Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

How-To: Making Yogurt or Kefir Cheese

Making your own yogurt is an easy, healthy, and affordable way to experiment with fermentation, make milk last longer, and replace an industrial food product filled with mysterious chemical ingredients with one you know all about.

Yogurt itself is a wonderful, versatile food, but you can also turn it into a spread or dip by thickening it with this simple method.

The following is an excerpt from Fresh Food from Small Spaces: The Square-Inch Gardener’s Guide to Year-Round Growing, Fermenting, and Sprouting by R. J. Ruppenthal.

You can make a spreadable cheese (resembling cream cheese or sour cream) from either yogurt or kefir. You will notice that when you make either yogurt or kefir, it becomes more solid and sour the longer you let it ferment. Make sure to start the cheese with some mature yogurt or kefir, not the particularly runny stuff; give it a few extra hours of fermentation time for good measure.

  • A few ounces of strong yogurt or kefir
  • Large glass jar, measuring beaker, bowl, or clay pot
  • One square of cheesecloth or large coffee filter
  • Strainer that fits over this container or an extra-large piece of cheesecloth
  • Large rubber band or twine

Wrap your homemade yogurt in cheesecloth or a coffee filter. Using the strainer or extra cheesecloth (with rubber band or twine if needed), suspend this package above the container. Make sure it has room to drip. Put this in the refrigerator, an unused oven, or anywhere else it will fit and be relatively undisturbed. Leave and allow it to drain for 24 to 48 hours. Your main goal here is to strain out the water (whey) from the yogurt or kefir, leaving a solid mass that can be used like cheese. This recipe makes a nutritious, low-fat cheese. Be aware that your yogurt or kefir will continue to ferment during this time, so if you want a milder version, then you might want to put the cheese into the refrigerator as it drains. (This will slow down the fermentation.) Use the finished product as you would use cream cheese or sour cream. And don’t forget the whey: this liquid byproduct makes a refreshing drink on its own, or, if coming from kefir, it could be used to culture a batch of kimchi or sourdough starter.

Related Posts:

A Simple Way to Grow Fresh Greens Indoors This Winter

Just because the temperatures have started to drop doesn’t mean you have to live without fresh greens until next Spring. With author and gardener Peter Burke’s innovative method of growing soil sprouts indoors, you can grow nutrient-dense greens all year long at a fraction of the cost of buying at market. Burke’s new book, Year-Round Indoor Salad […] Read More..

A Day in the Life of a Homesteader

As Homesteading Month comes to a close, we take a look at what it means to live the homesteading life every day. Read through the question and answer below and be sure to check out any of the previous articles you might have missed:Why Acquiring Land Presents a Challenge for New Homesteaders Homesteading Q&A: Solutions […] Read More..

Go Lean: How To Eliminate Waste and Increase Efficiency on the Farm

Using the words “factory” and “farm” in the same sentence may seem sacrilegious, but today’s young farmers like author Ben Hartman are discovering that the same sound business practices apply whether you produce cars or carrots.In his new book The Lean Farm, Hartman demonstrates how applying lean principles—originally developed by the Japanese automotive industry—to farming practices […] Read More..

Why Acquiring Land Presents a Challenge for New Homesteaders

More and more often, young people are turning away from cities and urban life in order to live off the land and even start farms of their own. But while many have the desire to grow food for themselves and/or others, acquiring land, and the financial burden that comes with it, presents a difficult challenge […] Read More..

How to Distinguish Permaculture from Natural Farming

Just what are the differences between permaculture and natural farming? How are they connected, and where do they diverge in philosophy and principle?Those questions are answered in the following excerpt that is adapted from the newly released One-Straw Revolutionary, a book that delves into the philosophy and work of Japanese farmer and philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka […] Read More..