Yogurt cheese is a soft cheese-like product that can be easily made in a home kitchen. It may be used in many ways, such to make dips and sandwich spreads, as the consistency can be varied depending on personal preference. If made without added fat, yogurt cheese is a low-calorie, healthy source of calcium and protein.
The only equipment that's required to make yogurt cheese is a mesh strainer, a bowl and a coffee filter or cheese cloth as well as a refrigerator. The first step is to pour the excess liquid off of plain, nonfat yogurt. Three times the amount of yogurt as the amount of cheese wanted should be placed into a coffee filter or cheesecloth-lined strainer. The strainer should have a bowl underneath it before being moved to the refrigerator.
After about 10 to 12 hours in the refrigerator, the yogurt cheese should be ready. If a very soft cheese is wanted, only three to four hours of draining time may be required. Once the cheese is at the desired consistency, the strainer and filter should be removed. In a covered bowl, the completed yogurt nonfat cheese should last about a week.
Thinner yogurt cheese can be used to make salad dressings with a creamy texture; a little milk stirred in helps create a pourable dressing. One idea for a nutritious and low-calorie main course salad is to use pieces of leftover cooked chicken or fish as well as sliced raw vegetables, such as mushrooms, tomatoes and cucumber, over a bed of salad greens. The greens could include spinach as well as, or instead of, lettuce for added nutrition. Chopped green onions, or a white or red onion thinly sliced into rings, adds both flavor and texture to spinach salads.
After the yogurt cheese — with a little milk to thin it — is poured on top of the spinach salad meal, croutons made simply by cutting toast into squares can be added. Whole wheat toast should be used to add nutrition and fiber to the salad. Another idea is to add freshly ground pepper and a little lemon juice mixed into the yogurt cheese and milk to create a flavorful, creamy dressing. The same salad dressing without milk can be used to create egg, tuna or salmon salad mixtures.
Yogurt nonfat cheese can also be used in place of sour cream as a low-calorie, low-fat alternative for baked potato toppings. In the morning, yogurt cheese mixed with a little jam can make a cream cheese-like topping for whole grain toast or bagels. With herbs and finely chopped onion added, yogurt soft cheese can be used as a dip for fresh, cut-up vegetables.