The big pluses to making your own Greek Yogurt cream cheese are this: You can control the amount of fat. You can also choose the flavors, and which ingredients are in those flavors. You’ll find a link in the recipe below to a line of organic spice mixes that are available online and in natural foods markets. There are other brands, too! Just remember— whichever brand you use, make sure the mix doesn’t have added MSG, sugars, thickeners or artificial ingredients.
*Use our strained yogurt method for the plain base “cream cheese”:
1-Line a colander or wire strainer with paper coffee filters, torn open to lie flat. The object is to cover the interior of the colander with a single layer.
2-Sit the colander in a pot small enough so the colander handles elevate the colander off the floor of the pot by at least 1/2 inch. The goal is to keep the colander OUT of the liquid that strains out. Cover the pot.
3-Leave In refrigerator overnight, or about 8 hours. The amount of time spent straining affects the thickness of the cream cheese. Control the thickness of your cream cheese by checking the consistency every few hours. You might want it softer for a spread, or thicker for a recipe. (longer strain time=thicker yogurt). Or, It can stay up to 2 days in the fridge to reach optimum stiffness, more like a traditional commercial cream cheese.
4-Pour out the whey frequently that strains out, to make sure your colander isn’t sitting in it.
HERB GREEK YOGURT “CREAM CHEESE” RECIPE
•Strain a quart of AtlantaFresh Plain Greek Yogurt, any fat level for 8-48 hours, depending on desired consistency
•In pyrex or stainless mixing bowl, whip in one packet of organic Ranch dressing mix. We used The Spice Hunter organic Ranch Dip mix. Available at Sprouts Markets. (TIP: Add half the packet. Taste. If more is desired, add gradually. You can always add more. But you can’t take it out!)
•Fill jam jars with mix and label for gifts, if desired. refrigerate.