Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Say Yogurt Cheese!

Jessica asked about my homemade herbed yogurt cheese, so today I'm going to provide you with the best resources I have found to make both yogurt and yogurt cheese. Making yogurt and yogurt cheese is really easy and so rewarding. I hope you try it!

I discovered this ingenuous method of making yogurt last year and have used it successfully many times since. (I don't own a microwave so I heat my milk on the stove top. I don't have a food thermometer either, so I use the 'stick a finger in it' method the author describes.) I have a two cup, widemouthed soup thermos that I picked up second hand a while ago and it works perfectly for making just the right amount of yogurt for one. I have used larger thermoses that have a more narrow opening, but they can be a bit tricky to clean. They still work, but if you can find a thermos with a wide opening, the clean up is much easier.

For anyone out there who hasn't made yogurt because they think they need special equipment, this method is for you!

Once you have your yogurt, homemade or store bought, you're ready to make yogurt cheese. (If you are going to use store bought yogurt, use the unsweetened kind with no gelatin or other additives. If you live in the NCR, I highly recommend Pine Hedge yogurt. It's local, organic and you can buy it in returnable glass jars. Most importantly, it tastes heavenly!)

Rhonda-Jean has a great post on making yogurt cheese.

And here is a good video to check out as well.


wendyytb said...

Thank you for posting this, Amber. i am making two lots of yogurt today... One for eating, and one for cheese!

Jessica said...

Thanks so much! Those instructions are great. I just need to find a thermos-- I bet my mom has one hanging around.

When you add the herbs, do you just mix them in with the yogurt before you strain it? What kind of herbs do you use?

Jes said...

no thermos required. A mason jar filled with milk (don't even have to boil or heat it) with about three tblsp of powdered milk (optional helps make a thicker yogurt) and either 1/4 cup of yogurt with active bacteria or fresh bacteria. Seal the jar and give it a good shake (mixes the ingredients). Place in your cold oven. Turn on the oven light.and leave 24hrs. Voila! Yogurt.

Looking forward to trying yogurt cheese! Thank you.

Amber said...

Hi Wendy! Hope your yogurt adventures turned out!

Jessica, I add the herbs after the whey has drained off and just mix them in with a fork, then I let it sit for at least a couple of hours in the fridge for the flavours to work through. Yummy!

Jes, really? You can do it without heating anything up? Wow, that makes things even easier!

You know, I find it really interesting how much independence we give over to companies, industry, corporations etc seemingly in return for convenience and standardised quality. Yet I wonder if we aren't really losing something essential in the bargain?

Personally, I think I would definitely be missing out if I relied on commercial yogurt products that are more packaging, HFCS and other additives than anything else.

Uh...kinda went off on a rant there. Sorry. Does that make sense?

I guess what I'm trying to say is that if I rely on Danone, for example, with it's gazillion 'yogurt products' in various shapes and sizes and the grocery store for my yogurt, I give up the knowledge, the collected wisdom, of being able to do it myself and the pleasure and joy that comes from that. I give up control on how it is manufactured, what ingredients are in it, how it is shipped... I give up control over the impact it has on the environment. And when I think about it, I don't know that it's any cheaper or saves me more time than doing it myself.

Ok, maybe I'm really stretching here thinking of homemade yogurt as a symbol of empowerment and freedom, but then again I can't help but feel like there is something of substance to that thought.

Here's to changing the world one homemade batch of yogurt at a time!