Saturday, May 22, 2010

Leftover yogurt? Make cheese!

Specifically Labneh, a mediterranean soft cheese that tastes like a more pungent cream cheese.

My husband buys these massive tubs of yogurt and then forgets about them, so I need to figure out ways to use up the extra yogurt.

I had Labneh rolled in sumac and thyme a at Hank Shaw’s Lamb Butchering Demo few weekends ago, and it was freakin’ great. So great, in fact, that I had to try making it myself.

What you need is:

a tub of plain yogurt, preferably whole milk and with no extra crap in it (no pectin, chemicals, etc)

a 15 in square of cheesecloth

a salad spinner

The salad spinner is an experiement - I went to MakerFaire today and saw all kinds of amazing DIY stuff, so I’m inspired. The most annoying part of making fresh cheese is waiting for the liquid to drip out so that you’re waiting with a solid mass, so I’m trying to speed up the process.

- Line a colander with cheesecloth

- dump the yogurt into the center of the cloth, and fold up the edges into a bag.

- tie the bag you’ve made with some kitchen twine, make sure it’s secure.

Place in the salad spinner, and let ‘er rip! Stop every so often to make sure the bag doesn’t tear.

You want almost all of the liquid to drain, so either keep spinning or you can leave the spinner in the fridge overnight. If you do, its a good idea to put some kind of weight on top of the cheese to keep the pressure on.

Once the liquid is out, roll your new cheese into balls and roll in herbs.

I plan to use a mix of ground sumac (a middle eastern spice with a lemony flavor), fresh and dried thyme, to try and recreate the one I had.

Preserve the cheese in a jar filled with olive oil - it should keep for a good long while, but I’m sure it will get eaten long before you have to worry about it!

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