Cream Cheese is a soft spreadable cheese that is salty and tangy. It is known for its very smooth and creamy texture. It is used in both Savoury and desserts and is a very versatile cheese to work with. My recipe is easy and made with just three ingredients, yes you read it right this a three ingredient cream cheese.
Hi ! everyone who stopped over at bakewithnari, I am here with my recipe for incredible 3 ingredient cream cheese. Its just like the store brought one and I have used it in my Eggless Baked Mango Cheesecake (with a twist) The texture and the consistency of this cream cheese is good and you can use it the same day its made. This cream cheese can be used in any recipe that requires cream cheese and you will be surprised to know how easy it is.
Why make this cream cheese recipe?
Where I live in India there is no shop in my city that sells cream cheese, there were times i found myself totally at sea as I couldn’t make any recipe that required cream cheese. I missed out on a lot of tasty dishes as I didn’t know I could make my own cream cheese. One day I just decided to change my fate and after a few trials and errors came up with this recipe for cream cheese. You don’t need to buy active starter cultures or hang the cream cheese for hours in the fridge. This recipe is made with simple store brought ingredients and you will have these ingredients in your refrigerator. The best part is that you can control the quality of ingredients that go in your cream cheese, there are preservatives no additives and in just 3 fridge staple ingredients you have your cream cheese ready. This cream cheese is fresh and tasty and so easy to make that probably you could make them in your sleep. This is the best foolproof recipe for cream cheese and you should give it a go.
What is Cream Cheese?
Cream cheese is made with milk and cream or just milk with the addition of lactic acid bacteria cultures. Th production involves the curdling and heating of the milk and followed by straining. The process requires for the milk to be heated acidified by adding lactic acid bacteria cultures. These cultures help ferment the milk sugars and convert them into lactic acid, which gives cream cheese its characteristic tangy flavor. After acidification the milk mixture is heated some more where the milk protein coagulates and forms the curds which gives the cream cheese its tangy flavor. This process helps the curd separate from the liquid whey. The curds are then strained in a cheese cloth over a strainer to remove the excess moisture or whey and make the cream cheese creamy.
This homemade recipe for cream cheese uses lemon juice or lime juice or plain white vinegar and just full fat milk.
The tool you need to make this DIY homemade cream cheese
*a heavy bottom pan or saucepan
*A spatula or a wooden spoon
*Sieve (a fine mesh strainer)
*Cheese cloth or muslin cloth
*Wet grinder or a food processor
Ingredients that go into the cream cheese
Full Fat Milk: I used milk which is full fat and not toned or skimmed milk. I used this milk so that our cream cheese is nice and creamy and rich. We associate cream cheese to be rich and absolutely creamy and that texture can only be achieved if we use full fat milk, as full fat milk will have larger curds than toned or skimmed milk.
Lemon Juice: Lemon juice or plain white vinegar whatever you have at hand.
Salt: Cream cheese is a salty cheese so, adding a little salt enhances its flavor.
How is Cream Cheese made?
Heat the Milk: heat the milk in a large heavy bottom saucepan and let the milk come to a simmer. Don’t let it boil. Keep stirring so that the milk doesn’t scorch at the bottom.
Acidify the mixture: Add the lemon juice or the white vinegar one tablespoon at a time and wait at least for 1 minute continually stirring. Continue stirring giving time to the acid to react with the milk.
Allow the curdling: let the mixture curdle and the whey and the curd will separate. The water will be slightly yellow and there will be large pieces of white curd.
Strain the Curd: take a cheese cloth and keep it on a colander or strainer and strain the mixture. The whey will collect in the bottom and the curd will collect in the colander in the muslin cloth. A muslin cloth or a cheese cloth is essential for the curd to collect in the colander or strainer. Now take a spoon and push the curd down in the muslin cloth gently trying to take out as much water as you can. Don’t press the curds too hard gently press them in the cloth and strain out the whey. Let the curd cool down.
Add them to a food processor or wet grinder: drop the cream cheese into the grinder or processor and add the salt. Grind it till you have a smooth creamy mixture. Once the cream cheese reaches the desired consistency, transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate. If you want to make Savoury cream cheese now is the time to add your herbs, spices and nuts.
How do we store diy cream cheese?
Since this cream cheese has no preservatives and additives this cream cheese won’t have a very long shelf life. You can keep it in an airtight bowl in the refrigerator for about 4 days. It doesn’t freeze well.
Is this cream cheese as good as the shop bought ones ?
Well this cream cheese is homemade so it doesn’t have the preservatives and commercial stabilizers that are in a commercial cream cheese. However, this homemade cream cheese is a good cream cheese and can be substituted in all recipes that require cream cheese. This cream cheese is delicious and works well in all recipes that require the baking or cooking.
Some common questions answered.
Why is our cream cheese so grainy?
The factors contributing to the grainy texture are variations in temperature or timing during the process. Also mixing technique used during the creaming process can also influence the texture. Avoid overmixing, as excessive agitation can break down the curds and result in a grainy texture. Mix gently and stop once the desired consistency is reached. if the acidification wasn’t adequate or the acid wasn’t distributed properly in the milk it can lead to grainy texture. The quality of the milk also matters, good quality milk will produce nice creamy curds. The curds should be strained well insufficient straining will lead to grainy curd. So if you do get grainy remember to do the following:
- Re-strain the curds – keep the curds that you have just strained back into the cheese cloth or the muslin cloth and strain out they whey as much as you can. The removal of excess whey will make the curs smooth.
- Increasing blending or the processing Time – increasing the blending and the processing time it helps the cream cheese to become smooth and rich. It helps it to achieve the smooth texture that is required for cream cheese. Do it in a food processor or a blender.
These steps should help for you to achieve a smooth and rich creamy cream cheese.
Why is my cream cheese too runny?
Your cream cheese is too runny because you didn’t strain out the whey well. Make sure to strain the curds for a longer duration to achieve a thicker consistency.
Can i make cream cheese with low fat or low cream milk?
Yes, you can but it won’t give you a nice creamy, rich texture as a full cream milk would do. Higher fat content contributes to a smoother and richer cream cheese.
- In a heavy bottom pan heat the milk till a rolling simmer on high heat and stir continuously.
- Lower the heat to a medium low and add the lemon juice 1 tablespoon at a time. Give 1-minute intervals after you add the lemon juice and keep stirring so that you don’t burn it in the bottom.
- Keep stirring and the milk will start turning yellow and the white thick curds will float on the top. The curdling will take a few minutes so be patient. Once this happens take the pan off the heat.
- Line a colander or a sieve with cheesecloth and pour the curdled milk. The whey will go into the bottom of the pan and the curd will get collected in the cheesecloth. With a spoon press the curds gently and take out the whey. Do this process a few times until your curds seem a little dry. Let it cool down to room temperature.
- Now, in a food processor or wet grinder drop the cheese that has collected in the cloth and add the salt. Process it till it’s nice and smooth.
- Once nice and smooth spoon it into a airtight container and refrigerate it till you need it. Enjoy your cream cheese.