Yogurt Cheese

-Recipe from Yamuna mataji

                Unlike some cultured milk products in this chapter, yogurt cheese is not yet sold commercially in America. I think it could become as popular as Neufchatel or cream cheese. It is a revelation in light cheese, with an intriguing flavor. If you like yogurt, you will love dehin. It is nothing more than whole milk yogurt, or even low-fat yogurt, drained of whey and thickened until solid. It requires little more than a colander in the way of equipment, and requires only intermittent attention. Homemade, smooth whole milk yogurt makes the best cheese. If you prefer to use commercial yogurt, make sure it is sweet, and use well before the expiration date on the carton. Tart yogurt is often old, and as the yogurt flavor concentrates as it thickens, the cheese will become sharp and sourish as well. If you are using the cheese for a sweet dish, leave it plain; for eating or cooking, add up to teaspoon (2 ml) of seasoned or herb salt.

Preparation time (after assembling ingredients): a few minutes
Draining time: 12-18 hours for soft cheese or 24-36 hours for firm cheese
Makes: 2 cups (480 ml) soft cheese or 1 cups (360 ml) firm cheese

6 cups (1.5 liters) plain whole milk yogurt
Up to teaspoon (2 ml) herb or sea salt (optional)

1.    Line a colander with clean muslin or several thickness of cheesecloth and set it in a sink. If desired, stir the salt into the yogurt, then place it in the colander and spread it up the sides of the cloth to hasten the absorption of whey. Fold the ends of the cloth over the yogurt.
2.    Set the colander on a rack in a dish at least 2 inches (5 cm) deep. (Leave at least 1 inch/2.5 cm between the rack and the bottom of the dish, for the drained-off whey). Cover the whole unit with clear plastic wrap, sealing it to make it airtight.
3.    Refrigerate to drain for 12-18 hours for a soft cheese or 24-36 hours for a firm cheese. Unwrap and store, sealed, for up to 3 days.