So I made my own cream cheese. And let me be the first to say: I understand it is totally uncalled for to be making your own cream cheese. I a) do not neeeeeed cream cheese, and b) even if I did, it is so readily available why make your own?
Because it can be done. And easily. What can I say?: when I found out, I was intrigued. I’d never thought of it before, didn’t know it could be done! Yes, I made my own yogurt and even my own cheese once, but somehow cream cheese never occurred to me – how do “they” make cream cheese? What is cream cheese anyway? Certainly not something an average person could concoct, right? I think it was the obviously man-made brick shape of a certain famous brand that was a household staple in my childhood fridge that imparted a factory-feel to the product and removed it from my ‘you-can-make-that’ radar.
So, when I ran across a mini-recipe for cream cheese in Radically Simple that listed just one ingredient(!), well I nearly immediately had to try for myself.
Turns out, making cream cheese is super fab & easy. And not air-quotes easy like making your own yogurt, or grilling pizza (As Jim Shahin of the Washington Post says of grilling pizza” It’s “like learning a new computer program. Those who know how to do it always say it’s easy. But it’s only easy if you know how to do it.”) – making your own cream cheese is straight-up really and truly simple. 1 step, 1 ingredient. You don’t even need a recipe really.
Are you ready?….the ingredient is SOUR CREAM! You basically let sour cream drain a bit overnight. As much or as little sour cream as you like. Here I put about 8oz in a coffee filter rubber banded around the mouth of a big Ball jar. The Ball jar was good because I could then screw on the cap – but I suppose you could cover the exposed sour cream with plastic wrap if using a vessel without a lid. Let it sit in the refrigerator overnight, plunk it out of the coffee filter, stir in some salt, and voila!: Cream Cheese, ready to spread and enjoy.
It came out soft and fluffy – like the whipped cream cheeses you can buy in a tub. Very nice and spreadable. Surprisingly little liquid had drained out to transform it from sour cream to cream cheese. Mine didn’t have quite the tang I expected, but after adding a good dash of salt it got there…yum! Results should vary from time to time, and between different sour creams and their different fat-levels, liquidity, consistency, flavors, etc. As with any DIY, you know exactly what is in yours and you can add in whatever flavors and etc that you like, and to your taste.
Now, no one neeeeeds cream cheese, obviously, but I think we can all agree that it can be kind of nice to have sometimes. Lately I’ve got all these jars of apple butter staring me down. And…I’m one of those wacky people who likes the combination of jam & cheese. But committing to a tub or brick of cream cheese? I have a hard time buying the stuff. So this method is ideal for singles, people who are the only cream cheese eater in their household, and the brick-o-phobic.
It’s not an exact match, but if you are an only-occasional cream cheese eater – well this might be a good trick to keep in mind. You can make as much or as little as you like or need, you’ll not feel obligated to eat a whole tub or brick, and you know exactly what’s in your DIY cream cheese.
Are you brick-o-phobic? What’s your favorite cream cheese pairing? Jam & cream cheese – gross or great? Share your thoughts below!