'Tis the season for cheesecakes, cream-filled pastries, cream cheese iced cinnamon rolls, and cheese based sauces. But when you want to buy quality ingredients, the cost for all that cream cheese adds up fast!
Let me share with you how to make amazing homemade cream cheese for much less that store bought. Plus, you can use raw milk for this recipe as well, giving you all sorts of added probiotics!
Many of the recipes I've seen around the interwebs produce a very soft cream cheese result. However, it is possible to get a good thick homemade raw cream cheese that closely resembles the store bought version, I have done it many times!
Not only is it cost effective to make your own, but it's a really fun experiment for kids. You'll also get huge bragging rights at all the holiday events when you tell everyone that the cheesecake you brought was made with homemade cream cheese. ;-)
How to Make Homemade Raw Organic Cream Cheese
I don't know about you, but in the past I have been very intimidated by homemade cheese recipes of any kind. Except maybe the kind that called for a block of store bought "cheese" to be melted into queso or something!
But since discovering our allergic reactions to pasteurized milk, we haven't made any recipes like that. So now we are fully embracing the world of homemade dairy, and I have to tell you, it's really simple!
This is probably the easiest recipe you will every try... you really just let the cheese make itself!
Steps for Making Homemade Raw Organic Cream Cheese
First, start with raw milk OR organic CULTURED buttermilk (regular pasteurized milk will not sour properly. Find out more on how to make your own cultured butter milk here).
Pour 4 cups into a glass container. Loosely seal the container, making sure it is no more than half way full, and leave it on it's side. The more surface area of the milk that is exposed to air, the faster it will clabber!
Whoa... what does "clabber" mean. Basically, it just means that the cultures have taken oven and have started to form chunks of cheese in the milk, causing it to turn into two parts: curds and whey.
Once the milk has clabbered, it will look like a bunch of cream cheese just sitting in broth (the whey is yellowly, but clear).
Note: This process may take several days, depending on how cold the room is where the milk is sitting, and how cultured the milk was when you started. Fresh milk takes longer, soured milk will clabber more quickly!
When you see the cheese in broth look, dump it all into a cloth (thin, but doesn't have to be cheesecloth), and hang it to drip.
Hanging it is important as simply placing it in a colander will not allow all the whey to escape and your finished product will be much softer.
I wrap mine up in a thin dish towel and tie a hairband around it a few times. Then I hang it from the attachment knob on my KitchenAid.
However you hang it, make sure it drips until the whey has stopped dripping and the cheese is the consistency you want! The longer you allow it to hang, the more firm the finished product will be.
Note: You may need to message the cloth and contents briefly once the whey has stopped dripping if you are doing a large batch as the inside cheese may not drain as well once the outer cheese has become more solid.
The whey dripping out should be a nice yellow and mostly clear. If it isn't, scrape all the cheese back into the container it was in and allow it to age longer.
When you take it down to inspect it, it should peal away from the towel easily and be quite thick...
Once the cheese is finished, scrape is all into an air tight container and add a bit of salt and honey (or whatever flavors you would like) and use it as you would store bought cream cheese!
Keeps in the fridge for up to 3 weeks, but I doubt there will be any left in there that long!
Storing the Whey
The liquid that drips out of the cream cheese is called whey. It's very nutritious and can be added to soups, sauces, vegetables or smoothies for an added kick of all sorts of great things that you can read more about here.
I like to freeze mine (get the pumpkin mold here), and then keep them in baggies for use later on.
What is your favorite recipe that calls for cream cheese?
I plan on making a cheesecake for my husband with this batch of cream cheese. I haven't had cheesecake in YEARS, I can't wait!!