I make kefir cheese regularly as a cultured alternative to cream cheese. It’s savory with dill and garlic, sweet with fruit and honey, and creamy and tangy any way you slice it. I’m also a bit of a space cadet so I often leave the kefir to culture a bit too long. I recently did a whole write up with photos on straining milk kefir, especially if you’ve over-cultured. But this, my friends, is beyond over-cultured (as you’ll see in the photo). It’s entirely curds and whey and I know it’s going to be a bit of a hassle to fish out those kefir grains. So, instead of fighting it, I work with it. This curds and whey thing actually works really well for making kefir cheese. Dare I say my spaciness made it easier? This quart jar contains whey in the bottom half and thick cheese-like kefir in the top half. I’ve found that the grains tend to congregate near the bottom of the mass of kefir cheese, so I scoop most of it out with a wooden spoon and place it in a bowl. I then pour the rest of the kefir and whey through a plastic strainer. At this, the whey rushes through and the curds sit in the strainer. I’m then able to easily remove the grains with my fingers. If it appears as though any are missing, I simply feel through the kefir cheese I’ve already dumped into the bowl. It’s pretty easy to find them, it just takes a minute. At this point the kefir is somewhere between yogurt and Greek yogurt in texture. To make it more of a cream cheese texture, I dump it into a coffee filter-lined sieve over a bowl. The bowl catches the whey and the cheese takes only a couple of hours to firm up due to all of the whey that has already separated out during the culturing process. Generally I find it takes 6-8 hours when starting with regular kefir, so this allows me to use it for the next meal. So, while we’re not able to use this over-cultured kefir easily for a smooth beverage, it makes kefir cheese a quick and easy addition to our meals.
More from the Cultures for Health Blog
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