My mama is smart! She learned how to make yogurt cheese a bunch of years ago when she was trying to change her diet around and eat a little healthier. After she taught me how to make it, yogurt soon became one of the main foods on my grocery list. Before this, I really didn't eat so much yogurt. I'm not a huge fan of the texture; it's too liquidy for me. Yogurt cheese is the perfect solution if you have an issue with the texture of yogurt, and it's great too if you already like yogurt the way it is. It's very easy to make, and once you have it on hand, it's versatile and a healthy substitute for higher-fat foods.
Making yogurt cheese is super easy. All you need is (1) some plain yogurt, (2) a plastic cone filter or fine sieve, (3) a paper coffee filter or a paper towel, and (4) a container, such as a teacup or small bowl, to sit under the cone filter or sieve. Place the plastic cone filter or sieve over a container, and line it with the paper filter or the paper towel. Add in the yogurt. Voila! Yogurt cheese in the making!
Let the yogurt sit in the fridge overnight, in the filter, over the container. The liquid will drip out of the yogurt and collect in the container. Just make sure that it is stacked in a sturdy way to avoid a spill. The yogurt cheese should be ready to spread on your bagel when you wake up. Because I really like my yogurt cheese to be as firm as possible, I let mine sit in the fridge for a day and a half to two days before I use it. Once it is made, remove the yogurt cheese from the filter and place it in a Tupperware container. You can use the paper lining to help you do this step easily. Just pull out the whole paper lining, with the yogurt cheese inside, place the yogurt cheese face down in your container, pull away the paper, throw away the paper, and seal the container.
The yogurt cheese will keep in your fridge for about a week, but it varies, depending on the freshness of your yogurt. I like to substitute my yogurt cheese for cream cheese and sour cream. It's very tasty mixed with fresh or dried herbs, and/or small bits of veggies. It's also great plain. Sometimes I like to eat it as a sweet treat, and in those cases I just mix in a little vanilla extract and a shake or two of sugar. When it's sweetened it's nice to spread on muffins and graham crackers. My mom likes to eat it on top of berries. I haven't tried baking a "cheese"cake with it, but I've heard tales that such a thing has been done. I'm sure there are recipes out there to try. A welcome addition to the staples in the fridge, enjoy eating yogurt cheese throughout the week in a variety of ways!