Thursday, September 20, 2007


There is a healthy alternative to cream cheese: yogurt cheese. It's quite simple to make. You just take a container of yogurt, any kind, and empty it into a strainer that is suspended in a bowl so the liquid will drain into the bowl. For lactose intolerant people, this is a real boon, because the majority of the lactose is in the liquid. As you can see in the photo above, I tried to drain the liquid from the yogurt by merely inverting the container over the strainer. It didn't work. The liquid was held in the container by suction. After I removed the container, the liquid started to drain. The next morning, half the liquid had strained out, but I forgot to take another picture. Sorry. The strainer I used was a fine mesh strainer, and you can see it rested on the lip of the bowl by the front tab and the handle. I didn't need to use cheesecloth or coffee filters because the fine mesh was sufficient to hold the yogurt without its dropping through the holes.

Here is the recipe, if you want to call it that:

Yogurt Cheese
INGREDIENTS: 1 tub, any size, whole-milk, low-fat or non-fat yogurt
1 strainer (if holes are too large, line it with a coffee filter or cheesecloth)
1 bowl to suspend the strainer in
plastic wrap to cover the strainer and bowl

DIRECTIONS: Place the strainer so that it is suspended over the bowl. There should be a tab at the top of the strainer, and a handle. Place them so they rest on the lip of the bowl, tab on one side, handle on the other. Empty yogurt container into strainer. (I would stay away from any yogurt that has fruit bits in it. Any other yogurt is ok -- plain, vanilla, lemon, coffee, etc. so long as it is smooth). Cover everything with plastic wrap and set in fridge overnight. The next day, there should be a considerable amount of liquid in the bowl and the yogurt should be firmer. It will not be as firm as cream cheese, more like a sour cream. It will be very tangy and can be used as a sour cream or cream cheese substitute or mixed with either if flavor is too sharp for your taste. You can put it back in the original container but you will notice that you will only have half as much now. Refrigerate for up to one week.

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