There are several ways to make kefir cheese. Some use additional heat to separate the whey from the curd, while others do not apply any heating.
However, it is essential to say that although heat does not necessarily kill the kefir’s beneficial bacteria, it usually deteriorates its probiotic properties. That’s why we always recommend this first “no-heat” method or making kefir cheese.
Note: with this method, you will not obtain a solid cheese, but a relatively soft and creamy textured cheese like Mascarpone or “Philadelphia”.
A good kefir cheese starter point is to obtain kefir where the curd and whey are separated. It is also possible to make kefir cheese if kefir is not “separated”, but straining the liquid whey out of it could be somewhat tricky and take much longer.
Obtaining kefir with a separated whey is relatively straightforward: you either have to let it ferment longer, make it with more kefir grains than usual, or ferment it at somewhat higher ambient temperatures (around 25-28° C or 77-82° F).
The next step is simple: slowly pour both curd and whey into a strainer covered with several layers of cheesecloth. Be careful not to mix back the curd with the whey so that the whey drains out first. The less dense your curd is, the finer your cheesecloth should be.
Do not throw away the whey! It is a potent probiotic, and if you still do not like its taste, you could use it instead of water for making tasty sourdough bread.
Once in the cheesecloth, leave the kefir curd drain over the sink for at least 6 to 12 hours.
After that, the only thing left is to add the needed salt and spices to make your kefir cheese as delicious as possible.
These spices could be a clove of garlic, a bunch of minced chives, a few cracks of fresh ground pepper, or even pieces of chilly pepper. It is all up to your taste.
Stir it all together and leave it for a couple of hours in the fridge. You now have an excellent soft kefir cheese – with a tangy taste, rich flavor, and a dense and mellow texture! Enjoy!