If you love to make milk kefir, you’re already well on your way to making homemade kefir cheese. Kefir cheese tastes bright and tangy and has tons of uses. The best part is – if you have milk kefir then you’re already halfway there to making delicious homemade kefir cheese!
Further reading: Is Kefir Lactose Free?
What is Kefir Cheese?
Kefir cheese is the result of milk kefir that has to be overcultured and strained through cheesecloth to form soft yet dense and tangy cheese. This over-culturing can be caused by letting your milk kefir ferment for too long, or not having the proper ratio of kefir grains to milk.
Either way, this is by no means a bad thing! It just means that with one additional step you can have flavorful homemade cheese. I personally love to use this in place of cream cheese on my morning bagel or use it instead of goat cheese in a salad or omelette.
Kefir Cheese Flavor Combinations
Once you’ve made your own kefir cheese, the options to add delicious herbs and spices are endless! Here are some of my favorite flavor combinations that I incorporate into my homemade kefir cheese:
- Chives and onion powder
- Basil and coarse sea salt
- Lemon oil and rosemary
- Lavender and a touch of honey
- Raspberry or strawberry jam
Further reading: What’s The Best Kefir Substitute?
Ingredients & Equipment
To make milk kefir cheese, you basically just need to make milk kefir, let it ferment for longer than normal, then strain it through a cheesecloth to separate the curds from the whey.
Here’s everything you will need to make the magic happen:
Preferably pasteurized whole cow’s milk. You can bring the milk to a boil to guarantee it is free of any stray bacteria, though this is optional.
Grains can be purchased online or in many health food stores. They may be fresh or dried. If your milk kefir grains are dried, be sure to follow the instructions on the packaging to properly rehydrate them.
Strainer & Bowl
We will strain our milk kefir through a wide mesh strainer first. This will remove the milk kefir grains for you to set aside for future use.
Once your kefir grains have been removed, you’ll make the cheese by straining the milk kefir through cheesecloth. This will guarantee the curds are separate from the whey, making for a more firm cheese.
Wooden spoon or chopstick
Tying the cheesecloth to a wooden spoon or chopstick before suspending the cheesecloth will let gravity do the hard work – so you can kick back and relax!
How to Make Kefir Cheese
Whether or not you’ve made milk kefir before, the steps to make milk kefir cheese are really quite simple.
Now, let’s get into it!
Step One: Combine Milk and Kefir Grains
Culture your milk with kefir grains and let rest at room temperature for longer than normal, 24-36 hours. This will help create more curd separation.
Step Two: Strain Kefir Grains
Pour your milk kefir through a mesh strainer into a medium-sized bowl. Once you’ve separated your kefir from the grains, set the grains aside to use for your next batch of milk kefir.
Step Three: Strain Milk Kefir
With your strainer resting on your bowl, set a piece of cheesecloth over it, ensuring it’s long enough to tie up at the corners. Pour your milk kefir into the cheesecloth.
Now, using a wooden spoon or chopstick, tie the corners of your cheesecloth together and remove the strainer. Your milk kefir should be suspended and not touch the bottom of the bowl.
Step Four: Collect Finished Kefir Cheese
Once your kefir cheese is dry, discard the cheesecloth and store your kefir cheese in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. As for the whey, this is a great starter to culture Lacto-fermented veggies, chutneys, or legumes.
Also read: Milk Kefir vs Water Kefir | Key Differences & Potential Benefits
Kefir cheese is milk kefir that has had the curds separated from the whey. It’s essentially a soft, tangy cheese that has been cultured by probiotic kefir grains.
Don’t expect much success, as store-bought kefir is often slightly pasteurized. You’re better off getting the grains and making it yourself, then you can have milk kefir indefinitely!
While kefir and yogurt have some similarities, they are quite different. Both are cultured using different strains of bacteria and are made in different methods. Milk kefir will typically taste tangier than yogurt.
- Wooden spoon or chopstick
- 1 quart Whole milk
- 2 tbsp Hydrated kefir grains
- Culture milk with kefir grains in a large jar with enough room to leave an inch of headspace. Cover with cheesecloth or coffee filter and let sit at room temperature for 24-36 hours.
- Strain milk kefir through a fine mesh strainer, removing the kefir grains from the milk kefir. Set your grains aside for future use.
- Place a large square of cheesecloth over your strainer and pour the milk kefir into the cheesecloth. Set a wooden spoon over the top of your strainer and tie the corners of the cheesecloth together. Remove the strainer and let your milk kefir strain the whey into your bowl.
- Once your cheese is dry and all the whey has been removed, you can remove your kefir cheese and store it in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks – or enjoy it right away!