Yoghurt Cheese is a really fun, and easy alternative to cream cheese. It doesn’t take any special skills or techniques. And leaves you with a tart, smooth, and versatile spread. It was one of the first “cheeses” I ever made, and it’s been something I go to whenever I want something just a bit lighter than cream cheese.Jump to Recipe
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When I found out about yoghurt cheese, it was 100% a fluke. I was in university and was on a low fat/no fat kick (not something I recommend now, with more knowledge of healthy diets) and was eating a lot of fat free yoghurt. I have always loved cheese but while I was trying to eat a lot less fat, there weren’t a heck of a lot of cheese options available to a poor student. While wandering through a store that sold kitchen tools, I stumbled across a yoghurt cheese maker. It was a small box that had a removable strainer inside it. It was cheap, so I thought why not. You filled the strainer insert with yoghurt, put it in the box, and into the fridge. The next day, voila, a fat free cream cheese alternative. I was hooked.
No Special Box Required
Eventually in all of my moving around in my early twenties I lost the little “maker”. But with much more know-how, I realized I could just use cheese cloth, a strainer, and a bowl. Duh. Now when I make it, I do actually still use fat free yoghurt, but it’s not for my waist line. It’s more because I like the finished texture of the cheese a bit better. We also use lactose free yoghurt these days, because Hubby is a bit sensitive to it.
Learning The History
Another thing that I learned much later, is that yoghurt cheese is the English term for Labneh. A super traditional Lebanese (and Middle Eastern all over) food. I had actually been served Labneh a few times up to that point and simply hadn’t made the connection. Labneh can be served in a number of ways, sort of depending on where you are, but also, when you’re eating it. Breakfast labneh will be served in a different way to Dinner labneh, etc. One of my favourite forms was drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with Za’atar, with falafels for dipping. Yum!
Eat It Your Way
Weirdly now my favourite ways to eat it are either spread on toast with pickled onions, salt, and pepper. Or topped with salsa, with tortilla chips for dipping. You really have to love how amazing it is to combine all of the incredible flavours from across the world. I would encourage you to try topping it with everything and anything, just to see all the great combos!
If you want to try your hand at making another easy beginners cheese, why not try this Mascarpone recipe. And if you’re going to be serving up some yoghurt cheese soon, you’ll need some toppings and some bread. So here’s my Simple Overnight Sourdough, and some Green Tomato Salsa.
- Cheese Cloth
- Fine Strainer
- 2 cups Greek Yoghurt I use lactose free, fat free Liberte brand
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- Cut a piece of cheese cloth that, folded in half, lines the inside of a strainer with some overhang.
- Sit the lined strainer into a bowl deep enough that the strainer doesn't touch the bottom.
- Stir the salt into the yoghurt thoroughly. Pour the yoghurt into the lined strainer, and cover over with the excess cheese cloth. Cover with plastic wrap, and sit a can of tomatoes or beans on top to gently press it.
- Place in the fridge for 24-36hours. Once it's fully drained you'll be left with about 1/2 cup of whey. The amount of whey will vary based on the variety of yoghurt, so don't be surprised if there's more.
- Remove the cheese from the cheese cloth and either serve immediately or transfer to a container and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.