Don’t buy that foil-wrapped brick on the grocery store shelf. It’s so easy to make your own!
- 6 c. raw cream
- 2 c. raw milk
- 1/8 tsp. cream cheese culture
- 1 drop liquid rennet dissolved in 2 Tbs. water
- Heat the milk and cream to 75 degrees, stirring gently with a whisk.
- Sprinkle the culture on top of the cream and allow to sit undisturbed for 3 minutes before stirring it into the cream.
- Pour the rennet and water into the cream and incorporate by using an up and down motion.
- Move the pan off of the heat and to a location where it can sit undisturbed at room temperature, between 70-75 degrees for 12-16 hours. During this time the top layer of the cream will gel and have the consistency of pudding. Cooler temperatures will require a longer culturing period. Don’t let the cream get too warm though or it won’t set up!
- Once it has thickened, use a large, shallow bowled spoon to gently ladle the top layer into a doubled up cheesecloth or fine mesh bag. The bottom part is quite watery and it’s not hard to tell what to scoop and what to leave. I’ve never used the watery portion for anything; I just pitch it.
- Gather and tie the corners of the cheesecloth before hanging it over a large bowl to drain. I use this bag and secure it with a rubber band to the top of a large glass jar.
- Allow the cream to drain for 10-24 hours at about 55 degrees. I’ve never needed to drain this longer than 12. Check on it periodically, kneading the bag gently to move the cream cheese around. If you don’t have a cool enough area you can drain the cream for half of the recommended time at room temperature and the other half in the fridge. Be sure to not let this culture for too long or the cream cheese won’t solidify and you’ll have a runny mess!
- Once it has drained, remove the finished cream cheese to a lidded container and store in the fridge. It’s recommended that this be used within 3 days, but if you start out with very fresh cream, I’ve found it can last 1 week.
- Reserve the cultured cream that drained through the cheesecloth and into the container. Allow this to set in the fridge undisturbed for a day and separate. On top will be the semi-thick cream with a very watery substance on bottom. Scoop off the thicker top layer for this recipe. (It’s the consistency of runny pudding and has a cream cheese flavor to it.)