A few years ago, I figured out how to make cream cheese and wasn't sure what to do with that information. What kind of fool makes their own cream cheese, however delicious it is? Then again, you can use this reasoning to dismiss almost everything here (looking at you in particular, marshmallows) and you're still there. But I suspected it would be a bridge too far. Even the grandmothers who blog about food should stay relevant and have looked around [gestures to all of these things in this world right now] and said, "What really keeps me from sleeping at night are the stabilizers in store-bought cream cheese"?


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And then the pandemic happened, a lot of us had more free time than we knew what to do, grocery stores didn't always have what they used to do, and when they did, the prices were low (oops, too bad for "relevance") and I did it again and what I forgot to tell you, what I should have driven with, is that it's incredibly easy. I did this in 25 minutes. The only practical part was scraping the cream cheese out of the food processor and, in the case of veggie cream cheese, chopping veggies. It doesn't require any fancy ingredients, just plain whole milk, heavy cream, salt and white vinegar. And it's fantastic. Every time I have done this we've been a little shocked at how much of a cheese this is. store bought cream cheese; I'm not sure I can tell them apart with my eyes closed. And in the case of flavored cream cheeses, tan t better. Let's go; you should try it at least once.

homemade plain cream cheese

Previously

6 months ago: Carrot and White Bean Burgers
1 year ago: Eggplant stuffed with parmesan
2 years ago: Flapjacks
3 years ago: Tomato bread + a bit of Spain
4 years ago: How Julienne and Plum squares with marzipan crumble
5 years ago: caponata and Rice and cheese gratin with zucchini
6 years ago: Chocolate and roasted hazelnut milk and Tomato pie with herbs and roasted garlic
He is 7 years old: Baked pasta with broccoli rabe and sausage
8 years ago: Baked orzo with eggplant and mozzarella and Challah with olive oil and sea salt
9 years ago: Peach butter, Roasted eggplant with tomatoes and mint, and Chocolate and red wine cake
10 years ago: Rosemary Raisin Foccaccia and Linguine with tomato and almond pesto
11 years ago: Marble cheese brownies
12 years ago: Cold brew iced coffee, Bourbon Peach Hand Pies and Raspberry Breakfast Bars and Braised Romano Beans
13 years ago: Hoisin barbecue sauce and Lemon cake
14 years ago: Silky Cauliflower Soup and Summer squash soup

Homemade cream cheese

If you've made homemade ricotta, farmhouse cheese, paneer, or any other cream cheese before, you'll be familiar with this process. The main difference with cream cheese is the addition of cream (I use it in my ricotta, but it's not traditional), the higher salt level (trust me, it doesn't taste like cream cheese without that level of salt) and the mixing process. This recipe makes only 1 cup; I recommend doubling (using a 1/2 gallon of milk) or quadruple (using a full gallon of milk) if you're serving more than two people.
  • 4 cups (945 mL) whole milk
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons (11 grams) of fine sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) white vinegar
    Line a fine mesh colander or other tiny hole with a layer or two of cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl with enough space so that the bottom of the colander does not touch the bowl once it contains 4 cups of liquid, or the cheese will not drip. In a heavy medium to large saucepan, heat the milk, cream and salt over medium-high heat until just below a simmer - it will appear to be frothy and register about 200 to 205 degrees F. Remove from heat. Stir in the vinegar and wait 4 minutes, then pour it into the gauze. Drain for 10 to 20 minutes; it will still look fairly moist but will barely flow from the colander. The time it takes to drain depends on the size of your gauze holes. However, don't worry if it drains too much; you can always add whey if it's not the right consistency. Transfer the contents of the cheesecloth to a food processor or blender and blend until very smooth, a few minutes, scraping as needed. There you have it - you've made cream cheese!

    The cream cheese will still be hot, so the texture should remind you of softened cream cheese on a toasted bagel. If it feels stiffer, you can add more whey, 1 teaspoon at a time, while mixing it. As the cream cheese cools it hardens, but you can use it right away. Save the whey for other good things, like a soup broth or as water in a bread recipe.

  • To make vegetable cream cheese: Add 2 tablespoons of chopped carrot, 2 tablespoons of chopped onion, the white and green parts, 2 tablespoons of chopped red pepper, blotted with a paper towel to remove excess liquid, 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder and a few grinds of black pepper for 1 cup of plain cream cheese.
  • To make cream cheese with green onions and chives: Add 4 tablespoons of finely chopped green onions and / or chives for 1 cup of plain cream cheese.
  • To make lox cream cheese: Add 4 tablespoons finely chopped lox, 1 tablespoon minced chives and chopped fresh dill, to taste, to 1 cup of plain cream cheese.
  • To make strawberry cream cheese, my favorite non-canon cream cheese flavor because it tastes like cheesecake and I don't care how bad it makes real New Yorkers who aren't me hold their pearls: add 2 scoops to soup of strawberry jam, drained a little if it is a looser jam, per 1 cup of plain cream cheese.
  • Go forward: This fresh cream cheese, according to generally accepted food safety advice, should keep for 1 week in the refrigerator, but I can also tell you that my plain cream cheese was perfectly good after 2 weeks. I plan to only keep the lox cream cheese for a few days though.

    Ingredient Notes: You can use any milk you like to drink, but you want to use whole milk. Low fat milk will not perform the same. For the cream, the pasteurization is fine but ultra-pasteurized often contains gellan gum for stability and I would avoid that. [I used Organic Valley for both my milk and heavy cream because they’re pretty accessible, not because this is sponsored.] This is my brand of fine sea salt. White vinegar is generally sold as regular vinegar in the UK. I just started using this brand machine washable gauze.