Yogurt Cream Cheese & Liquid Whey for Lacto-Fermentation

by Cat, July-Aug 2007

See also: Milk & Culturing of Milk (About)YogurtKefirButter & Buttermilk.

Cultured cream and milk, as for yogurt or kefir, makes a wonderful cream cheese, and a byproduct of the process makes liquid whey, which is used as an inoculant for lacto-fermentation.

Yogurt or Kefir Cream Cheese

This recipe makes 4 cups of cream cheese.

Culturing temperature: 1100 F

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cups of whole milk and heavy (whipping) cream mixture; you can vary the relative amount of cream to affect the richness of the cheese (do not use homogenized, ultra-pasteurized or UHT milk; do not use ultra-pasteurized or UHT cream as it will not culture properly).
  • 1/2 cup good quality, plain, unsweetened and unflavored commercial yogurt, or 1/2 cup yogurt from previous batch.  Or you can use 1 packet powdered, freeze dried yogurt starter, but this isn’t as good.

Equipment:

  • fine sieve OR
  • large strainer and cheesecloth
  • good quality cheesecloth: This fabric is used for straining the whey out of the yogurt. You will want the real deal, not that flimsy variety you can buy at the grocery store.  Cheesemaking.com (2) sells real cheesecloth and  butter-muslin which are perfect.  Other options: an old cotton pillowcase, or 100% cotton scrim at the decorator fabric store, and wash several times to soften.

Method:

1. Make yogurt: Follow method for making Yogurt. After it has cultured, it is ready for making cream cheese. Alternately, you can use a good quality commercial yogurt, but it will not be as creamy (because it is made from milk, not milk and cream)

2. Strain:

  • If using a strainer, line it with the cheesecloth to make a very fine sieve, and set it over a bowl or wide-mouth jar.
  • Pour cultured mixture into sieve; cover with a lid or cheesecloth, and place in refrigerator (if you don’t want a very flavorful cheese, or you are mostly interested in the whey) or at room temperature for more flavor.  The whey will separate and drip through the sieve.
  • When no more whey separates out, the cream cheese is ready.  Spoon it out of the sieve into a jar or other storage container, and keep refrigerated.
  • Pour the whey into a jar, screw on the cap, and store in refrigerator.  It can be used for lacto-fermented beverages, or to ferment pickles from vegetables and fruit (instead of using vinegar). Or add to a smoothie to increase the protein content (whey is a very bioavailable protein as long as it has not been pasteurized).

3. Chill:  Transfer to refrigerator, and keep chilled.

Liquid Whey for Lacto-Fermentation

Several recipes call for whey as a starter for lacto-fermentation.  You can use just about any cultured milk product to make whey.  Indeed, when culturing milk, if the temperature is too warm, or you let it sit too long, the product will separate into a white, curdy portion (cream cheese) and an almost clear watery portion.  The watery portion is the whey.

  • 1 quart of homemade buttermilk, yogurt, or kefir
  • very fine sieve:  See cream cheese instructions above, for details.  DO NOT use an aluminum sieve.
  • glass quart measuring cup or bowl
  • wide-mouth glass jar with lid

Method:

  • Follow instructions for cream cheese (above) to collect the whey.
  • When no more whey separates out, the curd remaining in the sieve can be used as cream cheese.  Spoon it out of the sieve into a jar or other storage container, and keep refrigerated.
  • Pour the whey into a jar, screw on the cap, and store in refrigerator.  It can be used for lacto-fermented beverages, or to ferment pickles from vegetables and fruit (instead of using vinegar). Or add to a smoothie to increase the protein content (whey is a very bioavailable protein as long as it has not been pasteurized).

References:

  1. Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon with Mary G. Enig, Ph.D.
  2. cheesemaking.com/store/p/69-Cheese-Cloth-for-Lining-Molds.html and cheesemaking.com/store/p/71-Butter-Muslin-for-Draining-Soft-Cheese.html

About Cat

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