Whenever I set out cheeses, the yogurt cheese is the one people usually rave over the loudest, which makes me laugh since it’s about the easiest cheese possible, really. (Talk about humbling, ha!) But it is good! Problem is, I don’t reach for it very frequently cause, stored in the fridge in oil that’s solidified, it’s kinda awkward to get to. Plus, any piece of cheese that sticks out of the oil turns moldy, which turns me off, too.
But then one of my friends in our cheesemaking group served yogurt cheese that she’d rolled into logs, wrapped, and then stored in the freezer. The herbs were incorporated into the cheese, there was no oil to mess with, and it tasted fabulous.
Inspired, a couple weeks ago, I turned three gallons of milk into yogurt into cheese. I stirred in a bunch of herbs à la Boursin cheese — the fancy French stuff — and rolled it into logs.
Worried the texture would go all wonky, I was a leery of freezing the cheese. (My friend said the cheese, once frozen, gets a little crumbly, which she likes, but I love the smooth, creamy texture.) So I tested one log by itself: frozen and thawed, it was indistinguishable from the fresh cheeses, whoop-whoop! Though, to be fair, it was only in the freezer for a couple days, so maybe it will get crumbly if it’s in the freezer for a longer time? We’ll see. Either way, I suspect it’ll be perfectly fine.
Now I’m warming all my jars of prior-made yogurt cheese balls to room temp, removing them from the oil, and wrapping and freezing them. No need to take up all that fridge space with jars of cheese if I can store it in the freezer just in paper and plastic. Plus, just think of all the oil I’ll save.
Since I doubt most people want to make three gallons of yogurt into cheese on the first go-round, I dialed the recipe back to two quarts. Herbs amounts are estimates. Taste and adjust according to your preference.
I was worried the cheese would stick to the paper, but it didn’t. I think wax and/or parchment paper, or plastic wrap, should probably work, though I’m not sure. (The cheese paper gets quite wet from the fresh cheese when stored in the fridge — it’ll look watery and weird, but it’s totally fine. Just, if serving to company, transfer it to a pretty bowl first.)
2-3 quarts yogurt, drained and salted (this method)
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
½ teaspoon EACH garlic powder, dried basil, dried chives, and black pepper
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
Stir the herbs into the cheese. Eat fresh — it should keep for a week or two in the fridge — with crackers, as a dip for veggies, in sandwiches, with eggs, fresh asparagus, etc. If freezing, shape into logs, wrap in brown paper and then in plastic, and freeze.
This same time, years previous: what we ate, the coronavirus diaries: week seven, the quotidian (4.23.18), what it’s like to write full time: an experiment, creamed honey, out of character, ailments, my lot, bacon-wrapped jalapeños.