Cream cheese is the superhero of the Keto diet. It saves just about any recipe. Want to make pancakes? Just mix the cheese with some eggs and spices of your choice. Want to bake a cake? You can always utilise cream cheese, both for the cake base and icing. Most of the Ketonians keep buying industrial cream cheese because we think it’s complicated to make it at home. What if I tell you that even a 5-year-old child can make it? Well, with your supervision, of course.
Did they tell you to skip Greek yoghurt on Keto? – Why not make cream cheese of it!
Let me first reassure you on this matter. Greek yoghurt is not quite authentic if it’s made of cow’s milk. Now, cow’s milk yoghurt is the one that’s been banned from the Keto diet due to high carb content, even after the fermentation. If you are lucky to find Greek yoghurt made of goat or sheep milk, you are on the safe side. In Greece, a typical goat yoghurt has less than 3g net carbs per 100g of product! Alternatively, you can make your own yoghurt using full-fat goat milk from a local farm. All you need is a double dose of powdered probiotic that you can buy in any pharmacy. Mix it with warm goat milk and leave it overnight at room temperature. The next step hides the secret of Greek yoghurt thickness…
Greeks love to strain things
We simply like to strain our dairy products! Excess whey is not present in any of our cheeses, and especially not in the yoghurt. As you might know, Greek yoghurt is extremely thick, drained almost to the point of sour cream consistency. This makes the yoghurt richer in proteins, and also abundant in beneficial fats. To drain your homemade yoghurt, you can use a large drainer and line it with coffee filters. Leave the yoghurt in this assembly for several hours in the refrigerator and it’ll turn into a real Greek yoghurt!
Making the cream cheese out of yoghurt
You will not believe it, but this thing is easier and better than any industrial cheese you’ll buy. If you want to follow my Keto Mediterranean lifestyle program, you’ll start making almost everything at home. This way, you will be sure to use 100% natural, organic and healthy ingredients. Furthermore, I encourage you to get in touch with local farmers. You will most certainly be able to find goat, sheep or even grass-fed cow’s milk farmers somewhere in your vicinity. Additionally, by making your own cream cheese, you will most probably avoid industrial additives that keep poisoning us daily.
Industrial cream cheese and the hidden additives
I will be totally honest with you now. The world-famous Philadelphia cream cheese is not as good as you might have thought. Yes, it tastes great and it might be affordable, but let me go through the ingredients that every Ketonian should be aware of:
- Whey Protein concentrate – Why? this overprocessed protein did not enrich the cheese significantly and might not be utilised properly due to high processing temperatures.
- Carob bean gum – as with any other industrial additive that ends up with the word “gum” the purpose is the stabilisation and texture. Trust me, they don’t care much for the health benefits. On the contrary, Carob bean gum affects the absorption of important minerals and trace elements as it was shown in this study. Furthermore, another study showed that it can cause constipation!
Three simple reasons to make your own cream cheese at home:You will be 100% sure your cream cheese is fresh, healthy and beneficial for both you and your children!
You will enjoy the feeling of homemade cheese preparation, and it will even taste better than the industrial version!
Even if you make it with industrial yoghurt, it will still be healthier than industrial cream cheese!
Homemade cream cheese with 2 ingredients – Greek yoghurt and salt
500g (17.6 oz) full-fat goat or sheep yoghurt
1 tbsp sea salt
- In a deep bowl, place the yoghurt and add the salt. Mix well using a whisk. This will immediately start the process of releasing the excess whey and liquid.
- In another bowl, place a double layer of cheesecloth. Make sure that your cheesecloth is large enough to hang over the edges of the bowl. Now, pour in the yoghurt and salt mixture carefully.
- Tight the cheesecloth ends with a kitchen twine. Now attach it on a wooden spoon with a flat handle.
- Place the wooden spoon on top of a deep pot so that your cheesecloth is hanging and there’s enough space to drain the yoghurt.
- Place this pot in the refrigerator and leave it for 24 hours. (You can keep it this way up to 48 hours)
- Tomorrow, your homemade cream cheese is ready! Transfer it in a glass container and use within 5 days. You can add garlic, dill, parsley or any other spice you like.
What will the macros look like, based on the kind of yoghurt you use?
If you opt for goat milk (which is my favourite), you will end up on the throne of Keto dairy! Your awesome cream cheese will have less than 3g net carbs per 100g, while your fats will be as high as 11g. Protein content will be just enough, around 4g. Now, this is applicable only if you are using organic, full-fat fresh goat milk from a local farm to start the process.
On the other side, If you are making this cream cheese using an industrial yoghurt, (please use Greek, organic) you can see the nutritional values on the product packaging. Now, from these values, reduce the carbohydrate content by approximately 15% after the additional fermentation of your cheese. Your protein and fat will stay pretty much the same as per your staring yoghurt product. Maybe, you’ll end up with a bit less protein, but your valuable fat will remain high! Isn’t that what we want on Keto?