Fresh cheese is easy to make from yogurt, and delicious. Depending on how much moisture is in the yogurt, the cheese yield will be about 1/3 of the yogurt used.
Put the yogurt in several layers of cheese cloth, or a fine mesh sack, and hang over night (this will save you from looking at it all day long in distress that nothing is happening). If by morning it still isn’t thick enough inside the sack, whack the bottom with the blunt side of a knife a few times, and go take a shower and read the news. The whacking will break up the drier outside portion and let the inside drain.
The filter shown is a fine nylon mesh sack I bought to strain honey. It’s too fine me to use for honey filtering since I don’t heat my honey, but works better than cheese cloth for cheese making or other similar straining jobs because it’s shaped like a sack, it’s one layer, and very durable. Throw it in the wash and it comes out clean, over and over again.
Notice how green the whey is. That lovely grass-green color gives me confidence that indeed there is still nature involved in making plain, store-bought milk. It doesn’t have much flavor. I keep thinking I should drink it, but usually it gets sent out to the chickens (they don’t seem very eager for it, so I have to question the supposed health benefits of whey).
What do you hang this from? I’ve tried all kinds of things, none of which worked very well, many of which made a mess; however, my camera tripod does a great job.
The first photo, below, is how the finished product should look. It is quite bland; don’t despair. I split this in half and made fresh cheese with one, and tried for aged cheese with the other. Fresh cheese recipe: add some salt and whatever you like. I mixed in: 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon Penzeys Greek seasoning (has salt in it), some black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon toasted onion powder and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder. One caution, if you use fresh seasonings, they have water in them. This will dilute the cheese, and making it prone to separation and early aging. Fresh cheese should always be stored in the refrigerator.
It’s still a bit bland for me, so I intend to finely chop garlic, microwave it in a some olive oil and pour over the top before serving it tonight with some Pennsylvania Macaroni Co. bread. Deli olives would be great, if I had any, but black olives on the side will have to do.
(more on the aged cheese experiment, later)