Saturday, June 11, 2011

Recipe: Making Kéfir “Cream” Cheese

Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese? – Job 10:10

The finished cheese. Soft, and tastes pretty good, if I do say so myself.
I’ve posted previously about kéfir and its excellent health benefits. Well, the thing about kéfir is that once you start making it you tend to have quite a bit of it. Luckily there’s many ways it can be incorporated into your diet.

I’ve been taking kéfir “shakes” with me to work for lunch that are really quite tasty. So far I’ve had strawberry, pineapple, raspberry and mango. But it’s still a little difficult to keep ahead of it. I was making it daily, but will probably cut back to every two days soon.

I found some talk on the Web about making kéfir cream cheese, and became intrigued. The recipe following is an amalgamation of a couple recipes. I have tried it out and it’s quite good. I don’t know how it would do as a substitute in baking recipes, but as a spread it is just fine. 

This is the amount of whey that drained
from the cheese in 3 hours (left).
You can vary the thickness of your finished cheese by how long you let the whey drip out. I did it for 3 hours. It would have been stiffer if I had let it go longer.

Liquid rennet can be purchased online at many sites. It’s quite affordable, even with shipping, because you only use a drop at a time for most cheese recipes. Unless you’re making a ton…

So without further ado, here is...

Kéfir “Cream” Cheese
1/4 cup liquid kefir
2 cups whole milk
1 drop liquid rennet, dissolved in 1/4 cup water

Stir all of the above together. Let sit at room temperature somewhere out of direct sunlight for 24-48 hours. The bacterial culture in the kéfir will keep it “healthy.”

Once it has substantially thickened, pour it into a piece of sterile cotton cloth. Gather the corners and tie the cheese shut like a purse. Then hang it above a bowl or other container to catch the whey. Let the whey drip out for 3-6 hours. 

I find the corner of a dollar store pillowcase works great for the cloth and it is quite cheap. To sterilize, either boil the cloth or steam iron it.

The length of time that the cheese hangs will determine the finished thickness.

Remove the drained cheese to a container, scraping the cloth with a spatula to get all the cheese.

The taste of the finished product is very fresh and somewhat sweet. It is quite different than commercial cream cheese.


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