How to make Ceri’s yogurt cream cheese

Without Live Below the Line, I would never have tried making
cream cheese out of yogurt.

It not only tastes great, but is incredibly easy to do.

The real bonus on a tiny budget was that you don’t have to
fork out at least 49p or so on value soft cheese, but just 45p to 50p on a big 500g pot of value range natural yogurt.

The yogurt was surprisingly versatile: I used some as a
snack with fruit, some to dollop on top of meals like pancakes and chilli,
and some to make cream cheese like this for sandwiches.

I got the idea from Ceri over at
Natural Kitchen Adventures, at the end of her post here, and made some more yesterday. You can find her whole Live Below the Line Resource pack here, listed under “Ceri’s Wholefood Recipes”. The yogurt cheese, known as labne, is on page 10.

It really is easy!

Fancy salt grinder from Aldi but any kind of salt would be good. 

This time I started off with 300g natural yogurt in a bowl,
and mixed in some salt. Reckon adding black pepper and / or chives would taste
great too.

Warning: don’t try and wrestle yogurt into muslin without putting bowl underneath first…

I put a bit of butter muslin over a bowl, so I could spoon
the yogurt onto the muslin without the material slipping and yogurt spilling
all over the place (voice of bitter experience). Ceri sensibly points out that
you could use a cheesecloth, a clean tea towel and even a pair of old tights as well.

Ready to twist the elastic band to hold it together

Next, I gathered up the corners of the muslin, and twisted
an elastic band round to hold it together. 

Look, the whey has already started dripping out 
Ta dah, future cheese suspended in jar

Stick a skewer, chopstick, handle of a wooden spoon
or whatever through the elastic band, and then you can dangle the bag of yogurt
down inside a jar, and the skewer/stick/handle will keep it suspended.

Banished to the fridge overnight

If you leave the yogurt overnight in the fridge, liquid from
the yogurt (whey) will drip down into the bottom of the jar. 

The morning after – loads of whey at the bottom

Give the material a quick squeeze, if you want to force out more whey and make the cream cheese a bit thicker.

When you open the material, you’ll find a ball of soft cheese just waiting to be spread on sandwiches or whatever you fancy!

Cheese from 300g yogurt, with whey in the jug.

I transferred the cheese into a plastic box and used a knife to scrape off any remaining cheese from the muslin. 

As you can see, the 300g of natural yogurt ended up as 125g soft cheese, plus an additional 150ml or so of whey, which Ceri reliably informs us can used for things like soaking porridge oats or whole grains to make them more digestible.

That’s lunch sorted then

So I ended up with 125g cream cheese by using natural yogurt that cost about 30p.

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  1. 20th May 2015 / 8:11 am

    This is something I've never tried, but I should, I make a lot of my own yoghurt so it would be a breeze. I wonder if the whey would be good in scones. I bet it would add a good flavour to a cheese scone mix 🙂

    • 29th May 2015 / 9:29 am

      If you like soft cheese like Philadelphia, it really is worth giving it a whirl. I've used the yogurt cheese in sandwiches, on bagels and on jacket potatoes. Suspect it would also taste good mixed with tinned fish like sardines, as another sandwich filling.

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