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Ayib (Ethiopian Homemade Fresh Cheese)

A recipe for Ayib (Homemade Fresh Cheese) from the cookbook, Ethiopia by Yohanis Gebreyesus.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Ethiopian
Keyword Africa, African, Ayib, cheese, Ethiopia, Ethiopian, milk
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Resting Time: 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 500 Grams


  • 8 1/2 cups (2 Liters) fresh whole milk
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 medium red onion optional


  • In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the milk to a slow simmer. It should be foamy and steamy and read 185˚F (85˚C) on a candy thermometer. Do not let it boil. Slowly pour in the lemon juice and stir for a few seconds, then remove from the heat. Allow to stand undisturbed for about 15 minutes until curds form.
  • Meanwhile, in a food processor, purée the onion, if using. Place the onion purée in a sieve set over a bowl and let it drain, reserving the liquid. Discard the solids.
  • Moisten a cheesecloth with water, wring it out, and use it to line a large colander. Gently ladle or pour the curds and liquid through the colander, then set aside to drain for 20-60 minutes until the curds have reached their desired level of dryness. Transfer to a bowl. If using, spoon the onion liquid over it.
  • Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to three days.