Winter Projects: Homemade Cheese

Marinated homemade cheese is actually really easy to make and it’s SO festive for holiday parties.  Your guests will be incredibly impressed when you whip out the jars and say nonchalantly, “Oops…I totally forgot to put out our homemade cheese…”

Marinated Yogurt Cheese

Step 1 (Day 1)

  • Big tub of plain Fage Greek yogurt
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • kosher salt
  • cheese cloth
  • large, deep bowl
  • bamboo skewers or metal skewers

Stir together the yogurt, about 1 tsp. of kosher salt, lemon zest and lemon juice in a bowl.  In another bowl or on a large plate, layer the cheese cloth in about 3-4 layers and scoop the yogurt mixture into the center.  Pull up the cheesecloth around the yogurt, twist into a tight ball and secure with a rubber band.   Rig your large bowl with skewers and suspend the ball over the bowl to catch the juices.  You want it high enough that it won’t touch the juice, so you can hang it or put it on a rack of skewers like we did depending on the depth of your bowl.   Put in the bottom of your fridge.

Step 2 (Day 2)

Twist the ball tighter to push more juice out and put back in the fridge until the end of the day.  At night, take the cheese ball out of the fridge and put in a cool place (unheated bathroom or drafty cellar, etc.).  This will allow the cheese to warm slightly so more juice runs out about 12-16 hours before you form the balls.

Step 3 (Day 3)

  • 2 16oz. sterilized glass jars with lids (boiled and air-dried)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • crushed red pepper
  • fresh rosemary
  • fresh thyme
  • black pepper
  • dried basil

Unwrap your cheese.  Form into ping-pong ball sized spheres with your hands and place on a plate.  Chill in the fridge while you prep the herbs.  Fill the bottom of the jars with the herbs, salt and pepper.  There is no rhyme or reason to this, so put in as much as you like.   I put in each jar about 1 tsp of salt, crushed red pepper and dried basil, 1/2 tsp black pepper, and a couple of tablespoons of the chopped fresh herbs.  Cover the herbs with some EVOO.   Fill the jar with the cheese balls.  Pour in more oil to cover them.  You may need to roll the jar around a bit and then add more balls when they settle.  I flipped my jars over to distribute the herbs and spices.  Refrigerate for a few days before eating.  One recipe I saw said they were good up to 6 months in the fridge, but another said 2 weeks….so I’m going to be cautious and eat them all right now. 

1 Comment

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One response to “Winter Projects: Homemade Cheese

  1. I like to keep the whey for making soda bread, making something from a waste product just adds to the taste and saves you some pennies!

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