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?
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.