Easy Homemade Cream Cheese

I love cream cheese. If it weren’t so expensive, I would go through a lot of it. Unfortunately, it is pretty expensive, and most of the cream cheese you find at the store has all sorts of nasty additives that I really would rather not put into my body.

I’ve tried using homemade ricotta and similar products instead, but it just isn’t the same, and takes more time than I have available. But one day, I made some filmjolk (which I had never tasted before), and when I tasted it, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it tasted exactly like cultured cream cheese. However, being yogurt, it was way too liquid to use as a spread.

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A Substitute for Kefir? I Think So!

I have to confess something. I really don’t like kefir. I’ve always wanted to like it, but I’ve never been quite able to get used to the taste or texture. I can understand why so many people like it so much, but I can’t quite bring myself to share that enjoyment. So naturally, since I work with people every day to help solve kefir problems, I got a little frustrated by not being able to enjoy a cultured milk drink of my own.

But the other day, I had an idea. I make my own viili yogurt, and I love it. If I had the time to make enough of it, I would probably eat at least a quart a day. The taste is exactly what I like, and it picks up other flavors really well. So, I thought, what if I blended it?

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Why Greek Yogurt Contains More Protein

All yogurt begins with two simple ingredients – milk and beneficial bacteria. The type of milk can vary, from full-fat to non-fat, but these two simple ingredients remain.

So, why, you might ask, does a full-fat Greek yogurt contain more protein than other full-fat yogurts? The process of making Greek yogurt starts out exactly the same, but Greek yogurt adds one more crucial step.

In making Greek yogurt you take your cultured “regular” yogurt and strain the whey out of it. That is the only difference between Greek and regular yogurt. Here is how the nutritional profile of Greek yogurt changes due to this one simple process.

The whey contained in yogurt contains amino acids, calcium, lactose (if there is still some left after culturing), small amounts of protein, and B vitamins.

When you strain your yogurt through a towel or sheets of cheesecloth you are, in effect, removing the nutrients in the whey and concentrating the nutrients in the “curd” of the yogurt. The “curd” of the yogurt is where all of the milk solids lie, and therefore almost all of the milk protein.

Let’s say you strain two cups of yogurt and end up with one cup of whey and one cup of dense yogurt. This yogurt now has a much more concentrated protein content than a cup of yogurt that has not been strained since that cup still contains the nutrients in the whey as well.

Greek yogurt also tends to be slightly less tangy since the whey contains a considerable amount of (beneficial) acids. So Greek yogurt is more favorable for those who prefer a less tart yogurt.

The downside of straining out the whey is that you do lose the calcium found in the whey. You can, however, consume that whey in another food product (such as soaked grains, in baked goods, or drunk straight up), and enjoy thick, higher protein Greek yogurt.

Shannon

Shannon is a mama to four small children, homesteader, freelance writer, and picture-taker. She lives with her husband on their off-grid homestead where they make and eat kefir, kombucha, sourdough, and fermented vegetables.

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