Basic Kefir cheese making (soft cheese)

Kefir soft cheese is really easy to make and can be flavoured with herbs and spices or even fruit. It can also be used to make cheese cakes and to add body to smoothies. We use it much like the well-known brand of soft cheese you can buy in the store that is rolled in herbs. Our favourite flavouring is garlic and  the addition of a little salt.

Before you start it is essential that everything is scrupulously clean. Wash your hands really well. Scrub surfaces, bowls and utensils and rinse any equipment that you will be using with boiling water. The cheese cloth will need to be scalded with boiling water (but then cooled) before use. Milk is a breeding ground for bad bacteria as well as good, so it is important to be thorough when making any dairy product.

You will need some kefir milk grains that have been left in milk (I use organic full fat milk)  for 24-48 hrs …….and the following items : A stainless steel or plastic colander, nylon sieve, cheese cloth , jugs, plastic or wooden spoon, bowls.

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KEFIR MILK GRAINS

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You start off by pouring the entire contents of your kefir milk jug, (so that’s the curds/whey and grains) into a colander set over a large bowl. This enables all the liquid to go into the bowl below and keeps the grains in the colander

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It looks pretty yukky at this point but do not worry.  Next you gently stir the contents of the colander with the plastic spoon ( avoid using metal, apart from stainless steel) to allow all the liquid to escape into the bowl and to get the grains free of most of the kefir curds/ whey.

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Next you place the colander over a spare bowl and set aside. Then pour the liquid that you collected in the first bowl, into a scalded cheesecloth or jelly bag, that is sitting over a  jug/ bowl, (to collect the clear yellow whey). You can use a nylon sieve at this point to catch any tiny kefir grains that may have passed through the colander.

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Then you hang the filled cheesecloth over the bowl ( which is now partially full of yellow whey) and allow the bag to drip for at least 8 hrs. It will  continue to become more sour if kept in a warm room, so to prevent that you can allow it to drip overnight in the fridge or in an unheated room/ pantry / kitchen.

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After 8 hrs tip the creamy and smooth contents of cheese bag into a mould or shape with a spatula. You can add salt, herbs etc before you do this and mix well.

If you put this soft cheese in a press it will form a slightly more firm cheese that is fairly solid but not as hard as cheddar.

and hey presto..

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Garlic and herb soft cheese

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Semi hard kefir cheese

There are a huge amount of things you can use kefir for: Smoothies, hard cheeses, yoghurt, drinks etc.  I sell some kefir milk grains on eBay  if anyone wants some?  Here is a link ..I only sell within the UK only..Sorry.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Kefir-milk-grains-cultured-in-organic-cows-milk-/330889089053?pt=UK_Home_Garden_Food_SM&hash=item4d0a86d01d

For more inspiration and lots more cheese making advice check out the following links :

http://users.sa.chariot.net.au/~dna/kefirpage.html

http://users.chariot.net.au/~dna/kefir-faq.html

http://users.chariot.net.au/~dna/Makekefir.html

http://users.chariot.net.au/~dna/kefir_cheese.html

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8 comments on “Basic Kefir cheese making (soft cheese)

  1. Nikki Wall says:

    Kefir soft cheese is lovely in cheesecake and I know you’ll be using the whey to make lovely bread, scones, etc 🙂

  2. how did you do the semi hard cheese? Mine didnt turn out right when I tried 😦 I think maybe I pressed it too hard and for too long?

    • Ma Larkin says:

      I hung the curds for 24hrs in a cloth, then pressed them in a meat press for 24 hrs. I don’t own a cheese press but it did the same job. I turned it once half way through and that was it….It was a bit crumbly but firm enough to slice 🙂

  3. Regena says:

    So while most cheese aficionados will wrinkle there noses at the mere mention of processed cheeses, we have now found some very sophisticated uses for them.
    I made the switch to goat cheese so more people could enjoy the recipe, but I think I actually
    like the taste of the goat cheese even better than the feta
    cheese. You can place the pre-packaged cheese in a
    strong freezer bag, squeeze all the air out and plop directly into freezer.

    • Ma Larkin says:

      I make kefir cheese from both cow and my goats milk.Both are lovely although I have a preference for any cheese made from my own dairy goats milk.. it is so creamy and fresh tasting!

  4. Patrick says:

    I have been making goats kefir cheese by gently heating the fermented milk to about 60/70 and then letting it cool, then I just put it through a fine sieve to drain. Have I been doing it wrong?

    • Ma Larkin says:

      I simply hang it up in a muslin straight from culturing and after straining it..at room temp..I don’t heat the milk.But if you are getting good edible cheese by doing it your way then stick with it 🙂 I culture it for 48hrs at room temp so it splits into curds and whey.. Push through a colander so you can retrieve your grains and put all the liquid in scalded cheesecloth to drain over a bowl overnight.

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