Wednesday, December 26, 2012

DIY Cream Cheese

As I said before, I have embarked upon a cheese-making quest. I am very excited about it, even though I got a bit overwhelmed when I hit the downhill holiday train. I fell behind on the cheese challenges, and even considered giving up altogether. I ran into some difficulty obtaining ingredients, and with the ridiculous amount of random things going on, I quickly got discouraged. I haven't had the internet since we moved back into our house, so that also put a damper on things.
Since my ricotta post in September, our eldest started school, as did our youngest. We had our eldest evaluated for any learning issues and
they determined that he does have 'autistic-like' behaviors, an auditory processing disorder, and a speech/communication delay, among other things. We had to attend individualized meetings for both boys, and the lady who was renting our house passed away, and we had to make a lot of improvements before moving back in. We had a few big things to take care of, like selling our truck. I had three craft shows, a recital, a cantata, seven birthdays in my immediate family, three Christmas parties,  my grandma's funeral the week before Thanksgiving, not to mention Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
I survived.
I know change is good. I know that. As long as you're living, things are changing. Yet, every part of our human nature to wishes things to remain the same.

I finally managed to find the cultures I needed to continue with the cheesemaking. I did make ricotta again, for a lasagna I made, and this time I made it with lemon, and it turned out delicious once again. This may become a monthly habit.
In my inability to find goat's milk that didn't come out of a can, I switched to another cheese on October's list, which was cream cheese.
This was not difficult at all, and only required a few special ingredients. My cheese didn't curdle as quick as it was supposed to, probably because my house was ridiculously cold. It was easily saved, and turned out absolutely delicious! It is also economical. For about $6 I made I think about a pound and a half of artisan cream cheese. Pretty hard to beat that.
The next day I made homemade bagels to usher the cream cheese into our mouths. I also used it for a cream cheese frosting for my sister's birthday cake, and while it separated a bit it was still amazingly delicious and looked great once it set up.
I also made cream cheese frosting for our Christmas cinnamon rolls. Now that I have everything I need to make another 10 recipes I have no doubt our fridge will be supplied for the next year with fresh cream cheese.
I am also quite determined to catch up on the cheesemaking challenge, so expect feta in the near future!

Tasting Notes:
  • Appearance: smooth and white; looks like store-bought Philly cream cheese
  • Nose (aroma): Slightly tangy
  • Overall Taste: Mild and creamy
  • Sweet to Salty: Sweet
  • Mild (mellow) to Robust to Pungent (stinky): Mellow
  • Mouth Feel: (gritty, sandy, chewy, greasy, gummy, etc.): Thick, smooth, and creamy, just like cream cheese should be.
Cream Cheese
Recipe taken from Artisan Cheese Making by Mary Karlin

1 quart whole milk
1 quart heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon MA 4001 powdered mesophilic starter (you can buy it here)
2 drops calcium chloride diluted in 2 Tablespoons cool, non-chlorinated water
2 drops liquid rennet diluted in 2 Tablespoons non-chlorinated water (both can be found at
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat the milk and cream over medium heat to 75degrees F, stirring occasionally.
Sprinkle the starter over the milk and let it rehydrate for 5 minutes. Whisk 20 times.
Add the diluted calcium chloride and incorporate the same way, followed by the diluted rennet.
Let sit at room temp for 12 hours. (or in an oven that is off if your house is cool)
When the solid curds form and the liquid whey floats on the top, strain the mixture through a cheese cloth.
(Set the cheesecloth in a sieve and ladle/pour the mixture in).
Shape into a draining sack and hang for 6 to 8 hours.
Transfer to a bowl, add salt, and stir. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.


  1. What a wonderful read, Laurel! Good for you! I cannot wait to try this. I have so many fresh cheeses yet on my list! I love the idea of angel food cake croutons, too!
    Happy Happy 2013!

  2. I am glad it turned out well for you. Good Job


  3. Well done, I am glad it turned out for you. I haven't made cream cheese yet, I keep saying I will but then other things get in the way. Again good job

    1. Well, I couldn't have done it without your help! I probably would have given up, so thank you!


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