Are you a bit of a cream cheese fan? Me too! While this recipe doesn't actually produce the same cream cheese you would purchase in a little silver container in the dairy aisle it comes pretty close. The cheese produced here is produced overnight and takes very little effort but is closer to a fromage blanc, meaning it is a bit more tangy than what you would be used to picking up on your way home from work... but it is great for spreads and dips! I began making this simple cheese because I wanted the by-product: whey. Whey is very useful for lacto-fermenting condiments... which I do A LOT of. Why ferment foods you ask? Well, as Wellness Mama says, "Homemade salsa only lasts a few days in the fridge- Fermented homemade salsa lasts months! The same goes for sauerkraut, pickles, beets and other garden foods. Lacto-fermentation allows you to store these foods for longer periods of time without losing the nutrients like you would with traditional canning." I couldn't have said it better myself! I got tired of having to remake my condiments each week and started looking into ways to prolong the shelf-life and therefore use my time more wisely. This seemed like an easy way to make that happen as a single container of yogurt produced not only a creamy cheese that my ex-husband enjoyed as an onion dip (and others have used with fruit and jams to be included with breakfast and dessert!) but enough whey to last me the whole month for all of my condiments from dressings to ketchup to salsa and bbq sauce. It freed up a lot of my time but allowed me to eat healthy as well.
So... here's the how-to:
1. Fold cheesecloth over to make 6-8 layers.
NOTE: If you don't have/can't find cheesecloth then use a clean, very thin towel. I don't recommend this method as I have always used the cheesecloth but I have heard that it works just fine. The cloth must be very thin though or it will absorb too much of the whey.
2. Tie one side of the cheesecloth to the hanger and place the hanger on a cabinet handle or ledge.
3. Place a bowl beneath where the cheesecloth will be hanging and drape the, now hanging, cheesecloth in the bowl.
4. Put the yogurt into the cheesecloth.
5. Tie the other side of the cheesecloth to the hanger.
6. Insure that the bowl is directly beneath the hanging cheesecloth.
7. Check back in the morning... you should have cheese in the cloth and whey in the bowl.
NOTE: If you do not want to use a hanger you can place the cheesecloth, centered, over the bowl. Then place the yogurt in the cheesecloth. Finally, use 1 rubber band to close the cheesecloth and the other to attach it to the cabinet door.
8. Place the whey in an airtight container and place in the fridge. It will last at least a month so long as you made to sure to strain out all of the yogurt. The whey will be a slightly yellow tinted translucent liquid.
9. Place the cheese in a separate airtight container and place in the fridge. The cheese will last about a week in the fridge.
Curious where I get my ingredients? I get my ingredients all over the metroplex, on Amazon and through Young Living as a distributor. Don't want to search out stores to pick them up? I'll make it easy! You can place an order through me for any oils you may need and here are some quick links for the non-perishable ingredients and tools on Amazon should you wish to order online: