Cream Cheese – Day 2

Sorry I missed yesterday:  Life got in the way.  By the end of yesterday, 24 hours at room temperature, your cream cheese should have coagulated and should now be covered by a bit of whey, looking something like this:

Cream cheese, coagulated after 24 hours of ripening

I’m working in my sink:  Dimly, behind the pot in the sink, you can see the large colander I’m going to use to drain the cheese.  I’ll line that with about a quarter-yard of fine weave cheesecloth, butter muslin, and ladle the curd into it.  Once I’ve transferred the curd to the cheesecloth-lined colander, I’ll tie up the corners around a stiff wooden spoon and hang it over a bucket to drain for another 24 hours.  Once that’s done, I’ll stir in the salt and the cheese will be done.  The draining arrangement looks like this:

Cream cheese tied and draining

Unbundle and stir the cheese once in a while to move more of the whey to the outside.  I like to salt the cheese, stir the salt in and then let it finish draining for a few hours.  The salt helps remove more moisture from the curd.  In the end, you wind up with this:

Stirring in the salt into the nearly drained cream cheese

When finished, spoon the cream cheese into a clean container and refrigerate.  You’ll get around a quart of cream cheese from this recipe.  The resulting cheese is light, tart, flavorful.  My family likes to eat the cheese on bagels, baked potatoes or pretzel thins.

It’s an easy, tasty way to get started in cheesemaking.  It’s what got me hooked.

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