Whether you are a beginner or an experienced cheese maker, cream cheese is an excellent cheese to create. Cream cheese is no doubt one of the easiest cheeses to make, which is why it is a fantastic recipe for beginners. The crafting of Cream cheese requires minimal ingredients so you can easily whip up a creamy batch of Cream cheese in no time. All the ingredients needed to make delicious cream cheese is simply just cream, acid, and salt. There is also no aging time necessary, unlike most of the other cheese creations, the process takes about a day and is extremely easy.
Cream cheese has a mild, fresh taste which makes it very versatile and can be used in sweet or savory cooking. Cream cheese can be used to smother on a bagel, the star of the show in many dips and appetizers, used as frosting in many desserts, and it’s also incorporated in a lot of dishes, soups, and crockpot meals. Cream cheese is also the main ingredient when it comes to cheesecakes and can be used as a butter substitute for recipes like mashed potatoes, and cookies and cakes. It’s also just as delicious on its own or mixed with different ingredients, herbs and spices. Garlic and herb Cream cheese, veggie Cream cheese, and even strawberry Cream cheese are all popular types of Cream cheeses in the U.S. Needless to say, Cream cheese takes on many different forms and can practically be added to just about any recipe or dish and make it better.
Cream cheese is something that a lot of people consider a staple in their fridge because it’s so versatile and always great to have on hand. Cream cheese is lower in fat than butter and has protein and Vitamin A as well. There’s 6 grams of protein per serving making it a much more nutrient dense option when it comes to items like cake frosting.
With Cream cheese being a beginner recipe, it’s a great recipe to start on when starting to navigate through the cheesemaking world. This recipe will help you understand the basics of cheesemaking and be comfortable with the process to continue on to more advanced recipes. With how incredibly easy and simple the recipe is, once you try fresh homemade cream cheese for yourself, you’ll never want to buy the store-bought kind ever again.
Skill Level: Beginner
- ½ gallon of cream or half cream and half milk (half/half)
- 1/8 tsp mesophilic starter
Heat the Cream & Add Starter
- Heat your cream or half and half up to room temperature. When the cream or half and half has reached room temperature, add the mesophilic starter and mix well to combine.
- To bring the cream or half and half to room temperature. You can do this by placing the cream in a pot or sink of very warm water. If you do this step on the stove, be sure to slowly heat the cream or half and half and stir to avoid burning.
Let It Ripen
- After you have thoroughly mixed the mesophilic starter, leave your cream mixture and allow it to ripen for at least 12-16 hours.
- The curd will not be a very firm curd since you’re not using rennet, but it should still be well set up prior to draining.
Draining the Curd
- Transfer the curds into a colander that is lined with a fine cheesecloth. You are able to use two cheesecloths layered over each other if necessary.
- Assemble the corners of the cheesecloth and tie it into a draining bag.
- Hang the bag up to allow it to dry for at least 12-24 hours.
- You should change the cloth multiple times during this drying period, or you can simply just gently turn the curd over to ensure that all curds properly drain throughout this period.
Flavor the Cheese
- When the cheese has reached the desired results, carefully transfer it into a bowl, and mix in any desired flavoring to the Cream cheese such as any preferred herbs or spices.
- Press the Cream cheese into an air-tight container before placing it in the refrigerator.
- The fresh cream cheese should be kept in the fridge and will last about 2 weeks.