Say Cheese

Several years ago, my beautiful friend, Saima, told me about  her family’s excitement over her homemade yogurt cheese . I exclaimed to Saima, who just happens to be my trusted skincare specialist, “YOU made cheese from yogurt?” Saima responded in her typical matter-of-fact way by saying, “Yes, who else?”

special saima

Saima explained that she used a cheesecloth to strain a full fat, plain yogurt until completely dry. After this first step, Saima told me that the once creamy yogurt looks solid. The solid yogurt is formed into small balls that are then floated in olive oil. Saima described how the delicious cheese balls along with their olive oil can be spread on warm bread. I must admit, this simple recipe seemed unlikely to me, and so, I forgot all about it…..UNTIL I was invited by a woman’s coop to a hands-on, yogurt cheese making class in Amman, Jordan.

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These women were sincere in their welcome of twenty visitors into their kitchen. They were also intent on giving us all a take-home lesson in the art of making cheese from yogurt. I am grateful to my traveling companion for taking the next few photos and allowing me to enjoy the experience. We started with thoroughly dried, chilled yogurt. It should look like this…

The dried cheese is broken into quarter sized pieces and rolled into balls. Take care that the pieces are the correct proportion and uniform; work quickly so the heat of your hands does not soften the cheese.

This is an excellent kitchen activity for youngsters learning about food preparation….and for older kids like myself who enjoy being foodies.

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Place these gems in a jar.

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Generously pour on the olive oil and call it labaneh mudahbarah.

The savory circles take an olive oil bath….at this point, garlic, red pepper flakes, caraway seeds, ……or crushed black pepper….. or dill …….or rosemary can be added….I was thinking perhaps a bay leaf! BUT…plain is just fine.

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Don’t count on this deliciousness staying in a container for long because the real fun has to begin. Warm the bread; put out fruit jam; sprinkle za’atar on a saucer; grab some olives and preserved lemons; please brew the tea hot and strong; plate the cheese and its beautiful oil. No knives or forks, please. Now!!! Eat! Drink! Laugh!

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This was my last evening in Jordan, and I could not have asked for a better way to end the first leg of my junket…finding proof, yet again, that people are more alike than they are different…

Falling in love every day with people and the places where they live. See you soon in Cairo.

The Unseasoned Traveler

17 thoughts on “Say Cheese

  1. Yummy Yummy Yummy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Janet….long time since I have seen you traveling with me. Have you seen the other Jordan posts? Thanks for coming along…someone from India just stopped by….fun for me. Blessings….j.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Awesome! You can also stop after straining the yogurt (I used cheesecloth) and make labneh, a spread or dip.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You’ve had so many wonderful experiences that you so graciously allow us to experience. I thank you for your openness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Connie….thanks for tagging along with me. Your presence makes a difference.

      Like

  4. Thanks Jackie for sharing with all.
    Like you I too enjoyed the experience.
    Love Queenie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Queenie….hope all is well there…we are sick of staying inside…but oh, well. Right now, I am thinking about our fabulous hotel in Jordan.

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    2. Good Morning, Queenie…I was wondering if you have any photos of the entrance to Luxor that you would be willing to share…none of mine are very good????? Thanks if you do…just send them to Jackie_henry@verizon.net……stay strong and healthy

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  5. Jackie! I think your posts are like a magic carpet ride, each one a perfectly woven confection of color, texture, symbol and beauty. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Hi, David, I hope all is well with you and those you love and care about. All is well here…tiresome day to day “stuff.” Tomorrow, I plan to start my car, and that will be the excitement….a far cry from last year in Florence. It makes me happy that you continue to enjoy the posts. Thanks for traveling along….your presence means a lot.

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  6. Yummy, have you made any since you’ve been home?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, I have not made any cheese yet because I do not have any cheesecloth. Perhaps I could use a new pair of panty hose instead….hahahaha

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    2. Hi, Betsy….gonna make some of it today….I plan to take pictures of the process for a later date. Hope all is well at your house…Hi to Maddie.

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  7. Fantastic, any method to make a creative cheese dish is inspiring and welcomed here. My vicarious journey with you has been informative and a great learning experience. Anxiously awaiting the next stop. Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Susan,
      Next post coming on Monday…see you then…thanks for following the blog.

      Like

  8. This sounds so easy and good!

    Like

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