I am often asked to share the recipe for ‘HOME MADE CREAM CHEESE’. Cream cheese is readily available for me. But the same can be pricey and inaccessible for some folks. It’s mostly readers from India who find it hard to lay their hands on cream cheese. So here’s the recipe I experimented just for the heck of it. This one has a slight tang with a creamy texture.
I’ve come across many online recipes that use just whole milk to make cream cheese. I would rightly call it ricotta cheese which has a grainy texture. CREAM CHEESE needs cream and culture and/or rennet. This recipe requires no starter cultures or unpronounceable ingredients. It takes about 5 days! But you can check the consistency mid way and stop the process even on the 3 rd day.
I did not take step-by-step pictures as I did it for fun. This picture was shared by Anjali Patwardhan who used this recipe to make Cream Cheese at home.
Makes about two cups.
- 2 cups pasteurized half and half (Butter fat 18% – 20%) If you’re in India, you can use Amul fresh cream (Butter fat 25%) If possible, do not use ultra pasteurized cream as there are no organisms left to grow a culture. * If you do not have Amul fresh cream, use full fat milk that’s simmered for about 15 mins on stove top. This gets rid of a lot of moisture in make the milk thick.
- 1/2 cup pasteurized heavy whipping cream (Butter fat 36%). Regular malai from your grocery store or Milky mist medium fat fresh cream (Butter fat 35% approximately ) works fine. If possible, do not use ultra pasteurized cream as there are no organisms left to grow a culture. * If you do not have milky mist fresh cream, feel free to use Amul fresh cream. But it will result in a less creamy outcome.
- 1 tablespoon buttermilk. Plain and thick Indian buttermilk (Chaas/More) or curd/dahi works. Slightly whipped.
- Pinch of salt to taste. Do not omit.
Day 1: Heat both creams to 32° C/ 90° F. Do not boil. If you do not have a thermometer to check the temperature, dip your finger into the warm milk. If you can hold the finger for about 10 seconds, then you’re good to go. Remove from heat and stir in the buttermilk or curd. Pour the mixture into a bowl. Cover the bowl with cling wrap, then wrap a few kitchen towels around the bowl and place it in a warm area. In summer, just one layer of towel is sufficient. In winter, pre heat the oven at the lowest heat setting. Switch on the oven light and leave the bowl inside. Let it sit for twenty-four hours. After 24 hours, the cream mixture forms a firm curd. It should not be wobbly when the bowl is tilted. If the mixture still has some movement of liquid, culture needs more time to develop. Let it sit for another 6-12 hours. It took a day for me to set the curd. Curd will have a slight sour smell.
Day 2: Pour mixture into a colander lined with wet cheese cloth or any cotton cloth over a bowl. Drain for 15 minutes. Fold the cheese cloth over the cheese. Drain the whey and place colander back over the bowl. Cover it with cling wrap and place it in the refrigerator for another 12-14 hours. Do not keep anything strong smelling next to the bowl.
Day 3 and 4: Remove curd from the refrigerator and pour it into a mixing bowl. The cream cheese should be firmer now. Add in salt to taste. Line your colander with fresh cheese cloth. Pour curd back into the colander. Cover colander with a cling wrap and place it back over the bowl. Place cheese back in the refrigerator and let it sit for 36-48 hours, depending on the consistency you desire.
Day 5: Place the finished cream cheese in a container and keep it refrigerated for up to two weeks.
BAKED MINI CHEESE CAKES by Saranya Velu, Coimbatore, India. She made these baked mini cheese cakes, using my cream cheese substitute recipe.
CREAM CHEESE POUND CAKE by Alby Antony, Bangalore, India. She baked this cream cheese pound cake using my cream cheese substitute recipe.