Look at this stuff! I am seriously never buying cream cheese again. How is it that it’s so easy — and so cheap — to make it at home, and I’ve never tried it until now?
The texture is wonderful. It’s thick (but light!) and creamy, and it’s perfectly spreadable. And did I mention cheap? This recipe yields 1 cup of cream cheese, and the ingredients cost me 5 shekels. Buying the same amount of ready-made cream cheese would cost 12 shekels. Big savings, guys.
Ready to start? You’ll need two containers (200 ml each) of 15% shamenet chamutza. The American equivalent would be sour cream, but since I haven’t tried this with American products, I can’t promise you the same results. (If you’ve tried it in the States or elsewhere, please leave a comment!)
Mix ¼ tsp salt into each container. Sure, you could spoon them both into a bowl and then mix in a half-teaspoon. But why dirty an extra bowl, right? Right.
Now you need a cloth. You can use a cheesecloth, but a thin burping cloth is actually an awesome substitute. I know that sounds bad, but as long as you use a new cloth and designate it for the kitchen, you’re totally fine.
Scoop the shamenet out into your waiting cloth. It doesn’t look too pretty yet, but don’t worry. It’s going to get better.
Bring the ends together and tie the cloth to a faucet. The idea is that the liquid will drip out and drain into the sink, but you could also tie it somewhere else and just place a bowl underneath. About ¼ cup of liquid will drain out, so we’re not talking buckets here.
Leave it like that overnight, or for about 8 hours. I was worried about spoilage (who leaves sour cream out overnight??), so the fact that the kitchen was cool made me feel better. And when I opened it up eight and a half hours later, it looked like…
…that! Cream cheese! Woah!
At that point, I stuck the whole thing in the fridge until I was ready to check it out for real. Then I scooped it into a container and smushed it around with a fork. The texture was unreal…I might have said something about that already.
And the taste? Awesome. Because it tastes like cream cheese! And you made it! With virtually no effort!
It’s ready to be used at this point, so if you prefer plain cream cheese, you’re all set. But if you like a little flavoring, the possibilities are basically infinite. Come back soon and I’ll show you one of my favorites.
One year ago: almond supermodels
Yield: About 1 cup
- 400 ml 15% shamenet chamutza (Israeli sour cream)*
- ½ tsp salt
* You can also use 9% sour cream. If a bit of liquid pools at the bottom of your container, just stir before serving.
You will also need:
- 1 cheesecloth (a thin burping cloth works perfectly)
1. Mix salt into shamenet chamutza. Scoop into the cloth, bring the ends together, and tie it over a faucet. Leave it to drain overnight, or for about 8 hours. Fridge method: You can also tie the cloth onto the handle of a pitcher and let it drain in the fridge for the same amount of time.
2. Transfer your now-finished cream cheese from the cloth to a container and smush it around with a fork to break it up a bit. Flavor as desired (or leave plain). Keeps well (in the fridge, in a sealed container) for one week.