Why we stopped buying yogurt and cheese

This coronavirus quarantine period was, and still is, not a time of comfort, but it did squeeze out many good things from us. One of the biggest is that we finally found space to do our food experiments. We are happy to report that we are now making our own yogurt and cheese!

Hard to believe, but yogurt is like a unicorn in the shops here, even in the city before the dark times. The quality is not great either. We have always thought about making our own, but somehow kept putting it off. Not anymore!

We found several tutorials on YouTube and combined processes to come up with a simple method that works well for us. This means, a minute amount of steps and basic equipment. I was surprised when it worked the first time!

The result is a creamy, luscious, and clean-tasting yogurt that is sugar-free, preservative-free, and with live active culture. It also has a nice scooping consistency and ribbons on the bowl. Love at first bite! Nothing pairs better with our homemade granola.

Cheese came next. Why rest when we are on a roll? For years, I have watched TV chefs make homemade ricotta but have been too intimidated to give it a go. But we are in a pandemic. So what if I make a few failed batches of cheese?

The first try was good ricotta, creamy but dry, since we squeezed the living daylights out of it. Its texture complemented store-bought cheese when we add it to our double-cheese panini or spicy arabiatta.

We decided to squeeze it less on the second experiment and it was the right adjustment: the texture is creamier, the bite fluffier. It is similar to kesong puti, a locally produced cheese that is traditionally Filipino.

We still add it to our cooked food, but when my sister visited us, she figured this cheese made a great addition to our all-Filipino breakfast plate, served with wild, organic honey harvested from the nearby mountains. It was delicious!

But it feels like we have just scratched the surface with this cheese. It seems like an awesome carrier of flavor and we want to continue exploring its flexibility. Markus has already thought about studding it with peppercorns and adding spices, while I imagined it will be nice to make smaller balls wrapped in cheese cloth, stained or dyed with plant tea, like butterfly snowpea or rhubarb. Do you have other ideas? Curious what else we could do with this!

We will continue with our food experiments with yogurt and cheese, and probably try several recipes for more everyday items. It is more affordable, sustainable, and infinitely exciting. What new thing have you tried at home lately?

36 thoughts on “Why we stopped buying yogurt and cheese

    1. Thank you. Yes, we enjoyed paneer in India, too. I cooked saag paneer when I did my Indian cooking class and it was delicious. Markus and I love Indian food and we are totally in love with your blog. Thank you for visiting us.

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  1. Have made our own yogurt. Unflavored, then enhance with fruit we grow. Have never attempted to make cheese. Do not eat too much cheese. It is always nice to grow your own food and experiment with recipes.

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    1. How do you enhance your yogurt with fruit? Do you add it directly or add the fruit as a topping? Yes, it is fun to grow food and make more stuff. Today we experimented with making our own oat milk. The texture is thinner than storebought but it tastes cleaner. Interesting where this goes.

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      1. We put the fruit in a blender and beat it. Then mix it in the entire container of yogurt. We raise, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and elderberries. We often put our home grown figs in yogurt also. We live in Arkansas in the U.S.

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  2. That yogurt looks tasty. I am a cheese addict so your meals have me drooling. πŸ™‚ I haven’t tried making either of these, but now I’m wanting to make an attempt.

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  3. I’ve never considered making my own cheese or yogurt, but I cannot tell you why. I like to cook and bake, so this might be something new and fun to try. Thanks for the idea.

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  4. I love it when we can make something ourselves instead of depending on the supermarket. We used to make yogurt–before I couldn’t eat dairy (like Barbara up above). I see you are friends with Barbara! It’s a small blogging world…

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    1. Yes, it makes me feel capable, like an adult. I want to try making yogurt from fresh milk, the day it was harvested. Soon, we will make it happen! Yes, let us all be blog friends and tide each other through this pandemic.

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  5. Haha agree, even in the city it’s hard to get good yogurt unless you go to the big supermarkets, and sometimes not even. You really need to find the specialty shops. That yogurt looks heavenly!

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  6. This is good to know, Micah. I have always done a lot of my own baking and have been making bread every day. I made yogurt but I used the bread maker. It came out really well. My mom made jam and I have considered trying to make vinegar. I haven’t tried my hand at cheese yet though. A good idea.

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  7. I lived in Greece, where the yogurt tastes incredibly delicious, for a couple of years (1972-3) when I was a teenager. Have never found any nearly as good since then. But I am lactose intolerant have not had any in many years now. Yours does sound very good and worth the effort!

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    1. Thank you. That yogurt from Greece sounds yum! What did you do when you lived there? There is a place here called Sagada in the north of The Ph where I first had homemade yogurt a decade ago and it was also the best. And Markus and I actually thought about finding a way to make vegan yogurt and are really looking into it. Not sure how to make it happen but it is another experiment for sure. Just curious, what do you think of vegan cheese then?

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      1. I was in high school, living with my parents. Dad had a job there for a couple of years. I haven’t had vegan cheese in a long time but I don’t remember being terribly impressed by it. A dairy-free life has become completely natural to me and I don’t miss much, except perhaps ice cream!

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