Sunday, January 6, 2008

When Life Hands YouToo Much Yogurt, Make Cheese?

Last Tuesday, I was making a black-eyed peas recipe that required about 2 tablespoons of yogurt, but the smallest quantity of unflavored yogurt I could find in the store was a giant one quart tub! I suppose I could have driven around to other places to find a small container, but it was New Year's Day and I wasn't in the mood for a scavenger hunt. So whaddaya do with all this extra yogurt? You make cheese, that's what. I remember my Arab uncles doing this--draining the yogurt in cheesecloth until it turned into a cream cheese-like consistency, separating it into balls and storing it in olive oil. Don't know if I'll go quite that far, but I've put the whole mess in a sieve lined in paper towels, closed them up with a twist tie, placed it over a bowl to drain in the fridge, and we'll see what happens.

Maggie looks as if to ask, "What the hell are you doing now, Mommie Dearest?"

Details at 11:00...

Update: It's Monday, 6:00 pm. The yogurt has lost lots of water and is considerably thicker, but I can't say it's crossed over into cheese. I re-wrapped it in fresh paper towels. put it back in the strainer and put a heavy bowl on top of it to see if I can get it more dense. The experiment continues...

Tuesday morning, I can finally call it cheese. That's about 32 hours or so of draining. It's thicker than sour cream, and not quite as thick as cream cheese. I used nonfat yogurt, so this is a nonfat cheese. I am wary of fat-free food, as I usually think it lacks something essential--namely, fat. But this tastes quite good!

For breakfast, I spread a generous amount on toated homemade bread and topped it with Judy Boothby's Moxie Marmalade.


Karen said...

Hi Janine,
Question. Do I have to use whole milk yogurt or can I use low fat yogurt? I'm trying to stay totally organic when it comes to dairy especially, and it sounds like fun to make this. I might mix some smashed strawberries and a few drops of buckwheat honey into it and make a nice schmear for my organic wheat toast.

Janine Serresseque said...

Cousine, I used fat free yogurt, and that was even pretty good. I think a teeny bit of fat could only improve it. And I think it would lend itself to any kind of flavoring, sweet or savory. Let me know how it turns out! My mom says you were there to visit! I hope you all had a grand time! Love you lots.