Sometime ago, I searched for homemade cream cheese recipes on the net. There were quite a few that popped up, but most of them used rennet as the coagulating agent. For those of you who didn’t know this, rennet is an enzyme obtained from the stomachs of calves, lambs and such other mammals. Vegetarians, sorry to burst your bubble, but most store bought hard cheeses (with the exception of soft Philly cream cheese) have rennet in them.
The recipes of cream cheese that didn’t use rennet seemed long winded, complicated and not so convincing. So my search for homemade cream cheese recipe was put to an end and I continued buying Philly cream cheese even though it was an expensive proposition; now I couldn’t stop making cheesecakes, could I?
Couple of days ago, I looked up homemade cream cheese again and hallelujah! I found this amazing recipe on instructables.com. There is always this skepticism involved in making cream cheese at home, because one is never sure about how it will turn out especially when used in making cheesecakes. But this cream cheese is of the perfect consistency, can be used in cheesecakes unflinchingly or frosted on cupcakes.
I will never buy cream cheese from a store again, and I can continue to make cheesecakes like I always used to, but free of guilt.
What you need:
- Large, heavy bottomed dish
- Candy thermometer
- Large colander
- Cheese cloth or tea towel
- Long wooden ladle
- Long, wide-mouthed glass jar
- String, to tie
- 1.5 liters heavy cream (I used Amul fresh cream)
- 1/3 cup distilled vinegar
- Pinch of salt
Yield: about 450 grams
Add salt to cream and in a heavy bottomed pan, bring to boil, or until your candy thermometer shows 82 C. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, put off the heat when small bubbles start appearing on the surface and steam comes on top.
Allow it to cool for 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and mix. Cover the vessel with a tea towel and let it sit at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight.
The cream should’ve curdled. Now, place a tea towel or several layers of cheesecloths on a colander, pour the mixture into it, gather the edges of the tea towel to make a pouch and tie it together with the string. Tie the string to the wooden ladle and hang it in the jar. Leave some gap between the pouch and bottom of the jar for the whey to drip in. Place it in the refrigerator.
Next day, lightly squeeze the pouch to extract any additional whey. Unbundle the pouch and you’ll have firm, spreadable cream cheese, ready to be spread on a cracker!
Recipe courtesy: http://www.instructables.com/id/Dead-Easy-Cream-Cheese/