Thursday, September 2, 2010

Home-Made Cream Cheese

I decided to try my hand at making my own cream cheese since I needed the whey that is a by-product of the process to make sauerkraut.  I have to say that both the cream cheese AND the sauerkraut were delicious!

It's really so easy.  Well, except for the first step!  Which is, finding anything but low fat buttermilk!  (Fortunately, I have since found a couple of places that carry whole buttermilk and also raw milk. Yay!) 

I was determined to make the cream cheese, so I used the low fat buttermilk anyway.  The result was very tasty, even if not as good as it will be in the future, when I use the whole buttermilk.

Step 1: 
I placed a colander over a glass bowl to collect the whey.  I placed several layers of cheesecloth in the colander and poured the quart of butter milk into the cheesecloth.  I covered it with another layer of cheesecloth to keep out any critters that might happen by.  I let this sit overnight on the counter.

Step 2:
First thing next morning, I tied the "cheese" loosely in the cheescloth and hung it on a wooden spoon over the colander.  This was to allow every last bit of whey to drip out.  This sat all day on the counter.

Step 3:
In the evening, I untied the bundle of cheesecloth and scraped the cream cheese into a dish.  This was the second hardest part of the process.  It really wanted to stick to the cheesecloth, and I wanted every last bit of it!

Step 4:
Collect all that wonderful whey and place in a glass mason jar in the refrigerator.  It will keep for a month or so.  I've already used most of it for sauerkraut!

Finished Cream Cheese
Below, is the finished cream cheese.  We have had it plain and mixed with fresh thyme and dill from the herb garden.  Delish! 

I really think you should give this a try!  It was easy, fun and I think kids would enjoy the process.  The real benefit is that you get something yummy with no undesireable ingredients!