Ah, cream cheese! Striking, sublime, silky smooth cream cheese! How it enhances and enriches both sweet and savoury dishes baffles me. And so does the cost. Simply ridiculous! Well, I’m a determined woman you see, and I’m not going to let the Kraft Philadelphias of the world leave me with little or no choice. I’m going to show you how to make your own instant cream cheese so we can all enjoy some cream cheese, cheesecakes (like this brilliant no-bake blueberry cheesecake), and cream cheese spreads whenever we want to.
Good quality cream cheese can be rather steep in price in most countries that do not use cream cheese that often, like in India. But many South Asians use a variant soft cheese called cottage cheese or paneer, and the west uses sour cream, and those two are a good start to making your own instant cream cheese. Getting good quality heavy cream can also be daunting — as does the time to make it.
No, I’m not going to ask you to mix paneer (cottage cheese) and curds — this will only give you a version of cheese. Before I go on, I must mention the difference between paneer and cream cheese. Paneer is made by adding rennet or food acid like vinegar or lime juice to heated milk, while cream cheese is a softer, creamier version of paneer, made by adding lactic acid bacteria to heated milk and cream. Cream cheese has a higher fat content than other cheeses, and fat repels water, which tends to separate from the cheese; this can be avoided in commercial production by adding stabilizers such as guar or carob gums to prolong its shelf life (therefore, make cream cheese at home!). Adrianna Adarme has included a cream cheese recipe in her blog acozykitchen.com, and so has Jill Winger in theprairiehomestead.com. You could also refer this cream cheese recipe — it uses buttermilk culture and rennet.
So, we’re definitely going to need cream and milk for sure. But instead of using rennet, what if we add a cultured milk product such as paneer to cream, and throw in some more bacteria (yogurt) for good measure? Surely, we’ll land cream cheese. Just like Jeffrey A. Marx — a rabbi who served at The Santa Monica Synagogue and is a stalwart on the history of cream cheese — said, “He’s curdled the milk, pressed all the liquid out, and now he puts cream into it. What does he call it? He calls it cream cheese.” What he said got me thinking and How To Make Your Own Instant Cream Cheese came about.
Make sure you use paneer that’s naturally made, like iD Paneer (it is vacuum packed and thick), or use homemade paneer (mental note to self to post a blog about making paneer). Ready for a striking, sublime, silky smooth cream cheese miracle?
Ah, cream cheese! Sublime, silky smooth cream cheese! How To Make Your Own Instant Cream Cheese gives you easy instructions to instant cream cheese bliss.
- 200 g soft cottage cheese (paneer)
- 8 tablespoons sour cream or high fat yogurt or thick curds (1/2 cup)
- 6 tablespoons heavy cream (1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons)
Cut the cottage cheese | paneer into small pieces.
Add the cut paneer, sour cream or yogurt and cream to your mixer-grinder and blend until smooth.
If the cream cheese (that's what it is now!) looks a little watery to you, then line a sieve with muslin cloth and pour the creamy mixture in. Tie the ends of the muslin cloth onto a wooden spoon and lay it across a bowl so that the water from the cream cheese collects in the bowl. Keep it in the fridge for a few hours or overnight, depending on how watery it seems to you. I didn't do that as I was satisfied with the consistency of my cream cheese.
Storage: When stored in an airtight jar or box, it stays in the fridge for about 5 days.
The Brilliant No-Bake Blueberry Cheesecake (not just spice)
Cream Cheese (Wiki)
Cottage Cheese Vs Cream Cheese (thedairydish.com)
Cream Cheese (cheesemaking.com)
How To Make Cream Cheese (acozykitchen.com)
How to Make Cream Cheese (theprairiehomestead.com)
Fermented milk products (Wiki)
iD Paneer (Economic Times)