Homemade cream cheese
Anyone done it?
I want homemade cream cheese to go with my homemade Baltic rye.
Any expertise out there?
Id love to give this a try but have no idea where to buy "direct-set mesophilic starter" other than on line. I live in South Orange County, California. If you're familiar with them......... would a market like Mother's carry this? Or Sprouts??? Sprouts I can check easily but Mothers is not a place I frequent. Thanks.
I just made cream cheese in my crockpot for the first time and it turned out amazingly well! Rich and light and creamy and complex -- it's making me start to wonder what exactly they put in the stuff you buy from the store. I used the recipe in Tim Smith's "Making Artisan Cheese" combined with a method I read about online for making crockpot yogurt ( http://www.macheesmo.com/2011/04/croc... ). What's great about this recipe is that it doesn't require any special starters or cultures. Just some dairy products and some cheesecloth.
Here's the recipe, paraphrased and adapted to what I did:
4 cups half and half
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons buttermilk
salt to taste
- a crockpot -- mine is old, with a dangerously low "low" setting, but I imagine any would work
- a thermometer -- I used a $1 meat thermometer with extra lines sharpeed on at estimated intervals to read the correct temperatures
- a couple clean towels
- a small colander
1. Mix cream and milk together in a crockpot. The original recipe called for non-ultra-pasturized, but I couldn't find it. Regular organic worked just fine.
2. Heat the milk to 90F-ish (I went a touch over) then stir in the buttermilk. Put the lid on the crockpot, turn it off and wrap towels around the lid to hold in the warmth.
3. Let the mixture sit for 10-24 hours, until it is the consistency of thick yogurt and doesn't move when you tilt it back and forth. Every few hours during this process, turn the crockpot onto low for about 10 minutes, then turn it off again. I only warmed it a couple times and then went to bed and it was done when I woke up in the morning.
4. Line a colander with several layers of cheesecloth and put it over a fairly deep catch bowl. Pour in your mixture and let it drain for a couple hours. Then fold the cheesecloth over the top, wrap the whole thing in plastic and stick it in the fridge for about 12 hours.
5. After 12 hours, take the cheese out of the fridge and scoop it into a bowl. Add salt to taste (less is more -- the flavour is really delicate) and stir well.
6. Line the colander with a fresh layer of cheesecloth, add the cheese, wrap it up and put it back in the fridge until it has reached your desired consistency. I took mine out after about a day and it was the perfect consistency for spreading. I'd probably leave it in for another day if I was planning on turning my cream cheese into a cheesecake (and it would make an excellent cheesecake).
So there it is. It takes a while, but it's easy and really really good. The recipe makes about 1 pound of cream cheese (4 of those little 8 oz containers you usually buy) and I spent less than $4 on the ingredients, so it's really economical too! I'll definitely be making this again!
This sounds easy and tasty! And the economical part appeals to me as well.
Just a question about step 6. I should put the cheesecloth in the colander, and then the cheese. And then just wrap the cheesecloth around the top of the cheese, leave it in the colander in the fridge and let it drain more, right? (And wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap, bowl, colander, etc, right?
re: Heidi cooks and bakes
Yeah -- step 6 is basically a rehashing of step 4. I actually even used the same cheesecloth, because I didn't have any more (although this probably isn't the most sanitary thing in the world). Also, I never wrapped the bowl in plastic, just the colander section, although I see no reason not to, and I probably would have if my colander hadn't fit my bowl so perfectly.
re: Heidi cooks and bakes
No problem! And yeah, I think since the cheese cloth covers everything well enough to keep out the big stuff, the plastic wrap is mostly there to stop airborn bacteria and stale fridge smell from seeping into the cheese. In only a couple days in a clean fridge, though, I doubt the danger of either is all that high.