Yogurt cheese isn’t really cheese at all, but yogurt that is thickened to a soft, cream cheese-like consistency. I made it with little very little effort and it tasted wonderful on my homemade bagels. It’s also a great addition to dips and spreads.
You’ll need a 32 oz. container of Stonyfield Organic Plain yogurt (you can also use flavored yogurt if you want to make a flavored yogurt cheese as long as it doesn’t contain any fruit), a bowl, a colander and some cheese cloth.
Line the colander with about 8 layers of cheesecloth and place it into the bowl. Then scoop the yogurt into the colander. I used about half of a 32 ounce container. Use as much as you want, there isn’t really a measurement here, but a good rule of thumb is to allow one cup of yogurt to produce one-third cup of yogurt cheese. The amount of yogurt lost in the "cheese making" process depends on how long you drain the yogurt.
Place the yogurt in the refrigerator and allow it to drain in the colander with the cheesecloth for about 6 to 12 hours depending on how thick you’d like the yogurt cheese to be. Discard the liquid whey that will have collected in the bowl. (Or, in true frugal fashion, you can use the whey as a substitute for milk or water in many bread, muffin, or cake recipes - it is full of nutrition.)
Store your yogurt cheese in a container with a lid in the refrigerator. It will keep for about a week. You can use it just like cream cheese. When adding other ingredients to it, like when you want to use it in a dip or spread, be sure to fold in the other ingredients. Don’t beat it or mix it too vigorously, and never put it in the food processor, it will break down.
Even if this doesn’t become a regular staple in your house and you continue to buy store bought cream cheese, this is a fantastic recipe to have in your toolbox. It’s always good to know a few good swaps when you’re in the kitchen. And, this one has the lovely benefit of being naturally lower in fat than cream cheese and sour cream.
Rich and creamy AND lower in fat? Do those words even go together? Sign me up and spread mine extra thick on a toasty bagel.
Denise Sawyer is a wife and mother of two young children. She is the author of WholesomeMommy.com, a blog for busy moms who are trying to feed their family REAL, wholesome food. There is a lot of noise out there about what to eat and what not to eat. She's keeping it REAL SIMPLE for those of us who don't have all day to spend in the kitchen or don't have time to hunt exotic ingredients.