How to make kefir cheese

Posted on 03 February 2012

Since we’ve been loving our kefir nearly daily at the moment, I thought we should take a small step further to make something other than smoothies from it. When I started looking online I was amazed by the variety of recipes using kefir as an ingredient – cheese, ice-cream, sourdough bread, cookies, pancakes, pizza bases, soups and more. So, one step at a time! I decided to take a very small step indeed to make a very simple type of kefir cheese.

Now, this cheese isn’t a hard cheese… but its not quite like cottage cheese either. I really like Dom’s description that the flavour and texture is similar to quark, or the condensed yoghurt-type curd, labneh. It’s very smooth and creamy. We ate loads of this delicious cheese when we were in Jordan and Palestine recently so it seemed perfect to make a kefir version.

How do you make it?

1. Make kefir milk following the instructions on this post

2. Strain the prepared kefir milk through moistened muslin (or I’ve seen it done even with a coffee filter) by putting the muslin in a strainer in a bowl and pouring the kefir milk into the muslin. The bowl will catch the whey (the liquid that drips through the muslin).

3. Cover (or twist the muslin) and refrigerate overnight (you can leave it on the kitchen bench if you like but it will continue to ferment and become more sour). If you prefer a drier cheese, leave it for 24 hours or more. Experiment! If you leave it for more than 24 hours make sure to remove the muslin, wash it and replace.

4. The next morning you will have a lump of kefir labneh in the muslin which you can remove and store in an airtight jar in the fridge… or eat it straight away like we did! We didn’t make much this time as it was just an experiment but enough for a fresh breakfast!

How do you eat it?

It can be used in recipes as a substitute for sour cream, cottage cheese, cream cheese, quark or philadelphia cheese. I’ve even seen recipes where people use it to make cheesecake. You can add herbs and spices to make a nice cheese spread if you like. Today, we just ate it on crepes with a bit of honey and it was DELICIOUS!!

What do you do with the whey?

Don’t throw it out! Use it to make fermented drinks, cultured vegetables, add it to the cooking water for pasta or add it to your bread recipes… we’ll be sharing some of these recipes soon. According to Dom, it is rich in methionine and cystine, the health-promoting sulfur-containing amino acids – the latter of which helps to produce the master antioxidant glutathione in the liver. If you really don’t want to consume it at least put it on your garden as it makes a great liquid fertiliser for vegetables, herbs, other plants and fruit trees.

And there you have it! I’m learning and eating something new every day thanks to all the wonderful things people share out there.


11 responses to How to make kefir cheese

  • Melinda says:

    I haven’t even tried kefir yet but with all these recipies my family and I are ready to get started. Thanks

    [Reply]

    Making Sense of Things Reply:

    Let us know how you enjoy it best! :)

    [Reply]

  • Fliss says:

    So does that mean you lose your kefir grains

    [Reply]

    Making Sense of Things Reply:

    Hi Fliss, no the grains aren’t lost as they are removed when the milk has been become kefir and put in to a new batch of milk.

    [Reply]

  • Luposian says:

    I just made my first batch of kefir-leban. By the evening, I had folded in some Italian herbs and a bit of garlic salt. Smoothed out the flavor tremendously. My wife and son liked it! I did, as well, of course! I’m now making my second batch and plan to get the tools to make aged cheese outta this stuff! AUSA! <— pronounced "ow-sah"; akin to "awesome!", but more intense.

    [Reply]

    Making Sense of Things Reply:

    wonderful! glad you are enjoying it :)

    [Reply]

  • chuck says:

    At what point do you remove the grains? Before the curds and whey have separated? Is it too late after they’ve separated to remove the grains?

    [Reply]

    Making Sense of Things Reply:

    Hi there… you remove the grains when you make the kefir milk, so before you put it in the muslin cloth for straining…

    [Reply]

  • chuck says:

    Thank you. I realized after I asked the question that the process involves fermenting twice. You give the separated kefir a stir and strain out the grains as if you were making kefir to drink. Then you return the kefir to the jar and let it go for another day. Then you scoop out and strain out the curds for cheese making.

    [Reply]

  • Nancy Alberts says:

    I made some kefir cheese a few months ago, put it into a container and put it into the refridg. It got pushed to the back and forgotten about until I took it out a couple of days ago. When I smelled it, it had a kind of chemical smell to it. Would it still be good to eat?

    [Reply]

    Making Sense of Things Reply:

    I honestly don’t know… mine never lasts that long without being eaten… but I would always trust your instincts (and nose!)

    [Reply]

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