Cream Cheese is an easy and fast cheese that is good for beginners, and will be familiar to anyone with experience in chevre, creme fraiche, fromage blanc, mascarpone, or even yogurt. It is an acid coagulated cheese with a small addition of rennet to help with firmness. The thickness of the cheese can be changed according to your desire by adjusting the milk/cream ratio. Use of only Half & Half gives a much softer spread than commercial cream cheese, while adding cream or using only cream will create a firmer paste.
1 quart Half & Half (not ultrapasteurized)
1 cup Whipping Cream (not ultapasteurized)
1/4 tsp. Mesophillic Aroma B Culture
1/4 tsp. Calcium Chloride, dissolved in a tablespoon of non-chlorinated water
1/16 tsp Rennet, dissolved in 1/4 cup non-chlorinated water
1 to 2 tsp. Salt
Sanitized Kitchen Pot of non reactive metal (at least 2 quarts with lid)
Optional but recommended: Sous Vide Immersion Heater/Circulator provides an ideal heat source. Click for discussion.
Cheesecloth for Cheese
Note: The colander needs to set atop a pot for draining and be sealed by a lid or plastic wrap.
Pour the Half & Half and Whipping Cream into a sanitized pot on the stove. Turn on the burner to a very low heat and begin bringing the temperature up to 90 degrees F.
Add the calcium chloride. Stir in with 20 top/bottom strokes.
Sprinkle the Aroma B Culture on top of the milk. Allow this to hydrate for a couple of minutes. Stir into the milk with 20 top/bottom strokes.
When the temperature approaches 89 or 90 degrees, turn off the heat and stir. Add the rennet diluted in water. Stir for no more than 1 minute.
Place the opt in a warm area where it will not drop below 70 degrees and allow it to set for 12 to 24 hours.(Note: an oven with the light on is a good environment.) When the consistency is quite firm and yellow liquid whey appears on top of the curd, proceed with the next step.
Prepare to drain the cheese by placing a sanitized cheesecloth into the colander, and setting the colander atop a draining pot or bowl. Gently scoop or pour the curd into the colander. Cover the colander with a lid or plastic wrap and place it into the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.
When the cheese drains to a desired consistency, remove it from the colander to a Tupperware dish and stir in salt and/or flavorings to taste. Store in the refrigerator and enjoy!
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