How to Make Cream Cheese and Whey

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2 cups (470 ml) whey and 1-1/2 cups (345 g) cream cheese SERVINGS


  • 1 quart (1 L) whole milk yogurt


  • Set a fine-mesh strainer over a large-size (2-quart [1.8 L] or larger) nonmetal bowl and line the strainer with a thin tea towel. Using a thin cloth is important to allow the liquid to seep through.
  • Pour the yogurt into the lined strainer. Cover the strainer with a lid or plate and set aside at room temperature for 4 to 6 hours. If your house is exceptionally warm (above 80 degrees Fahrenheit [27 degrees Celsius]), place this whole setup in the fridge. Check occasionally to see if the whey has stopped dripping into the bowl; once it has, or the 4 to 6 hours is up, move on to the next step. The yogurt at this point will resemble Greek yogurt (which it is!).
  • When the drips subside, remove the cover, place a wooden spoon across the mesh strainer, and double-knot the diagonal corners of the tea towel over the top of the spoon handle. Set a tall container, such as a wide-mouth vase or pitcher, next to the strainer. Carefully lift the knotted tea towel and lower it into the tall vessel, allowing the spoon handle to rest on the rim of the vessel. The tea towel should be a few inches (cm) from the bottom of the container, so it doesn’t mingle with any resulting whey. Be careful not to squeeze the towel. It should drip slowly on its own.
  • Pour the whey from the bottom of the original bowl into a glass jar or container with a tight-fitting lid and store in the fridge for future use. Place the vessel/spoon/ tea towel operation into the fridge as well, and allow it to continue dripping for 8 to 12 hours or overnight. It is finished when the dripping stops and the yogurt “cream cheese” feels firm.
  • After whey stops dripping, remove the tea towel and place on a cutting board. Add the remaining whey to your jar of whey from the day before. Untie the tea towel from the wooden spoon. Scrape the cream cheese into a glass bowl with a tight-fitting lid and use like any store-bought cream cheese. We think it’s just perfect in our Maple Walnut Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting. Keep in mind that it will have a yogurt sweetness but with a bit of tang.
  • Kept refrigerated, the cream cheese will last for about 1 month and the whey up to 6 months.
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