Yogurt cheese is yogurt thickened to a point where it has a thick, creamy, cheese-like texture. Make yogurt cheese by straining yogurt and removing most of the liquid whey. Serve homemade yogurt cheese as a refreshing, tangy spread for an appetizer platter, or as part of a cheese board. Making the cheese at home lets you flavor it as you like, using fresh or dried spices and herbs.
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Strain yogurt using either cheesecloth or a paper coffee filter. The coffee filter method is often easier, because it makes use of materials most people have on hand.
Line a metal strainer with a single layer of paper coffee filters. Do not leave any of the strainer exposed.
Place the metal strainer over a mixing bowl that comfortably fits the whole strainer. Pour the yogurt into the strainer, directly onto the paper filters.
Let the yogurt rest for at least 6 hours or overnight. The longer the the yogurt rests, the thicker the cheese will become. Left for 6 hours, 1 cup of yogurt will produce a 3/4 cup serving of yogurt cheese.
Choosing the Type of Yogurt
The type of yogurt you use will affect the flavor of the cheese, as well as how long it will take to thicken. Greek yogurt, which is thicker than regular yogurt, will produce less whey during straining. Because it is thicker, it may take less time to reach the desired degree of consistency. Yogurt with a higher fat percentage will produce a richer tasting yogurt cheese.
Flavoring Yogurt Cheese
Season yogurt cheese before or after making it. To season already made yogurt cheese, shape the cheese before crusting or dipping in dried herbs or a spice blend. For example, cover the cheese with:
- Dried basil
- Dried Italian seasoning
- Sweet red pepper mix
- Montreal steak spice
To season yogurt cheese before making it, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of spice to the yogurt before straining. Use fresh or dried spices and herbs. Stir well to incorporate the seasonings before straining. Seasoning options include:
- Fresh minced chive, basil, garlic or tarragon
- Salted, strained minced cucumber
Crusting yogurt cheese gives the cheese a milder flavor. Seasoning the yogurt before making the cheese produces a stronger taste profile.
Storage and Serving Tips
Store yogurt cheese in an airtight container or well-wrapped in plastic in the fridge for 7 to 14 days.
Serve the cheese cold or at room temperature. At its most simple, serve the cheese with a selection of crackers. For something more complicated, wrap the cheese in phyllo dough and bake, using it in place of brie for baked brie. Replace other spreadable cheeses, such as cream cheese, with yogurt cheese.