My fridge is full of such a variety of dairy experiments, I’m thinking of opening a store. I have homemade buttermilk, kefir, yogurt, yogurt cheese, sour cream, two failed batches of mozzerella which turned out like a rubbery queso fresco, an accidental raspberry ricotta-type weirdness, and the resultant whey from all these various products, some of which is being turned into whey buttermilk. Because hey, whey not?
Oh, I forgot the sweet whey (leftover from the mozzerella) which I tried mixing half and half with regular milk, because it was so tasty and milky it seemed perfectly drinkable, but of course it made the regular milk get thick and separate, duh. So when My Man went looking for milk for the 3YO today I had to point to the tall bottle and say, “It’s a long story. But it’s perfectly good, really. Just shake it first.”
I’m not sure making your own full line of dairy is such a good idea for the home cook. The mysteriously “so easy!” mozzerella, that the two of us accomplished cooks could not get to work after several tries, was very disappointing. Makes me wonder how many gallons of milk have been wasted in the whole home cheese making fad.
Yogurt cheese however, now that’s easy. I make it whenever I botch my yogurt. I always botch yogurt the same way, making it too hot in my attempt not to let it get cold. Then it separates and curdles a little. But drained it makes a fine soft cheese. And recently I finally, finally! followed a long time instinct to make Boursin out of yogurt cheese. And it was so goddamned easy, and so ridiculously delicious, I feel like a chump.
Boursin is a fancy pants soft, fresh cheese, a little like cream cheese but grainier, which for some reason is good. I guess they make a plain Boursin, but you’d be crazy to ever eat anything other than the Garlic and Cracked Black Pepper variety. I never buy the stuff, too expensive. I wouldn’t even know what it was except I used to work at a bakery that sold it.
The homemade yogurt Boursin is not quite so buttery tasting, but nevertheless very rich and flavorful. Uber-yum on toast with a slice of fresh tomato and a fried egg.
So, if you’ve been meaning to try making your own yogurt cheese, here’s the nudge you need.
I’ll assume for the moment that you already know how to make yogurt. Because honestly, I started to write out instructions on that, and two pages of yogurt blather later I woke up and realized I had dishes to do. Besides, Christine at Slow Living Essentials does a nice intro to yogurting here, and to make my job really easy, goes on to explain how to turn that yogurt into cheese here. Thanks Christine!
Now what the hell am I here for?
Oh yeah, here’s how to turn your yogurt cheese into a rich, sophisticated spread for brekky
Poor Man’s Boursin
- Drain one quart of yogurt to make about one cup of cheese.
- Add about 1/2 teaspoon of salt or to taste, two large cloves of smashed garlic, and several good cranks of fresh black pepper.
- Leave out for a half hour or so to let the flavors marry.
If you’re curious about all this home dairying, but a bit hesitant, start with buttermilk. Nothing could be easier. Add a few tablespoons of store bought buttermilk to a quart of milk, and let sit out in a warm place overnight. It should look slightly thick and smell like buttermilk. Voila! Perfect, fluffy pancakes and biscuits to come!
This is super handy for using up too much milk. Do you have this problem? Your family doesn’t drink a whole gallon of milk before it goes bad, but half-gallons cost almost as much as whole gallons, and you just can’t help yourself? Turn the extra half gallon into buttermilk, yogurt, kefir and cheese and pretty soon yer fridge’ll start to look like mine.