So, without further ado, let's get to the recipe!
1 c. plain yogurt
4 tbs. sun dried tomato pesto
1 tsp. salt
strainer or colander
coffee filters or cheesecloth
bowl to catch the whey
1. Mix the yogurt. In a small bowl, mix your yogurt with the pesto sauce and the salt.
2. Set up your drainage bowl. Hang the strainer over the bowl and line it with 2-3 coffee filters or a layer of cheesecloth.
3. Pour the mixture into the strainer. If you're using cheesecloth, close the mixture up with a rubber band or twist tie. If using filters, layer 2-3 more filters over the top so the yogurt is closed off to the air.
4. Monitor the whey removal. After just 5 minutes you'll have almost a tbs. of whey out of your yogurt. After an hour you can begin to add bowls or other weighted items to the yogurt to encourage more whey removal.
5. Remove from filters/cheesecloth when desired consistency is reached. There really is no time limit, but I'd say that you won't get a good consistency unless you do one of two things: either let it drip normally overnight, or press it with increasing weight for at least two hours. You'll be amazed how much whey you can remove!
*Some people I know actually hang the cheesecloth over a bowl and let gravity do the work, but it's hard to keep it refrigerated that way if that is a concern to you.
Here's what our process looks like:
|We actually use so much of our jarred pesto that we had run out! I had to improvise for ours, so I added about a tbs. of tomato paste, some basil, and some rosemary!|
|I had just finished pouring in the yogurt and you can already see the shimmer of dripping whey at the bottom of the bowl!|
|The wetness of the yogurt is apparent immediately!|
|The amount of whey in the bowl after just 5 minutes!|
|I use a heavy ceramic bowl as an initial weight, and then this allows me to add more weight to encourage more drainage.|
|This is the texture after only 2 hours of weighted straining.|
|Our finished yogurt cheese. This yields just over half a cup and it's delicious!|
Also, now that you've seen how easy it is, I'm sure you can imagine a hundred different ways to switch it up. Try adding only herbs and salt! Try adding some fruit and honey for something sweet! Try adding cinnamon, cloves, or nutmeg (or all of the above, yum) for something warm! Try adding some jalapenos for something spicy!
The sky's the limit.