Excuse the messy bench in the background, but I don’t have enough time to cook and keep everything neat, so cooking comes first. From now on the pictures on this blog should be better quality as well. I’m now able to use my mum’s DSLR (instead of my phone), so hopefully I’ll get a chance to take better photos.
Cream cheese is one of my favourite kinds of soft cheese. It’s delicious and it’s super versatile. You can use it for sweet or savoury things, and you can work it into just about every meal to add a bit more calcium to your meal. Unfortunately it is difficult and expensive to get cream cheese in Tonga. You can very rarely buy the spreadable stuff, and the cooking stuff only comes in kilo blocks for around 27 pa’anga. So I decided to find out how to make it. After some googling I eventually figured out an easy way to make it from yoghurt (which is also expensive but that’s a rant for another post). Now it’s not exactly the same as cream cheese from the store, but I actually like it better.
So to start out grab a bowl that’s slightly larger than the amount of yoghurt and line it with a Chux cloth. If you’ve got a cheese cloth you can use that but I find Chux works just fine. Pour the yoghurt into the cloth.
Then gather up the edges and tie it into a little pouch. I usually use a rubber band, but I could find one so I used a hair elastic instead.
Once it’s tied up into its little pouch you’ll see that it’s surrounded by a weird milky substance. This is the whey DO NOT THROW IT OUT. The whey still has all the nutrients and protein and stuff from the yoghurt without all the fat and stuff. It’s super good for you and there are so many uses. I use it a lot in smoothies and it’s great for making risotto.
It’s been raining a lot lately so there a quite a few ants in our house. We just can’t seem to get rid of them! So to keep the soon-to-be-cheese away from the ants I tie it up to strain in our stock pot. If insects aren’t a problem for you, you can tie it up wherever you have space, just make sure you put a bowl underneath it to catch all the whey. I just tie fishing line around the top of my little pouch then tie the ends to the handles of our stock pot.
I then put the lid on and it’s done!
Now I just find some clear space on my bench where the pot can sit, and I leave it for a bout twenty-four hours, until the whey has drained out but the cheese is still soft and spreadable. Then you just scrape it out of the Chux cloth into an airtight container and store it in the fridge. It’s normally good for about two weeks, but trust me it wont last long enough to go out of date. So enjoy your homemade cream cheese, and enjoy experimenting with the whey to find different ways to use it. Let me know if you find any cool things to do with the left over whey.
THE MORNING AFTER
So after leaving it do drip for about twenty-four hours I turned it out of it’s little pouch into a sealed container.
Now you just store it in the fridge and you have yummy creamy homemade cheese. It should be fine in the fridge for about two weeks, but I can guarantee you it won’t last that long. After breakfast this morning this was all we had left:
For breakfast this morning I smeared a whole heap of it onto some of the local made American rye bread and topped it with some sunflower seeds, chia seed, and pepitas. Yum!