How to Make your Own Delicious Cream Cheese at Home
Who knew making your own cream cheese at home was this easy? This recipe makes a lovely, semi- firm cream cheese with a ‘free form’ that will be the centrepiece of any snack platter. Give it that personal touch by adding pretty ‘lining’ and interesting flavour combinations. The recipe works well as a base and can be customised with any flavours you choose, use your imagination and be as creative as possible!
Basic Cream Cheese
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Developing/Hanging time: 5 days
2 C (500 ml) live culture full-cream / Greek yoghurt
1 C (250 ml) fresh cream (optional)
1 tsp (5 ml) salt
(if you are adding cream, add an additional ½ tsp (2.5 ml) salt)
Line a sieve with a clean muslin cloth. Don’t use a cotton dishtowel as it is too thick and won’t allow the yoghurt to render liquid. Cut a clean muslin cloth cut into a 25-cm square (you will need one square per 250 ml cheese) and line a sieve with it.
To make the cheese, mix the yoghurt, cream (if using) and salt together. Fold in any other chopped ingredients or pulp that you may using (see Variations below).
Line the muslin cloth with your chosen ‘lining’, such as tomato peel ‘petals’, herb leaves, thinly sliced biltong or smoked salmon. You could also sprinkle the muslin cloth with spices, cocoa powder, powdered biltong or seeds and chopped nuts in a pretty pattern.
Now carefully scoop the cheese mixture into the cloth lining.
Pull up the sides and tie the ends with string and secure it to a hanging-stick, such as a wooden skewer or a chopstick, to fit over an empty yoghurt container or a tall glass canister with a wide brim. The cheese ball needs to hang free from the sides and at least 3 cm from the bottom of the container.
Place in the refrigerator for five days.
Before serving, carefully untie the string and pull the cloth away from the cheese to reveal your beautiful creation! Serve with a selection of breads and crackers, as an accompaniment to fresh crudités or with poached eggs and smoked salmon.
Goat’s Cheese & Peppercorns
Add 100 g goat’s cheese for a mild goat’s cheese flavour and a few Madagascan green peppercorns.
Sun-dried Tomatoes & Pesto
Line the muslin cloth with tomato peel ‘petals’ or a smear of basil pesto and add balsamic-roasted sun-dried tomatoes to the cheese to make a delicious starter.
Chocolate, Blueberries & Honey
Add grated good-quality chocolate, blueberries and honey to the cream cheese to make a wonderful, not-so-sweet dessert.