This is a generic recipe for making Cream Cheese. Cream Cheese is a very popular fresh (unaged) lactic acid coagulated cheese made from cream. It’s close cousin in Light Cream Cheese also called Neufchâtel in the USA (not to be confused with French Neufchâtel) which is made from milk, that recipe is here. Cream Cheese is used in many cooking recipes and desserts as well as on toast, bread, and bagels. In the USA, it is the third most popular cheese.
- Vat in which to acidify the cream.
- Stirring tool.
- Cheese cloth.
- Gravity draining device to hang curds in cheese cloth from.
- Food grade container.
Makes ~0.8 kg / ~1.7 pounds of Cream Cheese:
|Cow’s Cream||2.0 liters||2.0 US quarts||Fresh to minimize unwanted micro-organisms.|
|Mesophilic Starter Culture||125 ml||4 ounces||Volumes assume using homemade concentrated buttermilk as mesophilic starter culture. If using other, (ie manufactured freeze dried), then amount as per manufacturers directions (normally significantly less).|
|Water||250 ml||1 cup||For pre-diluting rennet, room temperature, ensure non-floridated.|
|Rennet||~||~||Type and amount of your choice, normally 1% to 10% of amount used in rennet coagulated cheese making.|
- Pour room temperature cream into vat.
- Add mesophilic starter culture and stir in.
- Dilute rennet in water and stir in.
- Cover and set aside to ripen for 12-15 hours at room temp (~21°C/70°F).
- Ladle the curds into a colander lined with a fine cheese cloth, set aside for 5 minutes for excess whey to drain.
- Tie the four corners of the cheese cloth together and hang above vat (to catch draining whey in) for 6-8 hours to further ripen and drain whey.
- Discard drained whey and place the cream cheese into a small bowl and mix to make homogeneous.
- Optional: Stir in salt, herbs, etc. to taste.
- Place the cream cheese into a sealable food grade container in fridge where it will firm up a little as gets cold.
- Use within 2 weeks.
Popular seasonings-flavourings added after Cream Cheese is made are stirring in:
- Strawberry, Blueberry, Cranberry, Peaches
- Garlic and Herbs (Boursin Brand style)
- Honey and Chopped Walnuts
- Sundried Tomato
- Bacon Scallion
- Olive Pimiento
- Onion and Chives
- Garden Veggie (using dry vegetable soup mix)
- Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Spice
Tricks & Traps
- To get drier cheese, while hanging, every ~2 hours, scrape de-whey’d drier cheese (filter cake) off of cloth walls to enable moister curd’s whey a better exit route to the cloth.
- Start making cheese in evening so that ripens in stockpot overnight, can hang next morning, turn or work cheese during daytime, and make will be done in afternoon. This way you will have spare extra time in evening in case need to hang longer to get drier.
- Times above are rough and dependant on ingredients and your room temperature, cooler requires longer time and is not recommended as gives chance for unwanted micro-organisms to overpower wanted ones. Warmer temperatures require less time.
- Very tight weave cheese cloth will result in very slow whey drainage.
- If draining whey is milky coloured then milk was not ripened enough in vat or cheese cloth weave is too loose.
- During storage in fridge, little whey appearing around cheese before fully consumed is normal in non-manufactured store bought Cream Cheese.
- If using store bought cream or “Half & Half” (half cream & half milk) in North America, it is often Ultra-Pasteurized to give it a very long shelf life. Ultra Pasteurization kills most of both the bad and good bacteria, this results in a poorer curd forming.
- Do not try to rush this natural process, it needs the time to develop the flavour.