Did you know you can make your own soft cheeses and yogurt at home? Cassie Lewis recently led the Simpler Living group in a workshop to learn how to do it. The recipes are posted here; they will also be permanently accessible in the Recipes tab at the top of the blog.
- 1 quart whole or 2% milk
- ¼ cup vinegar
Pour the milk into a large pot, and heat it to 190-195 degrees F (just under boiling, or until steam and small bubbles form along edges of pot). Add the vinegar and stir. The curds will separate. Ladle the curds into a cheesecloth-lined colander, and set aside to drain over a catch bowl. When the curds have cooled a few minutes, tie the corners of the cloth into a ball, wrap the ends around a wooden spoon, and rest the spoon over the catch bowl or the edges of your sink, allowing the curds to drain.
After a few hours the cheese should stop draining, at which time you can salt to taste. Place in an airtight container and refrigerate. Ricotta keeps for 5 days in the fridge.
- 4 cups NON-ultra pasteurized half & half
- 1 cup NON-ultra pasteurized heavy cream
- 2 tbsp buttermilk
- 1 tsp salt
Heat the creams to 90 degrees F (or until hot), then stir in the buttermilk and pour the mixture into a sanitized mixing bowl (use glass or a non-reactive metal). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Wrap a few kitchen towels snugly around the bowl. Place the bowl in a warm area, and let it sit for 24 hours. After 24 hours the cream mixture should have the consistency of yogurt and should not move when the bowl is leaned on its side. If it still has some movement, the cultures need more time to develop, so let it sit for 6-12 hours more.
Once you have a firm mixture, pour it into your cheesecloth-lined colander with a catch bowl underneath. Allow it to drain for 15 minutes, then fold the cheese cloth over the cheese to continue straining. Cover it with plastic, and place in the fridge for as long as 12-14 hours. Stir in salt.
Fromage Blanc (aka Farmer’s Cheese!)
- 1 quart of whole or 2% milk
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 tsp of vinegar (any type) or lemon juice
- ¾ tsp salt
Follow the same instructions for Ricotta.
- 1 quart of whole, 2%, or soy milk
- 2 tbsp of yogurt that’s already made, or some “yogurt starter” according to package instructions
Pour the milk into a large pot, and heat it to 190-195 degrees F (just under boiling, or until steam and small bubbles form along edges of pot). Add the starter yogurt and stir. Pour into sanitized jars and place (without lids) in yogurt maker, OR cover with cheese cloth or thin kitchen towel or napkin and place in a warm spot with a towel around them for 6-12 hours (longer time makes thicker yogurt). Place lids on jars and refrigerate.
Can use coconut milk, or nut milk (made by blending equal parts water and nuts). Can use the coconut milk in place of the water when making nut milk. Harder nuts require pre-soaking for several hours.
Labneh (Middle Eastern Yogurt Cheese)
Follow instructions for yogurt above. After yogurt has developed for
6-12 hours, pour into a cheesecloth-lined colander over a catch bowl.
Tie the corners of the cloth into a ball, wrap the ends around a wooden
spoon, and rest the spoon over the catch bowl or the edges of your sink,
allowing it to drain for 8-12 hours. When finished, use as a sweet or
savory spread, adding salt and herbs or use with honey, cinnamon, and