This coronavirus quarantine period was, and still is, not a time of comfort, but it did squeeze out many good things from us. One of the biggest is that we finally found space to do our food experiments. We are happy to report that we are now making our own yogurt and cheese!
Hard to believe, but yogurt is like a unicorn in the shops here, even in the city before the dark times. The quality is not great either. We have always thought about making our own, but somehow kept putting it off. Not anymore!
We found several tutorials on YouTube and combined processes to come up with a simple method that works well for us. This means, a minute amount of steps and basic equipment. I was surprised when it worked the first time!
The result is a creamy, luscious, and clean-tasting yogurt that is sugar-free, preservative-free, and with live active culture. It also has a nice scooping consistency and ribbons on the bowl. Love at first bite! Nothing pairs better with our homemade granola.
Cheese came next. Why rest when we are on a roll? For years, I have watched TV chefs make homemade ricotta but have been too intimidated to give it a go. But we are in a pandemic. So what if I make a few failed batches of cheese?
The first try was good ricotta, creamy but dry, since we squeezed the living daylights out of it. Its texture complemented store-bought cheese when we add it to our double-cheese panini or spicy arabiatta.
We decided to squeeze it less on the second experiment and it was the right adjustment: the texture is creamier, the bite fluffier. It is similar to kesong puti, a locally produced cheese that is traditionally Filipino.
We still add it to our cooked food, but when my sister visited us, she figured this cheese made a great addition to our all-Filipino breakfast plate, served with wild, organic honey harvested from the nearby mountains. It was delicious!
But it feels like we have just scratched the surface with this cheese. It seems like an awesome carrier of flavor and we want to continue exploring its flexibility. Markus has already thought about studding it with peppercorns and adding spices, while I imagined it will be nice to make smaller balls wrapped in cheese cloth, stained or dyed with plant tea, like butterfly snowpea or rhubarb. Do you have other ideas? Curious what else we could do with this!
We will continue with our food experiments with yogurt and cheese, and probably try several recipes for more everyday items. It is more affordable, sustainable, and infinitely exciting. What new thing have you tried at home lately?