I had never made Cheesecake till last week. Can you believe it? I love baking and have tried all kinds of things, but for some reason, the thought of making a cheesecake from scratch always gave me cold feet. Its ridiculous isn’t it?
But sometimes these things happen, where for some indescribable, strange reason you can’t bring yourself to do something. Even though you know its easy, and you know you can. And then the day you attempt it, you realize that there was nothing to fear. It almost came naturally.
Well the same thing happened to me last week. It all started with me attempting to make cream cheese from scratch. In fact that’s what I’m going to share with you today. But let me finish my cheesecake story first.
So I tried making cream cheese, multiple times of course, and every time with great success. At the end of all my experiments, I had a big bowl of cream cheese waiting to be used. I spread it on toast, had some with pita dipped in Olive Oil (mmm, I still can’t get over it) and even spread it on plums and apples (before you call me crazy, try it and you’ll be amazed). But there was still lots of cream cheese left. Naturally, you’d think of cheesecake. I did too. But ahem, it was like a monster sitting in the cupboard.
I turned to my friend Aditi. I like to call her The Cheesecake Queen. She has flooded my Instagram feed on many occasions with, you guessed it – Cheesecake and I will never forgive her for it. But she came through. Her recipe was a hit. I fed it to friends and they loved it! Light, creamy, tart and more – just the way a good cheesecake should be. By the way, no more cheesecake fears. In fact I have another batch of cream cheese in the making, for some more Cheesecake.
I know I’ve gone on and on about the end product, but before that, let’s try some Homemade Cream Cheese. The wonder of this recipe is that there’s no cooking required, and the result is a great cream cheese substitute which cannot be differentiated from the regular Philly variety. The process is similar to making Labneh and slightly long, but give it a try.
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Homemade Cream Cheese
- 1 Kg Yogurt (I used commercially available curds)
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- layers of Muslin or Cheesecloth
- Place the muslin over a colander or sieve large enough to hold all the yogurt. Pour yogurt into the lined colander. You will notice a whitish liquid dripping out. This is called Whey.
- Bring up the sides of the cloth, and tie tightly with a string to form a sort of a bag. Tie the string around a wooden spoon and place it in a deep bowl in such a way that the spoon is resting across the bowl and the bottom of the bag does not touch the bowl. This leaves space for the whey to drip into the bowl.
- Place this apparatus in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Keep checking every few hours to remove any whey that may have collected. The idea is to ensure that the bag does not get submerged in the whey. Do not discard the whey, which is quite useful. For starters, it can be used instead of water to knead dough.
- Once 24 hours are up, remove the bag and untie it. The yogurt should have thickened up considerably and should start to look like cream cheese. Transfer this to a bowl and add salt. Mix well.
- Take the same cloth and line a bowl with it. Transfer cream cheese to the lined bowl, and wrap with cloth on top to cover the cheese. Place a heavy weight on top of this. You could use a heavy plate, or another bowl filled with water. Leave this in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
- After 2 days remove, unwrap and Voila, your cream cheese is ready!
- Makes 2 Cups.