Making hard kefir cheese is a great way to use up over-cultured kefir. Pressed kefir curds turn into a thick crumbly cheese that is similar to fresh feta cheese. It is flavourful, tangy and probiotic.
How Make Hard kefir cheese
There are two methods for making hard kefir cheese. The hanging ball method makes a softer, spreading cheese. Pressing will result in a firm, crumbly cheese.
In either case, follow the recipe at the bottom of the post, then finish the cheese using one of these two methods.
1. Hanging ball method
The hanging ball method is not technically a pressed cheese. However, it is the EASIEST way to make a firm cheese.
Here are the steps involved with the hanging ball method.
- After straining and salting the cheese curds as directed in the recipe below, knot the ends of the cheese cloth and hang the ball of cheese.
- Allow it to drain for 24 hours.
- I typically do this by tying the cheesecloth around a wooden spoon suspended above a large measuring cup.
- If it is warmer than 21 C/ 70F in your house, then I recommend hanging the cheese in the fridge to prevent further souring.
2. Pressed cheese
Making a pressed kefir cheese doesn’t have to be difficult. Follow the recipe at the bottom of the post, the press the cheese at whatever weight you want. The amount of weight will dictate the firmness of the cheese.
For a crumbly ricotta-style cheese use about 2 lbs of weight. For a firm feta-like cheese use up to 5 lbs of weight. Using 20 lbs of weight will result in a cheese that is firm enough to be sliced and grated.
As you can see from the photo above, I usually use whatever is on hand. The weights from my scale add up to about 4 lbs, then a large can of tomatoes as the follower makes it about 5 lbs of weight.
It is possible to make a simple cheese press out of a large tin can, here’s how.
Here’s the steps to press kefir cheese:
- After salting the kefir curds pack the curds into a cheese cloth lined mold.
- Press at 2 lbs of weight for 1 hour.
- After 1 hour turn the cheese over and increase to 5 lbs weight.
- If you are using more than 5 lbs weight, turn the cheese one more time and increase to the final weight.
- Press the cheese for 24 hours, then store in the fridge until ready to serve.
How to use kefir cheese
I am constantly making kefir cheese because it is an affordable and healthy alternative to cream cheese, feta and ricotta.
The consistency of the cheese depends on how long the cheese is pressed and much weight is used for pressing. See more information in the sections above.
Here are just a few recipes that are perfect for kefir cheese:
- Use the hanging ball method to make a soft, spreading cheese. My kids love Boursin flavoured cheese.
- Cheese pressed with 2 lbs of weight is similar to a firm cream cheese. It is perfect for making cream cheese frosting or herb marinated cheese balls.
- To make a feta-like cheese, press with 5-10 lbs of weight. Firm kefir cheese is delicious alternative to ricotta in lasagna, or use it to make spanakopita.
Firm Kefir Cheese
Learn how to turn over-cultured kefir into a firm pressed kefir cultured cheese. This simple recipe doesn’t require any cooking or rennet. See the sections above for information on how to create your own simple cheese press from household items.
- Cook Time: 8 hours
- Total Time: 8 hours
- Yield: 2 cups 1x
- Category: Cheese
- Method: Fermented
- Cuisine: Probiotic
- 4 cups of thick curded milk kefir
- 1/2 tsp of salt (non-iodized)
- While kefir cheese can be made from accidentally over-cultured kefir, it’s actually better if the kefir is intentionally allowed to curdle.
- To curdle milk kefir for cheese, remove the grains from well-cultured, thick kefir. Allow the kefir to sit out on the counter for an additional 12-24 hours until it has clearly separated into curds and whey.
- Line a colander with two layers of cheesecloth. Pour the curded kefir into the colander to drain away most of the whey. I recommend catching the whey because it is full of probiotics and perfect for culturing all sorts of other ferments. See the notes at the bottom of the recipe for some suggestions.
- Allow the curds to drain for 4 to 6 hours.
- After this initial draining, sprinkle on 1/2 tsp of salt. Then either use the hanging ball method or press the cheese as described in the sections above.
- This recipe is for cheese made from milk kefir. To make cheese from yogurt, follow this recipe for labneh.
- Kefir whey is incredibly useful. It can be used for baking, culturing vegetables or adding a dose of probiotics to dips and sauces.
- If this is your first time making cheese, I recommend reading how to make cheese at home for more information on each of the steps involved.
Keywords: kefir cheese, pressed cheese, simple, homemade, cheesemaking, over-cultured kefir, separated kefir, kefir feta, kefir ricotta, kefir cream cheese