Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Cream Cheese

Who loves cream cheese?  I like it with served with a drizzle of sweet chilli sauce or spread on crackers with some sliced heirloom tomato and a basil leaf.

Well curd nerds, you are going to love this version.  It is so tasty and is easy to make, with very few ingredients unlike processed cream cheese which has a list of ingredients as long as my arm.

Like any great cheese, it just takes a little bit of time.

This is a cheese that I have been meaning to make for a few months, but it has been just too hot here in South Eastern Australia.  Luckily, this weekend has been mild with temperatures in the low 20's (C).

I managed to source a non-homogenised full cream milk at a local supplier in Bacchus Marsh (Jonesy's Milk), which was just a delight to use for cheese making.

So on to the recipe and method.

Cream Cheese


  • 4 litres (1 gallon) full cream (whole) milk
  • 1/8th teaspoon, (heaped smidgen) Mesophilic direct set culture type MA or MO30
  • 4 drops liquid rennet in 60 ml (1/4 cup) of non-chlorinated water
  • 2 teaspoons cheese salt
  • If using homogenised milk, add 1 ml of calcium chloride in 30 ml of non-chlorinate water.


Sanitise all equipment by boiling in hot water or a weak bleach (20 ml of bleach to 4 litres of cold water)

In a large pot, pour in the milk and add calcium chloride solution if necessary and stir thoroughly top to bottom for 30 seconds.  Warm the milk to 30°C (86°F).

Add the culture, stir well for one minute top to bottom.

Add 3 teaspoons of the rennet solution (discard remainder), and stir for two minutes.

Cover and allow to rest at room temperature (about 21°C or 70°F) for 18 hours.  After resting, it will have the appearance of a block of soft curd with whey.

Line a colander with cheesecloth (I doubled it over twice to make it four layers thick), or butter muslin.

Ladle the curds into the cheesecloth.

Note the yoghurt like consistency.  It also tastes slightly sour, but not quite like a natural yoghurt.

Then form a bag and allow to drain for 12 hours.  Don't forget to tie a double granny knot by gathering the opposite corners of the cloth, otherwise it may slip and fall.

 After 12 hours, untie the cheesecloth, and remove the cheese from the bag.

 Work in the cheese salt with a clean spoon, a little at a time until all used.

Refrigerate the cream cheese in an airtight container.  When chilled, you can make small logs, roll in finely chopped fresh herbs and slice, or just spread on bread or crackers.

Delicious.  Once you have tried fresh home made cream cheese, you will never eat the processed stuff again.  It is delightfully creamy with a slight tang.  Just perfect!

So, a show of hands please.  Who is going to give this cheese a go?


  1. Great stuff Gavin.
    I have an easy-peasy recipe for thick greek yoghurt I make twice a week - 2l whole milk, 1 tablespoon starter yoghurt. Heat to 90C cool to 45C. Mix gently. Leave in warm place for 6-10 hours. Never fails. Gives hardly any whey. Use it also for all sauces so it´s a real staple in our house.

    So now I´m going to see if I can get it more solid by draining/squeezing. Guess there will be a small taste difference. Otherwise you´ve given great instructions as usual for the real stuff.

    1. Nice recipe Ramona. We make a similar type of yoghurt using the culture from the previous one. You will find that if you let it hang overnight, you will get a nice yoghurt cheese.

  2. could you make it with goats milk and how do you think it would taste?

    1. I believe that you can make it with goats milk, however I would add two more drops of rennet at the start.

      It would taste great, and have the added flavour from lipase found naturally in goats milk.

  3. I have made cream cheese once but I fussed with it to much and squeezed out to much liquid. If I was thinking I could have stirred some whey back in, but the taste was great regardless. Thank you for sharing your recipe, I made mind with an already mixed packet.

    1. The addition of a little whey or even some light cream would have helped in this case.

  4. Wow, I had no idea cream cheese was that easy. I will definitely try this when I'm allowed to have cheese again. Question - can/do you feed the whey to your chooks? And how long will the cream cheese last in the fridge, if we don't hog down the whole lot out of enthusiasm?

    1. Hi Dawn. Yes, you can feed the whey to the chooks, and I also feed it to my tomato plants. It has lots of nutrients and assists in slightly raising soil acidity which tomatoes thrive in.

      This cream cheese will last about two weeks stored in the refrigerator.