We always have tons of yogurt in the house. Little containers of Tillamook Vanilla, Strawberry and Peach, as well of large containers of vanilla or honey for smoothies and plain yogurt for Indian-ish and Mexican-ish dishes.
So, when I saw Alton Brown make Yogurt Cheese on a Good Eats recently, I immediately went rummaging through my kitchen drawers looking for cheesecloth (I just knew I had some somewhere). Because — wow! Cheese from yogurt, you say? That’s sounds so fun.
After locating the cheesecloth and blending my yogurt and herbs together, five hours later I had this easy and tangy yogurt cheese spread. I used a seasoning blend that I had on hand, but fresh herbs could easily be used in this recipe. Chives, thyme and rosemary would be good. So would shallots, chives and tarragon — the possibilities are quite endless!
The secret is in separating the whey from the yogurt. The whey is the watery liquid that is strained from the yogurt, leaving the creamy, thicker yogurt cheese when you are done. Give this one a try.
Herbed Yogurt Cheese Spread
1 quart plain yogurt (low fat)
4 big cloves of garlic or 8 little cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp dried herb seasoning of your choice (I used Penzey’s Fox Point Seasoning — or you could also use a combination of fresh thyme, rosemary, chives or whatever herbs you’d like)
A dash of cayenne pepper
In a mixing bowl, add the garlic, lemon juice, chives and seasoning mix (or fresh herbs) to the yogurt and combine. Place mixture in cheesecloth (I doubled mine up), set over a colander, set over a large bowl.
Then, wrap the ends of the cheesecloth up over the yogurt to cover.
You will see it start to drip right away.
Weight the top down with a saucer and can on top and place in refrigerator for 4-6 hours.
When it is done draining, the consistency of the yogurt should be like cream cheese and you there will be a fair amount of liquid down in the bottom of the draining bowl.
Discard liquid and add salt and pepper to the yogurt cheese, to taste. Use the spread with crackers, vegetables, on baked potatoes or what-have-you. It’s creamy and very flavorful — and good for you too!