Sometimes, there’s truly nothing better than starting your day with a bagel. Especially a homemade one. But you can make that morning meal even better by DIYing your cream cheese, too. It’s easy to pull off, so long as you plan ahead — the recipe below needs to sit overnight, so you can whip it up and enjoy the next day.
Homemade Cream Cheese
What You Need
1. In a clean, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the cream, milk and salt on medium heat, stirring gently but constantly to discourage scorching. Heat until the mixture registers 180 F on an instant-read thermometer. The mixture will not come to a boil, but you may see some gentle bubbling.
2. Once it reaches 180 F, remove the mixture from heat and let it rest for 5 minutes. Add ¼ cup of vinegar and stir gently, just to combine. Taste the mixture: if it’s not as tangy as you’d like, add a bit more vinegar. If you prefer it saltier, add more salt.
3. Cover the mixture with a towel and let it rest at room temperature for at least 8 hours or overnight. When uncovered, you’ll see some separation occurring: a thick curd layer on top and a thin, watery liquid whey underneath. This is normal.
4. Place a cheesecloth or cloth in a bowl and pour the mixture on top. Gather the edges of the cloth to form a pouch.
Pro Tip: You want to suspend the cheesecloth so it can drip excess liquid into a vessel. You can use masking tape to secure the top of the bundle to the side of a bowl, allowing the liquid to drip down.
5. Leave the mixture to drain for several hours or overnight. Keep monitoring the mixture: when it has stopped dripping whey and feels firm, you can remove it from its pouch. Now it’s ready to spread!