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Cream Cheese: It doesn’t get much easier…

October 5, 2010

There is a part of me that really likes the fact that cheese making is not your everyday hobby/passion.  There is a certain sort of satisfaction when a friend, co-worker, or even complete stranger tries your cheese and is amazed that someone they know could actually make this.  It’s fun!  So it is somewhat reluctantly that I will now share a secret with you.  Making cream cheese is perhaps the easiest cheese that you can make.  The cool thing about it is that cream cheese…REAL cream cheese tastes so much better than anything you can buy in a store….by a long shot.

All you need is a packet of direct mesophilic direct set culture, and 2 quarts of pasteurized half and half.  Make sure it is truly pasteurized…  One of my coworkers at Lucy’s Whey (Thanks Jessica!) told me that some producers will label their milk as pasteurized when in fact it has been ultra-pasteurized. Ultra-pasteurized will not work if you are planning on making any kind of cheese with it!   I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: know your milk!!!

Sterilize a stainless steel pot.  Pour the half and half in and bring up to room temperature or 72°.  Stir in the culture thoroughly, and let it sit for 12 hours. I like to do this early in the evening so that I wake up and I am ready to go.   Upon waking, you will find a pot full of soft curd that smells a bit like yogurt.  Ladle the curd into a colander lined with butter muslin (finer than cheese cloth),  tie into a bag and hang for 8-10 hours.  Once the bag has stopped dripping and you have the consistency that you like,  scoop the cheese into a bowl, add salt, herbs, scallions or whatever else you like, put into ramekins, and refrigerate.  You then need to make an exact solution of salt, sugar, lavender root, dandelion trimmings, the hair of a mountain lion and boil till….

No really…that’s it…  So much better than store-bought.  This is just one of many ways to make cream cheese as there are a few more varieties and styles that you can explore.  This is the easiest and is truly worth it.  Don’t take my word for it though.  You have no excuse but to try it for yourself…

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. October 5, 2010 6:51 pm

    I’ve been thinking about this since you didn’t have time (damn you) to make us some for the Playa this year.

    I. Must. Make. This.

    • October 5, 2010 6:56 pm

      Well I guess I will just have to plan ahead for my next trip to the Playa…

  2. October 6, 2010 12:04 pm

    I am sooooo going to try this – I make my own bagels every once in a while (using my pizza dough) and they would be great with homemade cream cheese! Awesome! – actually sounds easier than my ricotta recipe, and I thought cheese didn;t come easier to make than that! Wow! Great stuff Aaron

    • October 6, 2010 12:15 pm

      Thanks! Let me know if you need some help in tracking down supplies…

  3. October 9, 2010 10:21 am

    Wow! Super cool post with lots of great info. You explain cheese science and the process in a very easy to understand way. I have been itching to do more with home cheesemaking and I’m sure I’ll find your site very useful. Do you post on homegrown.com?

    • October 9, 2010 7:38 pm

      Thanks for the comment Christine! I really try to make everything as simple as possible so I appreciate that. I went to homegrown.com and I have a feeling you meant homegrown.org. Cool site! I will keep it on my radar.

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