Cream Cheese Experiments

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Well, it happens to all small farmers at some point or another, and we all deal with it in different ways. That’s right, my friends.

I am out of milk jars.

As I said, we all grieve in our own way. But today, I’m turning my pain into joy by making sweet, delicious cream cheese. I have a fabulous Flora Danica culture, two gallons of rich yellow cream, and am ready to go!

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I’ve never made cream cheese this way before (hence the title), but I think it will work and will get my jars back to me in the shortest possible time.

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I’ve poured just about an eighth of a teaspoon of Flora Danica in each jar. It’s probably more than I need, but it won’t take as long either. Next, I’m going to place a metal lid (Remember! The plastic lids are NOT liquid tight!) on each jar and shake it well.

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Now all of my jars have culture in them, and I’ve carefully unscrewed the lids and put them inside my dehydrator, with the thermostat set to 95F.

I know that some people like to use their dehydrators at night, and that is a good idea…especially when the weather is warm. But the disadvantage to doing it that way is that you can’t check on your cultures or move things around, unless you’re willing to get up in the middle of the night to do it.

I like to rotate the jars in my dehydrator, about every three hours. It heats reasonably evenly, but I still think I get better results and thicker yogurt/sour cream/creme fraiche/whatever when I move them around and shake them occasionally.

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After 24 hours in my dehydrator, my cream is thick, rich, and pleasantly sour. Flora Danica has such a great flavor…it’s so mild and yet, it’s definitely cheesy. Next, I will pour out my soured cream into a strainer, lined with several layers of cheesecloth and placed in a big stock pot. Once it has drained a bit, I will hang it from the faucet and let it drain. Hanging it up helps cheese drain much more efficiently, but it’s too heavy to do it right away.

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I should note that although I have two gallons of cultured cream here, I’m only draining one at a time. The other gallon is going to be turned into cultured butter, but you could also stick it in the fridge until your first batch is finished draining. The cold will slow down the culturing enough that the flavor won’t be noticeably different. Don’t try this with any cheese that requires rennet, however.

My cream cheese was not finished draining by the time I needed to go to bed, so I changed the cheesecloth and flipped it over, then hung it back up. This will help keep it fresh and sweet, since the cheesecloth hangs on to a lot of bacteria.

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Finished! I add a little salt to my cream cheese, give it a good stir, and might hang it again in fresh cheesecloth, or press it. But my experiment worked and my cream cheese is delicious! Go ahead and try this one at home!

Happy culturing!

Stacie

Stacie

Stacie has been making kefir, kombucha, yogurt, sauerkraut and cheese for eight years. She lives with her husband, four children, parents and livestock on a small farm in Oregon. Stacie's goals for her farm include healthy pasture, delicious vegetables, self-sufficiency, happy humans, and an intact sense of humor.

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