Making homemade cream cheese is so easy! You can use this plain cream cheese for bagels, baking, and savory recipes.
I love cream cheese; it has been the salvation of many of my favorite meals. Making homemade cream cheese came about because one year I decided to cook a dish every week that included one specific ingredient, and I chose cream cheese.
When I announced my intentions on Twitter, I got a reply back from Michael Ruhlman, a cook and author, who believes the world is a better place when we cook our own food and share it with the people we love. So I was inspired to look up how to make cream cheese at home.
Many fresh cheeses – that is, cheeses that don’t have to be aged – you can make at home. Often it is simply a matter of adding lemon juice to milk and letting it sit on the counter for 12 to 24 hours – voila, homemade ricotta!
Leave the curds to grow a little more, and you have farmer’s cheese. This type of cheese is wonderful for breakfast. Spread it some on some toast, and you have a really tasty start to your day.
You may ask, why would you make your own cream cheese? Basically, you don’t do it because it is more economical.
The real reason to make your own cream cheese is to enjoy crafting your own cheese. It’s so satisfying and isn’t hard. The final product you get is a wonderful homemade organic cream cheese that tastes rich and tangy.
When you make DIY cream cheese from scratch, you have total control over the ingredients. Plus you don’t have to be concerned with a cream cheese shortage.
You will be really amazed at how easy it is to make homemade cream cheese. This would be a fantastic project for kids, there is very little measuring.
Mesophilic culture is a mix of different bacteria and enzymes. I don’t know of any substitute for this for making homemade cream cheese.
You can use up to 2 gallons of half and half for this homemade cream cheese recipe. You do not need to increase the amount of the culture.
I have not made this recipe with heavy cream, whole milk, skim milk, or any other type of milk. I can’t speak to if that would work for those types of milk products.
For your adventure in making homemade cream cheese, you do need some supplies:
This recipe makes 8 to 10 ounces of cream cheese.
Once you have your delightful homemade cream cheese, you can package it into smaller containers.
Don’t forget your Everything Bagel Seasoning!
Store the cream cheese in an air-tight container in the fridge where it will be good for a few days.
Yes, you can. However, the texture will change dramatically, so you probably wouldn’t want to spread it on your morning bagel. Cream cheese from the freezer is best reserved for baking or any other use where its grainy texture won’t be noticeable, such as in casseroles.
You may ask, why would you make your own cream cheese? Basically, you don’t do it because it’s more economical. However, if you are into organic eating, organic cream cheese is pricy, so making your own cream cheese from scratch isn’t quite as expensive.
Cream cheese ingredients are very simple, and you only need two! The main ingredient in this cream cheese recipe is half-and-half, to which you add a culture.
Yes, you can, but keep in mind that skim milk is better suited to making hard cheeses such as parmesan and romano. When making cream cheese, skim milk will not give you that rich and creamy cheese taste you expect from cream cheese.
The culture used in this cream cheese recipe is mesophilic culture.
Mesophilic culture is a cheese culture best suited to work in moderate temperatures, i.e., half-and-half that is neither too hot nor too cold. It provides the proper bacterial organisms to turn half-and-half into wonderful homemade cream cheese.
Yes, you can, but it’s not recommended for a novice cheesemaker. There is some overlap between the bacteria in the mesophilic culture and the bacteria in yogurt and buttermilk. You can produce a variety of cream cheese recipes, but they won’t be the same as this one.
Your homemade cream cheese will be ok with temperatures of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Yes. Yes, you can. Here is why I don’t entirely recommend it for the novice. Actually, you can try to make it with the ambient bacteria in the air, it could turn out, but most likely it will fail. This is how it was originally discovered thousands of years ago. Over time our ancestors realized you could reproduce it by using whey as a starter and they would get more dependable results.
I personally think if you are trying this for the first time you should spring a couple of bucks for culture and get dependable results. I looked up the bacteria that are in both mesophilic culture and buttermilk. They are as follows.
Mesophillic culture may contain lactose, lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis, lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris
Buttermilk may contain lactose, (LL) lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis, (LLC) lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris, (LLD) lactococcus lactis subsp. biovar diacetylactis, (LMC) leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. cremoris.
Yes, there is some overlap. As you can see they are not the same, so sure you will produce a type of cream cheese but isn’t the recipe that I am sharing.
Use homemade cream cheese in these recipes: