Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Homemade yogurt and cream cheese

Thank you to alpharubicon.com for the recipe!

Where I live in the Middle of Nowhere, Peru there is no cream cheese. Not only that, there is no real yogurt. We have yogurt, but it is drinkable, flavored, heavily sweetened, and makes me want to throw up.

So I decided to take this situation into my own hands. One inspired day, I began my very own homemade cream cheese. Here it is!

-I washed all of these things in boiling water, then to be safe, I rinsed it in a bleach-water solution. You don't want icky nastiness growing all over your cream cheese.
-ALSO--I I had raw milk to use but if you don't if you can get lightly pasteurized milk it's better than supermarket milk. You could try this with ultra-pasteurized milk, but I'm not sure how it'd turn out. If you use raw milk, besides the first step, boil it and let it cool before using it.
-This makes about 1 to 1.5 cups cream cheese.
-ONE LAST THING: this recipe will take 3 days to make. There's little labour involved, just a lot of waiting.

1. Begin with 1 cup fresh 2% milk. Let this cup sit, covered, at room temperature for 24 hours. If you use raw milk, don't boil this.

2. After 24 hours, boil 2 more cups milk, then let cool until you can stick your finger in it, but it's still warm. Pour this into the cup from yesterday, cover, and set aside for another 24 hours.

3. After another 24 hours, boil 2 liters of milk and let this sit until warm. Add it to the milk mixture from the last 2 days, and let sit, covered, for a final 24 hours.

4. The next day, boil some water and put it in a large pot that your bowl with the milk mixture will fit into without touching the boiling water. Put the bowl on top, and let sit for 30 minutes, stirring once or twice. Then put your almost-yogurt it in a cheesecloth-lined colander (I just used a clean T-shirt for this), put this over another bowl to catch the drippings, and wait.

...Or at least that's what I did. To get cream cheese this way, it takes 6 hours of sitting and draining. Or, if you tie your cheesecloth/bag/T-shirt and hang it over a bowl, you'll cut this time down to about an hour and a half. This is much better, right? But if you're just making yogurt, the way I just described with a colander is better to get your desired thickness.

Here's where you decide what to do with this mixture, you can either:
a. wait for 1 hour and have yogurt.
b. wait for 2 hours and have Greek yogurt.
c. string up the bag, and have sour cream in an hour, and cream cheese in an hour & a half to 2 hours.

If you're impatient like me, you chose to have some yogurt while you were waiting for cream cheese :) Or you could just divide your mixture into yogurt and cream cheese.

Here you can see the progression, I took a photo every hour for the 1st 4, then the last is the cream cheese. After hour 4 the loss of water was minimal, but by these pictures you can see how much liquid really comes out!

And here you can see the progression in textures. The first is before straining, the second is yogurt consistency, and the last is the cream cheese:


But just remember to eat all your new yogurt/cheese within a couple of days, it doesn't last so long. But it's so durn delicious you won't have any problem with that :)

Here's what I did...microwave carrot cake, recipe courtesy VK Rees Photography with a cream cheese frosting. For the frosting, it's about 1/2 c. cream cheese, 1 Tbs. honey, 3/4 Tbs. orange zest, and a pinch of salt. HEAVEN.

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