Saturday, June 5, 2010

Yogurt Cheese

Yesterday, I promised you yogurt cheese. Now, this may seem strange and unusual to you, but if you don't think "yogurt cheese" but think "cream cheese" instead, it will not seem so strange. You could make this recipe plain, but I think adding herbs and other flavors makes a wonderful spread for crackers or a toasted bagel.

  • 1 quart homemade yogurt (half a batch of yesterday's recipe)
  • 1/2 to 1 whole head of roasted garlic, mashed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce.
  • kosher salt and pepper

Thoroughly mix the yogurt, garlic, thyme, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce in a mixing bowl. Pour into a large strainer or colander lined with 2 layers of cheesecloth. Set on top of a large bowl to catch the whey draining out (make sure there's enough space under the colander). Fold the ends of the cheesecloth over the top of the yogurt and let drain for 8-12 hours (putting a wide weight on the top to press down on the yogurt will speed this up quite a bit). Drain the bowl several times during the first couple of hours, after which time the draining should slow down considerably. After the yogurt has set up into cheese, mix in salt and pepper to taste in a mixing bowl.

Note: This possible variations of this recipe are limitless. The plain yogurt is basically a blank slate. If you substitute mint and cucumber for the thyme in this recipe, you've got Tzatziki sauce. Mix cumin, lime and cilantro into the plain yogurt, drain to a loose consistency (a couple of hours), season to taste, and you've got sauce for fish tacos. Add Tabasco sauce, celery salt, and paprika to top grilled catfish. Personally, I'd love to see your ideas posted here in the comments!

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