Creole Cream Cheese

Success with this recipe requires that all containers and utensils, as well as the work surface, be immaculately clean. The liquid form of rennet (the enzyme that curdles the milk) is preferred because its shelf life in the refrigerator is longer than the dry tablet form.

  • 2 quarts skim milk, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 12 drops liquid rennet, or 1/4 tablet dry rennet
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • Fresh fruit, such as strawberries, blueberries or peaches
Pour milk into a completely sanitary, 3- to 4-quart container, preferably a stainless steel one. Cover milk and place it in the warmest spot in your kitchen, until it reaches a temperature level between 70 - 80 degrees F. The milk may be heated slowly on the stove on very low heat, but do not allow its temperature exceed 80 degrees F.

When milk reaches the correct temperature, pour the buttermilk into a small bowl and add the liquid rennet, or, if you are using dry rennet, dissolve the 1/4 tablet in the buttermilk. Pour buttermilk in with skim milk. Stir mixture well and set it aside, covered with cheesecloth, to allow the liquid to form solid, but very soft, curds. The container should not be placed near heat or directly exposed to an airflow. The cheese should form curds in 24 to 36 hours.

When the curds are formed, line a large strainer or colander with cheesecloth and pour the curds into the cloth. Place the strainer or colander over a bowl to hold the watery whey as it drains from the curds. When the curds no longer drip water, the cream cheese is ready to be chilled in the refrigerator.

Serve the chilled cream cheese in bowls alongside a sugar bowl and a small pitcher of half-and-half. Pour about 4 tablespoons of half-and-half over each serving. Fresh fruit such as strawberries or blueberries may be added as well. Refrigerated Creole cream cheese will keep for about 10 days.