Kefir and yogurt cheese

03/23/2009 at 12:19 pm (uncategorized)

I got some kefir grains last week. What is kefir, you ask? It is a creamy cultured milk product that is loaded with vitamins and minerals. Kefir can be made with cows’, goats’, coconut, rice or soy milk. It is similar to yogurt in that it contains friendly probiotic bacteria but it also  contains beneficial yeast. This naturally occurring bacteria and yeast in kefir combine to provide superior health benefits.

Besides the friendly bacteria and yeast, kefir contains minerals and amino acids. The partially digested, complete proteins in kefir are easier to digest making it good for those who usually can’t handle milk products. Kefir is also rich in calcium and magnesium and has an ample supply of phosphorus. Kefir contributes to a healthy immune system.

To make you simply add the gelatin-like particles called “grains” to the milk. I use a clear canning jar so I can check on its progress. I stir it throughout the day with a wooden chopstick, but you don’t have to do anything to it. Never use metal to stir it with or strain it because the grains will react to the metal. The longer you leave it out, the more sour it will taste. You just decide when you want to use it.

When you’re ready you strain it in a plastic colander and take the part that you strained and use that for smoothies, or in place of milk in pancake batter. There are many things to do with kefir. A simple search on google will tell you. The part in the colander will be put back into a clean jar and you will add milk to it and start over again. It might sound hard but it’s really not!

Straining kefir

When I make smoothies with it, I take the strained finished product and add frozen strawberries and a bit of sugar or honey to it and blend it until smooth. I think frozen bananas would be tasty too. We have quite a bit of a sweet tooth, but eventually I hope to not have to add any extra sweetener to it. It reminds me of a strawberry milkshake. We enjoy drinking this every day.

I also ordered a 64 ounce container of plain yogurt from the local buying club. The whole reason I ordered it was to get the whey from it and to do that you make yogurt cheese.  To make the yogurt cheese you put the yogurt in a flour sack towel and knot the ends up and hang to drip. The liquid that drains out is the whey.  I wanted the whey to make homemade mustard and other fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and pickles. I got the idea from my favorite book: Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. I let the yogurt cheese drip for 2 days. But I didn’t hang it the whole time and I think if I had, it would have been done sooner.

Hanging Yogurt cheese to drip

The yogurt cheese smells and looks like cream cheese, but it’s more sour to me than store bought cream cheese. I think it would be excellent in a vegetable dip of some sort. I made some “cream cheese” frosting out of it and it was pretty tart, but I think I will end up using it as a “lemon” glaze for poppy seed cake. The yogurt cheese was good spread on crackers with jelly on top. The jelly seemed to make it taste less sour.

finished yogurt cheese

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10 Comments

  1. Ginny said,

    I love yogurt cheese. So, how did the mustard turn out?

    • Noel Wright said,

      Is your yogurt cheese sour or does it taste like cream cheese?

  2. Noel Wright said,

    Great! Want the recipe? It is a bit thicker than I thought it would be, but I didn’t want it too runny. I mainly make my own honey mustard sauce with it anyways…

  3. Ginny said,

    Well, my yogurt cheese doesn’t taste TOO sour. It is like a really thick sour cream, but I really like it. I have the book Nourishing Traditions, so I probably have the recipe. I will have to try it, since you say it tastes good. ;-)

  4. Noel Wright said,

    How do you make it then? Mine is so sour it puckers your face! I even made some cream cheese frosting with it and it tastes like there is lemon juice in it. Even with all the powdered sugar I added! How long does it take yours to make and did you refrigerate it while it was dripping?

  5. Ginny said,

    Well, I make my own yogurt first, by heating raw milk to 110 degrees and adding 1/2 cup old yogurt to it and then putting it in jars and putting them on the mantle over the woodstove (during the winter). After 8-10 hours, I refrigerate it (usually overnight). The next day, I pour it into a metal screen coffee filter over a jar and usually leave it for about 8 hours. Then I scrape it out and use it. If I have to leave it longer than that, because I will be unable to get to it at 8 hours, I drain it in the fridge. I don’t have any idea why mine is not all that sour. I mean, it is sour SOME, but not horribly. Of course, I don’t get such thick cheese that it is sliceable, but it is soft like cream cheese.

    • Noel Wright said,

      Well, that explains it. I sat it out for 2 days according to my recipe.

  6. cruby said,

    What if I used vanilla yogurt? Have you tried that.

    • Noel said,

      I don’t think it would work because it can’t have certain ingredients in it. (I just can’t remember which ones off the top of my head) I sat mine out on the counter, you know and I think it might have spoiled had it had extra chemicals in it. Has anyone out there tried it with vanilla yogurt?

  7. Sandy said,

    kefir cream cheese is great if you add spices to it. I made it for the first time and added organic minced garlic and chives, not sour at all, great on crackers, as a vegetable dip or bagels. put a strainer over a bowl, put a cheese cloth in the strainer, pour the kefir milk into strainer, put another cheese cloth ( doubled) on top and a bowl with a little water in it on top to weight it down, cover everything with towel and let it drip for about 22 -24 hours, it comes out creamy. Mix the spices you like and enjoy !

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