Cream Cheese: Not Just For Bagels…(And No Pillowcase Cheese Yet)

April 28, 2010 at 8:02 am

My birthday is coming up and I’ve been dropping hints to my loved ones about getting me a cheese press.  I can start making hard cheeses, but until then, we will continue our journey through soft, fresh cheeses.

And I wanted to take a moment to tell you about a cheese disaster I had earlier this week. My friend Lisa told me about her mom’s “Pillowcase Cheese” – a Jordanian specialty that I’m sure is not really called “Pillowcase Cheese”. We had a conference call between Lisa, her mom, and myself that did not translate well. Maybe it was the confusion in terminology; Lisa’s mom  said add 4 “pills”.  Maybe that means rennet tablets, but that’s a lot of rennet. Then she said add 16 oz of yogurt instead, and though she told me to use a pillowcase (make sure it’s clean), I was not so sure since I did not have a clean one and thought that I could use butter muslin instead. Whatever happened it was a soupy mess of goat’s milk and yogurt. I did taste it though…it was awful.  I’m going to talk to Lisa’s mom again and try to figure out what I did wrong. I will make “Pillowcase Cheese” for you soon!

I just wanted to share that to let you know that cheese making is a learning process, and while I don’t recommend getting your cheese recipes over the phone from a really nice lady with a thick accent, I do recommend that you try to make all kinds of cheese.  You may find a new favorite!

Now onto a successful story.

cream cheese

Cream cheese is one of those common cheeses that we all think you just buy at the store. It’s not quite as exotic as Mozzarella and not as fancy as Lemon Sage Cheese, but it is an essential ingredient in cheesecake and that’s enough for me.

For this cheese you’ll need:

1 packet of mesophilic starter

1 gallon of cow’s milk (not ultra pasteurized)

Pour the milk in your favorite cheese making pot and bring it up to room temperature (72 degrees). Stir in the starter and cover. Put on the top of your ‘fridge or on a high shelf. It’s usually warmest up there.  If you have drafty windows like me the wind won’t affect the temperature way up there. Leave up there for 12 hours. After the wait, scoop out the cheese into a butter muslin lined colander. Gather the ends of the cloth and tie a knot. Hang the cheese, using your favorite method and let drain for another 12 hours. At the end of 12 hours, scrape out the cheese and store in an airtight container. Enjoy!

And now for a ‘not just for cheesecake’ cream cheese recipe!

Using the ratio 1:1.5 (cream cheese: frozen and slightly thawed fruit) mix some of your cream cheese and your choice of fruit in a food processor. If you making a lot you may have to do it batches. Sprinkle in some sugar to sweeten if you desire.  Process until it’s the consistency you want.

Tada! A not quite sorbet! This sort-of ice cream is super refreshing and really delicious. The creaminess of the cheese and the sweetness of the fruit make it a wonderful after dinner scoop without a lot of effort.

If you’re starting with whole fruit just cut it up into small chunks, spread out on a sheet pan and freeze overnight. Let it sit out for 10 minutes before starting.

I have made an orange-lemon combo and I made it with pomegranates. With the pomegranates, the taste was delicious, I couldn’t get over the seeds, although my husband didn’t even notice.

I can eat ice cream in any weather, some people only like it when it’s hot outside…don’t worry, it’s getting warmer soon so you won’t have to wait long to try this!




One Comment

  1. Lynn Herrera says:

    Cheese press huh? Sounds good to me!

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