Saturday, January 14, 2012

Cream Cheese

Cream cheese! Well. . . kind of. Though I found this method of making cream cheese on a few different websites, and they all called it "cream cheese," I wouldn't say this is like store bought cream cheese. In reading various comments and things, many people called it "yogurt cheese," or "farmer's cheese." I am going to call it "Yogurt-Flavored Cream Cheese."
Although it's not exactly what you'd get from the store, it IS incredibly easy to make.

Cream Cheese
Plain yogurt (I used my homemade yogurt)

(I REALLY need to figure out this new camera of mine)
 Grab a strainer, some cheesecloth or a tea towel, and a bowl. Oh, and some twine or rubber bands.
I doubled my cheesecloth over to make 4 layers. Lay it over your strainer, which is placed on top of your bowl, and pour in some yogurt! As much as you'd like.
 Next, gather up all the edges and use either some kitchen twine or a rubber band to secure it.
You want to hang this bag over your bowl, so figure out how you want to hang it. I used the same twine to hang it from my kitchenaid with the bowl underneath. :)
Within seconds you can start to see some liquid draining out. Now, depending on how much yogurt, how fine your cheesecloth/towel, the time will vary as to how long you'll need to let this hang. Start with 7 hours and then check on it. After 7 hours, I stirred it up a bit and let it hang for another 2 hours.
 Once it's done, it should look like creamy, room temperature cream cheese!
Go ahead and scrape the cheese out into a container. It should keep for 2 weeks. If you taste it, you'll see what I mean by yogurt-flavored cream cheese. I don't know if I would use this on a bagel, but mixed into mashed potatoes or chicken or something, HECK YES!

Extra notes: After making this, I did a little more research on cream cheese. This is not traditional cream cheese, which typically uses mesophilic m or rennet. I also read many comments about leaving yogurt sitting out for so long. I couldn't seem to find a definitive answer about it. Many people say that if you use raw milk, then leaving it out is totally fine. And then some people say that it doesn't matter either way. For my homemade yogurt, I used organic whole milk and organic plain yogurt as a starter. I used that yogurt for this cheese. Both Brad and I tasted it and are still perfectly healthy, so i'm going to side with the people who say it's all good. :)
OH! I also saw comments about hanging it up in the fridge. I haven't tried that method, but if you're paranoid about bacteria, give it a go and let me know how it turns out! Also, that leftover liquid is Whey. You can totally use it! Replace it for the water in bread recipes, pancakes, biscuits, waffles, etc. . . It adds some good nutritional value. :)

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