How to Make Cream Cheese

Crystal Miller


Cream cheese is an excellent first cheese to make.  This is my second year of cream cheese making and my results seem to be getting better and better all the time.  Any cheese product, including yogurt, is a cultured milk product.  You will need to purchase a culture to make this recipe. 


There are two different ways to obtain the culture.  The first is to use cultured buttermilk.  This is how I first started doing it.  I would buy the buttermilk culture and make buttermilk, also an easy process.  But it does take time so you need allow a day or so to make this. 


The other option and what I do now and what I personally recommend is to buy culture that you add directly to your milk. These are called, “Direct Set Cultures”.  I like this because I can decide to make cream cheese and not have to wait for my buttermilk to culture. 


I buy these cultures from Leeners . They have good prices and are super to do business with.  The type of culture needed for this cheese is called, Mesophilic-M. You can find this culture on this page:  .  You don’t need a lot: ¼ of a teaspoon will culture 1 gallon of milk.  You will also need to purchase liquid rennet for my recipe.  Rennet is used to set the cultured milk.  You can find the rennet here:


There are a few other miscellaneous, but important items you will need.  One is a thermometer that is easy to read.  You can purchase these at the grocery store in the cooking aisle or at a store such as Wal-Mart. 


The other item you need is cheesecloth.  When I first started I searched high and low for cheese cloth.  I paid quite a bit for it at the fabric store when I found it.  Later I learned that I don’t actually need cheesecloth and that it is not really even the best material for the job. The very best material to use to drain your cream cheese is simply an old pillow case.  You can call this stuff “case cloth”!  I took an old pillow case and opened it up.  I washed it with hot, soapy, bleach water to clean and disinfect it.  This works great and will last you a long time. 


You will also need a strong string to hang the cheese.  Again I found through some trial and error that old shoestrings work the best.  I washed the shoestrings right along with the pillow case in the hot, soapy bleach water before I used them. 



Crystal’s Cream Cheese

Crystal Miller


1 gallon goat’s milk (store bought cows milk will work too!)

¼ t. direct set mesophilic-m culture

2 T diluted rennet (add 1 drop of rennet to 5 T cool water)


In a large pot (I use a 6qt) add goat’s milk.  Heat your milk to 80 degrees.  Remove from heat and add the mesophilic-m culture and stir will.  Add the rennet and stir.  Cover the pan and let sit undisturbed at room temp for 12 to 18 hours. 


After your time is up what you have in the pot should look like very thick yogurt.  Now you will drain and drip your cheese. 


Line a colander with your clean pillow case.  I set this colander in a large bowl to catch the whey.  Now drain your thick yogurt looking cheese into this cloth.  Gather up the cloth and tie it tightly.  Now you need to hang it somewhere.  I have handles on my kitchen cupboard that work perfect for this.  Whatever you hang it make sure it is up high enough to allow the whey to drip through the cloth into a bowl below.  Now let your cream cheese drain for about 6 to 8 hours.  You can speed this process along by stirring your cream cheese up about halfway through the time and you can do it again if you need to. 


When it is completed what you have left in the pillow case is your cream cheese!  You can salt it a bit or not, that is up to you.  It is ready to be used right away over a homemade bagel or you can use it for cooking or even cheesecake! 


The whey can be used for cooking.  I use it as the liquid to make bread or in pancakes.  I also use the whey in making fermented vegetables (but that is a whole different article! ~smile~) 


Happy Cream Cheese Making!!!  




In The Kitchen


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