An easy way to make cream cheese at home
How many different varieties of cream cheese do you think there is in the supermarket? Take a look next time – there’s a lot! Full-cream, low-fat, sweet chilli, chocolate flavoured – and the list goes on! Cream cheese is a delicious and versatile food, but, unfortunately, many pre-packaged varieties contain copious amounts of salt, sugar and several artificial additives (though not all – check the list of ingredients) which are not good for our health. The good news is that you can make your own cream cheese at home. You want the even better news? Cream cheese is cheap to make and can be done in three simple steps.
What you’ll need:
- Greek yoghurt – as much as you like (I use full-fat Greek yoghurt and make about 1kg at a time)
- Large bowl
- Cheese or nut bag (I bought mine on eBay for $10)
- Wooden spoon
- Tinned food can or other weighted item
- Place cheese bag into the bowl and spoon in the Greek yoghurt.
- Tie the bag strings to the middle to the wooden spoon then twirl the spoon horizontally so the bag wraps quite tightly around it. This will prevent the bag from touching the bottom of the bowl. Sit the wooden spoon across the top of the bowl, securing with a weight (i.e. tinned food), and allow the cheese to hang in a cool, dry spot for about 24 hours. The longer it hangs, the more whey will be extracted and the thicker your cream cheese will become.
- When your cream cheese has been hanging long enough to reach your desired consistency, remove from the cheese bag and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.
I told you it was simple!
I love cream cheese and I eat it several ways:
- on toast with fruit, such as figs, for a sweet and decadent breakfast
- on fruit for a sweet but protein-filled snack
- on crackers for a quick and easy savoury snack
- stirred through spinach and/or basil pesto to make a delicious savoury dip
- dolloped on baked chicken or pasta with a sprinkling of spice like paprika.
Now, if you still like your cream cheese with a bit of a twist, you can flavour it naturally any way you like. Here are some examples:
Garlic and chives cream cheese
For 500gm cream cheese, mince 1 clove garlic and grate about 1 teaspoon of onion. Lightly fry in a little olive oil over low heat until onion is transparent. Stir onion and garlic through cream cheese, then stir through 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh chives. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cream cheese and bacon
Follow the same recipe as above, but omit chives in place of 2 to 3 pieces of cooked and diced short-cut bacon.
Chocolate cream cheese
For 500gm cream cheese, stir through 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of raw cacao powder and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
How do you like to eat and flavour your cream cheese?