How to make Soft Kefir Cheese and Whey from Milk Kefir

Learn how to make this probiotic-rich soft kefir cheese to boost your meals! With the quick method, you can get your own cheese in about 15 minutes and use the whey kefir to your waffle or pancake batter. This might be just the easiest cheese you’ve ever made!

Glass jar filled with soft kefir cheese, behind it a glass bottle filled with whey.

Own milk kefir cheese has been the staple of our family table for a good while now. It is so easy and quick to whip up while cooking the dinner. The kefir is quite similar to buttermilk, which is an important part of the Nordic kitchen. Though homemade milk kefir cheese would store quite a long in the fridge, it is gone in a few days for it is such an easy and good way to boost the probiotics of a portion. Well – yesterday we spooned a few dollops on a ratatouille quiche and this morning we used it as a spreadable cheese on the top of msemen, the square Moroccan pancakes. It gives a beautiful tangy flavor to the portion and today I’ll share my quick and simple cheese recipe with you!

| RELATED: Nordic & Finnish Recipes

Tips for making soft kefir cheese

  • Use a strainer and cheesecloth big enough to fit all the milk kefir in to make it a whole lot easier for you.
  • This is the base of the natural, plain kefir cheese recipe. You can enjoy it as it is or check my tips on how to tweak this recipe to get some ideas of the add-ins to flavor your soft kefir cheese in different ways.
  • You can use a muslin baby cloth if you don’t have cheesecloth. If you are doing a smaller batch using a coffee filter might be a good idea.
A woman holding the full cheesecloth to strain excess whey from the cheese to the ceramic bowl.

A woman testing the soft kefir cheese in a cheesecloth-covered strainer with a spoon.

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Why you’ll love this soft kefir cheese recipe

  • It’s easy – trust me, it must be the easiest cheese to make.
  • Soft kefir cheese is packed with probiotics and it’s an important part of a healthy diet.
  • From this same recipe, you’ll get the soft kefir cheese and the whey! You can use the whey in the batter for waffles or pancakes, bread doughs and so much more!
  • The delicious soft cheese is so versatile; you can use it as a spread, in dips and dressings, and even place a dollop on your portion.
  • Adding kefir soft cheese to your portion is a great way to boost the probiotics.
  • The kefir cheese is a perfect replacement for a creamy cheese spread to boost the gut microbiome.
  • In this recipe, I have used store-bought milk kefir but you can use your homemade kefir!
Glass jar of kefir soft cheese open and two sweet rye breads on a wooden plank spread with soft kefir cheese and sprinkled with chives.

FAQ

What is kefir?

Kefir is a fermented milk-based product, full of probiotics. Normally kefir is made with cow milk (whole milk or raw milk), but the milk of sheep or goats is also used (source). The usual way to produce kefir is to use kefir grains, which are the nest of beneficial bacteria, yeast, and complex carbohydrates. The grains will activate when mixed with milk at room temperature for about one day to ferment. The result is tangy, slightly bubbly milk kefir, where you strain out the kefir grains for later use.

If you want to make kefir from scratch notice, that there are two different kefir grains: milk kefir grains and water kefir grains. You shouldn’t mix them. If you want to know more about kefir grains, and where to find them there is a good article by Revolution Fermentation that you should read.

What does kefir mean?

The word kefir comes from the Turkish word keyif which means joy or pleasure. It refers to the good feeling the person gets after drinking kefir (source).

Why should I use kefir and make kefir cheese?

Milk kefir is nutritious and has many health benefits: It helps digestion, helps maintain bone health, reduces inflammation, it’s good for your skin, and is a perfect source of probiotics. If you haven’t used milk kefir before, start slow and consume small doses to enter it into your daily diet. You might otherwise have problems in your digestion if you jump directly to the deep end. (source).

Can you make cheese from store-bought kefir?

Yes! I don’t do any kefir milk at home at the moment, and I have used the store-bought kefir successfully. This recipe is made and tested with a store-bought milk kefir.

Is kefir cheese healthy?

Kefir cheese contains many probiotics and beneficial good bacteria that support your healthy lifestyle and digestion. Like other milk products kefir cheese is a perfect source of calcium too! It possibly lowers the risk for type 2 diabetes and might lower cholesterol also, though this hasn’t yet been confirmed. (Source.)

Why my kefir cheese is soggy and watery?

If your kefir cheese is very liquid, you may leave it in the pot with the heat for a longer period. Leave it anyhow a bit more liquid than what you are aiming for, for it will thicken when it cools down in the fridge.

Is chunky kefir cheese ok?

Kefir cheese has a chunky style, so don’t be afraid – it’s all good. If you want less chunky, keep the new batch of cheese shorter time on the heat and let it strain a bit longer to get a smoother and creamier texture. If you have overdone it, you can make hard kefir cheese or kefir cottage cheese out of it.

Ingredients you need for soft kefir cheese

  • Milk kefir, you can use homemade milk kefir or store-bought milk kefir
  • Sea salt, you can substitute with another kind of salt
Pot of milk kefir and a tiny glace with a pinch of salt on a wooden surface.

You can find the exact amounts in the recipe card at the end of the post.

Tools you may need

  • Pot (at least 1 litre)
  • Strainer
  • Bowl, large and deep
  • Cheesecloth or other cloth for straining
  • Large spoon
  • Glass jar, for storing (5 dl in size)

How to make

Pour into a stainless steel pot one liter of milk kefir. Turn the heat on medium to medium-high heat and place the pot on the stove. In less than 10 minutes the kefir cheese and whey starts to separate. Stir occasionally. 

Take the pot off the heat when you see the whey rising in several spots. Place the strainer on the deep heat-resistant large bowl and cover it with a cheesecloth. You might want to fold a few layers of cheesecloth if yours is very thin.

Pour the milk kefir through the cheesecloth and strainer and let the whey drip into the deep bowl. Gather the cheesecloth in your hand and twist the cloth smoothly to strain the extra whey.

You can leave the soft cheese in the strainer too to strain for half an hour to one hour, while you are doing other things in the kitchen. 

A hand twisting the full cheesecloth on the strainer. Whey dripping in the bowl underneath.

You will get a perfect creamy consistency of the soft kefir cheese spread when you have about 4- 5 dl strained whey. 

Scrape the cheese from the cloth into a clean glass jar to store in the fridge. Pour the whey in a glass bottle and seal it tightly. 

A glass jar is filled with soft kefir cheese and behind it a glass bottle filled with whey.

How to tweak this recipe

Here are some add-ins to tweak your soft kefir cheese:

  • Chives, finely chopped
  • Parsley, coriander finely chopped, and a bit of olive oil
  • Your favorite fresh herbs chopped
  • Crushed garlic clove and diced basil
  • A spoonful of tahini and decorate with sesame seeds.
  • Finely chopped dill
  • Crushed almonds and honey (yummy with pancakes or waffles!)
  • Finely chopped walnuts
on the wooden board some sweet rye bread spread with soft kefir cheese.

How to enjoy and use soft kefir cheese 

  • Spread on the bread, like harcha, sweet rye bread, or flatbread
  • Spread on a wrap or bagel to substitute cream cheese
  • Add some flavors and turn it into a dip
  • Add to a lasagna
  • Add a dollop of cheese to your soup or pasta portion
  • Use in a salad dressing instead of sour cream

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A bottle of whey and soft kefir cheese in a glass jar against a wooden surface.

Storage

Store the kefir cottage cheese in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one or two weeks. Store the kefir whey in a fridge and use it within a week.

Little Helper

For a tiny chef, there is a bit of work when spooning the kefir into the strainer instead of easily pouring it in by an adult. Watching the cheese straining the whey out is an amazing and fun thing to do – and also poking the jelly-like bag with a tiny finger is the best thing ever for a little helper.
Never underestimate the little enjoyable things even in the easiest recipes!

Have you tried the kefir cheese yet?

Let me know in the comments if you have tried or want to try out this recipe. How would you like to flavor your yummy probiotic kefir cheese spread?

Glass jar filled with soft kefir cheese, behind it a glass bottle filled with whey.

Soft Kefir Cheese and Whey

Yield: 5 dl jar
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Learn an easy way to make this probiotic-rich soft kefir cheese to give a boost to your meals! With the quick method, you can get your own cheese in about 15 minutes and use the whey kefir to your waffle or pancake batter. This might be just the easiest cheese you've ever made!

Ingredients

  • 1 liter milk kefir
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

How to make soft kefir cheese and whey

  1. Pour into a stainless steel pot one liter of milk kefir. Turn the heat on medium to medium-high heat and place the pot on the stove.
  2. In less than 10 minutes the kefir cheese and whey starts to separate. Stir occasionally. 
  3. Take the pot off the heat when you see the whey rising in several spots. Place the strainer on the deep heat-resistant bowl and cover it with a cheesecloth.
  4. Pour the milk kefir through the cheesecloth and strainer and let the whey drip into the deep bowl. Gather the cheesecloth in your hand and twist the cloth smoothly to strain the extra whey. You can leave the soft cheese in the strainer too to strain for half an hour to one hour, while you are doing other things in the kitchen. 
  5. You will get a perfect creamy consistency of the soft kefir cheese spread when you have about 4- 5 dl strained whey. 
  6. Scrape the cheese from the cloth into a clean glass jar to store in the fridge. Pour the whey in a glass bottle and seal it tightly.

How to enjoy and use soft kefir cheese 

  • Spread on the bread, like harcha or flatbread
  • Spread on a wrap or bagel to substitute cream cheese
  • Add some flavors and turn it into a dip
  • Add to a lasagna
  • Add a dollop of cheese to your soup or pasta portion
  • Use in a salad dressing instead of sour cream


Storage

Store the kefir cottage cheese in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one or two weeks. Store the whey in a fridge and use it within a week.

Notes

How to tweak this recipe
Here are some add-ins to tweak your soft kefir cheese:

  • Chives, finely chopped
  • Parsley, coriander finely chopped, and a bit of olive oil
  • Crushed garlic clove and diced basil
  • Finely chopped dill
  • Crushed almonds and honey (yummy with pancakes or waffles!)
  • Finely chopped walnuts

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 47Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 213mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 0gSugar: 5gProtein: 5g

These calculations are generated automatically by Nutritionix based on the ingredients shown in the recipe. The nutrition information is an estimation and may include errors. All nutritional information presented and written within this site (blueteatile.com) is intended for informational purposes only. The writer is not a certified nutritionist or registered dietitian and any nutritional information should be used as a general guideline only.

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