My son loves cream cheese. When we were living in Ireland the kids were not allowed to go to school with peanut butter in their lunch, which is fair and common here as well, but it left me with a chink in my mom armor when it came to feeding this peanut butter loving kid. Thankfully, he had another weakness, but I found there was a really easy and powerful way to prepare it for him when we were living in Ireland. I was making milk kefir regularly and decided to strain it for some whey to make hummus. What was left was a glorious cream cheese packed with probiotics for his little tummy. Now, I normally would not promote whey as the be all end all for creating fun cultures at home. Although I follow the Nourishing Traditions way, whey can be inflammatory and I prefer to stick with non dairy options when I can. On this occasion though, I will tout the benefits of whey from kefir because it hosts a much more potent collection of probiotic strains; the kind that stay in your gut, and it makes for easy fermenting of homemade granola. Though to be fair, I prefer to use coconut kefir water or whey, the strained off liquid from the yogurt or cream cheese making process, to culture other delicacies. So this is a two part wonder. If you strain coconut yogurt gently you’ll get thicker coconut yogurt and coconut water or whey. If you bind it up as you would milk kefir like the following process you’ll get a thicker coconut spreadable cheese. It’s pretty amazing, really. This recipe is for milk kefir cream cheese though… as the process is the same.
Cream Cheese & Whey
- Quart canning jars
- Batter bowl or medium bowl.
- Large sieve
- Muslin or cheesecloth
- spoon, straw or chopstick to tie off muslin
- 1 quart milk kefir or coconut kefir fully cultured
- Set up the batter bowl with the large sieve.
- Drape the muslin or cheesecloth inside it.
- Pour the kefir into the cheesecloth and cover with a plate or cloth for 2 hours or so. If you need to leave the house just put it in the fridge.
- Pour out the whey into a jar for other use or coconut kefir water for drinking.
- Place a wooden spoon, chopstick or straw across the top of the bowl and lift the opposite corners of the cheesecloth and tie off over it. This will help squeeze out the remaining moisture from the kefir.
- Remove the sieve and let the cheese hang and drip into the bowl. Place back in fridge for a few hours or overnight.
- Remove the cream cheese ball from the cheesecloth and store in a glass airtight container for up to two weeks.
*Note, I was going to link Pampered Chef’s batter bowl but they have changed the shape. Le Creuset has one that is oven safe. I prefer this shape because I can use it to make a variety of fun birthday cakes for kids!