutritious.  Lots of protein, more of those great cultures, etc.  There are all kinds of ways to consume it, though some will heat it enough to kill the cultures.  Some ideas include drinking it straight, substituting for some of the water in a bread recipe, lacto-fermenting some vegetables or soaking some grains (I haven't tried either), dumping it in some soup, cooking rice in it, cooking beans in it.  I read somewhere that it would be good to wash your face with, but I haven't tried it.  I'd rather eat it!

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