How to make yogurt better

This will be a short post, but I have something I need to share. It’s so simple, and so good, and it makes yogurt taste, like, 10 million times better.

Disclosure: I’m not a picky person, and I’ll try almost any food you put in front of me, but I’m more than a little picky about textures. Cookie dough? Great. Cake batter? Slimy, ew, no. Pudding? Meh…acceptable, on occasion. Overcooked spinach: akin to slimy lettuce, aka no. And don’t get me started about jello, unless it’s, shall we say, a little edgier than the jello given to children. Or unless I’m sick – but only then. You might be able to see where this is going: yogurt. I don’t like yogurt. It’s slimy. Bleh. I’ve always wanted to like yogurt, but the only way I can manage it is if it’s covered in a lot of granola, covering up the slimy texture.

Until now. I’m still cheating and removing the slimy texture of yogurt, but the result is so good and you need to make it now. This can hardly even be called a recipe.

I make a delicious, fresh, tangy cheese by straining yogurt in cheesecloth. All you do is line a mesh strainer with cheesecloth, place a few gobs of plain yogurt (good quality, whole-milk is best, but I made it with a cheapo nonfat yogurt once, and it was still good) on the cheesecloth, cover with plastic wrap, and place the strainer over a container tall enough to catch the whey without touching the strainer. Let it sit in the fridge for 8 – 24 hours, until the gob of yogurt has turned into a creamy, soft cheese. Put into an airtight container, and store for up to a week or so. That’s it! Oh, and if you by chance ran out of cheesecloth and the only store that sells it in your tiny town is only driving distance and you don’t own a car, you can also use coffee filters. Just so you know.

Of course, I am not the first to make this strained yogurt cheese. Many different countries make this. In America it’s known as Greek yogurt, although the version I make is much thicker than the Greek yogurt available from grocery stores.

My favorite way to eat this cheese is spread on toasted bread with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of freshly cracked pepper. Or spread over toast and drizzled with honey and a touch of flaky salt. It also serves as a beautiful base for tzatziki, resulting in a thicker, more meaty dip than with normal yogurt. You could make a deconstructed dip by placing a mound of the cheese in a pool of olive oil, cracking pepper or salt on top, and serving with flat breads. Maybe add a bit of ground cumin or cayenne, to add some spice. I imagine it would also be good spread on a sandwich with a spicy jam and ham. The possibilities are endless.

Coming up: a post about apples, and a soup I made from different winter squashes and black beans. This is also really good, and you will probably want to make this as well. I wouldn’t hold it against you.


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