|I LOVE making things from kefir! Mostly I just love that it makes my life a lot easier and cheaper. Because I’m already making it, I have it around to use for other things – which keeps me from buying buttermilk and other various “soured” items. Now I’m making cream cheese from my kefir and it’s SO EASY! You can use kefir in tons of different ways (including ice cream) and I love sharing them with you. So, let’s make some cheese……but not cut it, okay?|
|For this batch, I cultured my kefir about 48 hours. Usually I just let mine go for 12-24 hours, but I wanted this to be pretty thick. Even after 48 hours, it wasn’t as thick as I would like – silly air conditioning. But I tried to make it work anyway……oops. Aren’t you glad I mess up for you so that you can avoid silly mistakes? I get in a hurry sometimes……and sometimes I feel pretty smart. Usually if I’m feeling pretty smart, I do something dumb very closely afterwards – like making pulpy lemonadeor shaving off my fingers. After it cultures, you need to chill it. Trust me. No really, trust me.|
|Go through the same procedures you normally would to drain your kefir. Then chill it. I have successfully made kefir cheese without straining. Instead I washed my hands and picked out my kefir grains myself…….it was sorta weird and sorta cool at the same time. But doing it that way saved me from having to strain it – which usually makes it a tad bit thinner. Every other time I’ve used chilled kefir from the fridge and it works great.|
|I like using cheesecloth for straining. Lots of forums and other blogs say you can just use a tea towel to get the same results…….I might try that sometime. But for now I just use my cheesecloth. You can find it at just about any fabric store. I like this brand from Amazon.Also, you can get more use out of your cheesecloth by washing and reusing it. I love reusable stuff.|
|You’ll need at least 4 layers of thickness of your cheesecloth. I tried less, and it didn’t work. I mess up a lot of stuff….Barry regularly hears “Uh oh” from the kitchen. When Dottie hears it, she comes running thinking that it must mean food is on the floor. Line a nice strainer with your cloth and put it over a bowl to catch the whey. Pour your CHILLED kefir into the cheesecloth. I poured my non-chilled runny kefir into it…..and it totally ran through. Every bit of it. You should have seen the look on my face.|
|Bring up two of your corners and tie them together. Imagine that you don’t see that my kefir is all straining out the bottom. Thanks.|
|Bring up the other two corners and tie those too. Now you should have a hanging bag looking thing. It sorta reminds me of a cow. I have no idea why. My mind just works like that.|
|You will want to hang your kefir in the fridge. It will continue to ferment and get more sour if you leave it room temperature. For me, this means making room in the fridge…..which is a BIG feat. You will strain the kefir about 24 hours to get a cream cheese texture. Remember making your own Greek Yogurt? You can make yogurt cheese with this same method! Just use yogurt instead of kefir and hang it for 24 hours instead of 8. Yogurt cheese, kefir cheese….man, I’m spreading the cheese love. Get it? SPREADING the cheese love? Ha, ha!|
|Hanging the bag will help gravity pull more of the moisture out. I rigged my knot so that it was big enough to hold the entire bag. Then I pushed it through the top rack of my shelves and spread it back out…..so that it would hold. Does that make sense?|
|Now you have some really beautiful cheese that you made yourself! Does it taste just like cream cheese? Nope. Remember that it’s fermented so it will be a little more wangy than normal cream cheese. However, you can use it just like you would use cream cheese in any recipe. You could stir some honey in for a great bagel spread.Now, your volume will decrease by half or more. So when you’re making it remember that……use more than you’ll need at the end. And save the whey that’s in the bowl. You can use it for tons of things! You can add it to smoothies or use it in place of water when you make bread (love this method!). I also use some of my whey to ferment things.Go forth and make cheese….but please don’t cut it. Ahem.This post is linked at Monday Mania on The Healthy Home Economist, at Traditional Tuesday on Whole New Mom, at Freaky Friday on Real Food Freaks, at Real Food Wednesday on Kelly the Kitchen Kop, at Fight Back Friday on Food Renegade, and at Fat Tuesday on Real Food Forager.|
Kefir Cream Cheese
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