Whether you need some as an ingredient in another dish, or simply enjoy cream cheese on a cracker, this DIY version is a great alternative to store bought!
A fellow food blogger (and new found friend) told me about using homemade cream cheese in her desserts a couple of months ago, and I was inspired to try making some too. Went with my instincts (those of making paneer) and bungled it the first time around. The resulting cheese was excellent paneer, but not creamy enough to qualify as cream cheese. After a quick chat with her, and an essential tip, my second attempt was a success. “Don’t squeeze”, “Blend with 2 tbsp of the whey”, she said – and that’s what made the difference!
A couple of other tips I’ve learned over the years of making paneer apply here too: 1) Adding the right amount of acid to curdle the milk, and 2) Adding the acid when the milk is at boiling temperature. If you experience any trouble with the initial curdling step, remember that you might have to raise the heat slightly, and if you still don’t see any splitting of milk, you might need to add a tad more acid.
Recipe: Homemade Cream Cheese
- A sieve
- A cheesecloth / muslin cloth
- A food processor / blender
- 2 ltrs Full Fat Milk
- 8 tsps Lime / Lemon Juice [the juice of 2 small limes]
- ⅛ tsp Salt
- Bring 2 ltrs of full fat1 milk to a rolling boil in a large pot/ sauce pan, and then turn off the heat.
- Immediately add 8 tsps of lime juice to the milk and stir gently. Make sure to do this when the milk is really hot!
- You should soon see curds separating from the whey (little white solids separating from a pale-yellow liquid). Turn the heat off at this point and continue to stir for about 20 seconds.
- Place a sieve over a large bowl, and line it with muslin cloth. Pour the curdled milk into the sieve and allow it to drain for about 15 – 20 mins2.
- Transfer the drained curds to a food processor and add 4 tsps of the whey; add a pinch of salt and process for 3 minutes. Stop after each minute to scrape down the sides of the food processor jar and give the cream cheese a good stir. Add a tsp more of the whey if you feel the mixture is too dense.
- Here’s what the cream cheese should look like after 3 minutes of blending.
1This recipe needs full fat milk and will not work with skimmed or otherwise. I used regular Amul Gold milk.
2Once you’ve poured the curdled milk into the sieve, RESIST the urge to press down with a spatula or wring out the muslin cloth to drain the liquid faster; that’s the mistake I made the first time around. You need all of that moisture to get to a light fluffy textured cheese. Also, DON’T throw away the drained whey! (poetry there🙄) Not only do you need a bit to process the cheese, but you can also drink the residual whey protein or use it to thin out any savory batter (Dosa, fritter,etc.) instead of water. It will add a slightly tangy note to your batter.
The end product with this recipe is a light, creamy, Ricotta-like cheese. It stores quite well in the fridge for 4 – 5 days; just make sure to use an air tight container so that it doesn’t dry out.
Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions, or if you tried this recipe and have some feedback✌