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 and cream cheese spreads whenever we want to.
I cannot get over how costly good quality cream cheese can be! To make matters costlier, rennet — the culture we can use to make cream cheese, and a few other cheeses — is also costly. Wait. Let me tell you why the cost baffles me. You see Kraft Philadelphia is a whopping INR 740 for 226 grams on Amazon (also because it is imported). And to make cream cheese with rennet or a similar culture is also going to end up costing you money and time. Unless of course you wish to buy a bigger quantity of rennet to make cream cheese regularly.
There’s a reason I’m ranting. It’s because I’ve discovered the recipe to instant cream cheese! Oh yes, you read that right. Instant cream cheese. And 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. This is how this blog post How To Make Your Own Instant Cream Cheese came about. I found Priyanka Sirohi validating my thoughts in her blog recipefollows.com.
We’re going to make this really easy method for now, and I’ll make cream cheese with milk and cream and rennet and put it up here on notjustspice.com sometime later. I will, I will. Just as soon as I get over instant cream cheese (I cannot stop mentioning it!). 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?
Instant Homemade Cream Cheese
Makes about 450 g cream cheese
- 200 g paneer
- 5 tablespoons yogurt (or really thick curds)
- 7 tablespoons (about 20 g) cream
- Cut the paneer into small pieces.
- Add the cut paneer, yogurt and cream to your mixer-grinder and blend until smooth.
Storage: When stored in an airtight jar or box, it stays in the fridge for about 5 days.
Cream Cheese (Wiki)
Cottage Cheese Vs Cream Cheese (thedairydish.com)
Homemade Cream Cheese (recipefollows.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)