Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Make Your Own Cream Cheese

I can't really say that making your own cream cheese is cheaper than purchasing it at the grocery store.  However, it is a self-reliant skill that may come in handy some day.  And besides, homemade tastes much better than what you get at the store!

So, here is how I make cream cheese.

Start with light cream or half & half.  You can use fresh light cream or half & half from the grocery store.  However, you can also use shelf stable half & half which allows you to add it as a food storage recipe. It is a little easier to find shelf stable half & half than it is to find shelf stable whipping cream.

Start by heating the half & half to 86 degrees.  A  dairy thermometer comes in handy here.


Pour the half & half into a thermos type container and add a packet of Creme Fraiche culture.  In my opinion, cultured cream cheese is better than the type made from lemon juice, vinegar or Junket Tablets (I used lemon juice once and didn't like it at all). I purchase my cultures here.  However, you can find cultures at many different places on the Internet.  I used my YogoTherm for the container.

Let the culture rehydrate for two minutes and then stir.  Cover and let set for 12 hours.

It is now ready to use. The flavor is wonderful but the cheese is a bit runny at this point.  If you want a more firm cream cheese, similar to what you get at the store, you should hang it to drain.  Line a colander with butter muslin and gently spoon in the cheese. 

Tie the ends of the muslin together and hang to drain.  I am lucky here.  I have kitchen cabinets next to the sink.  I can swing open the cabinet door and it will be directly over the sink.  I hang the muslin on the cabinet handle.

Let it drain for four to six hours.  It will have the consistency of store bought cream cheese, only it will taste so much better! 

Try making your own cream cheese, you won't be disappointed!

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