Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Yogurt Cream Cheese

There’s a note in my Deli cookbook that mentions how great it would be to have a brunch where everything, from the lox to the bagels to the cream cheese, is homemade. So that’s what I decided to do. Also, the cream cheese recipe is on the opposite page from the lox, so it’s kind of just right there, asking to be made. This is a half-size recipe.

Yogurt-Cream Cheese from Deli:

Makes about 5 oz.

1 qt. yogurt
Salt (optional)
Flavoring of your choice

Line a sieve or colander with a long piece of doubled damp cheesecloth and place in over a large bowl. Dump in the yogurt, fold the cheesecloth over to cover well, and leave in a cool part of your kitchen for 24 hours. Every once in a while, pour off the liquid that accumulates in the bowl.

At the end of the 24-hour period, pick up the wrapped ball of yogurt cheese and squeeze it over the bowl to extract any remaining liquid. Place the cheese in a bowl and mix in the salt to taste (although it is perfectly delicious with no salt at all) and – if you wish – the flavoring of your choice. I went with salt and no additional flavorings. At first I thought I hadn’t added enough salt and then I thought I had added too much. It turned out to be just fine, but be careful! Refrigerate for several hours before serving. If the yogurt is fresh to begin with, the cream cheese will keep for weeks.

I did like this, but mostly as a layering device to go with the lox and bagels. On its own (and why would you eat just cream cheese on its own anyway?), it wasn’t bad, just not amazing. Part of this is likely due to the fact that I used Nancy’s organic non-fat yogurt. I love, love, LOVE Nancy’s, but it does have a very distinct taste and tang to it, which definitely comes through in the cream cheese. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does change the flavor profile quite a bit. However, it worked really well with the bagels and lox and I am glad I made everything on my own. I was filled with pride, just like the book said.

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