If you Google cream cheese recipes, you will be overwhelmed by the assortment of guides, ranging from very complicated to very easy. I am interested in easy. Basically if you add an acidity; be it vinegar, lemon juice, or tartaric acid to heated cream, you will separate the curds from the whey. Add some salt for seasoning, and you've got an amazing cream cheese. From here, who knows what you'll be inspired to mix into your fresh cheese. I'm opting for Ames Farm single source honey and some dried lavender flowers. Does that suggest spring? Yes please!
Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift had the best recipe that I found, of coarse! The ingredient list is short, the recipe easy to follow, and the ingredient list is made of basic things anyone can purchase anywhere. Perfect! Tools you will need before you start include a pot that can hold at least a gallon of liquid, a colander, and cheesecloth. I have all of these things on hand in my kitchen at the Co-op, except cheesecloth. I used giant coffee filters which worked wonderfully. Improvising is good!
Homemade Cream Cheese
2 quarts heavy cream
1 quart 1/2 & 1/2
1 quart whole milk
2 tsp salt
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Line a large colander with a layer of cheesecloth and place in the sink or over a bowl if you want to save the whey. *The whey can be saved and used in soup, stews, curries, or to cook pasta and rice!
Over medium heat, bring the cream, 1/2 & 1/2, milk, and slat to a gentle simmer in a heavy large pot. Stir in the lemon juice and continue to simmer gently until curds begin to form and float to the top, 1 to 2 minutes. They will first look like spatters of white, then gather into soft, cloud-like clumps. When you see the liquid begin to clear of cloudiness and the curds are firming up but not hard, scoop them out with a slotted spoon or sieve.
|the curds separating form the whey in a giant coffee filter lined sieve|