In most American households, some of the popular spreads for bread you’ll see chilling in their fridges or tables are peanut butter, hummus, avocado, and cream cheese. Yes, you read it right – cream cheese! While many people like to use this fresh and mild-tasting cheese to whip up dips, sauces, and desserts, it also goes perfectly on bread as a spread, especially those bagels in the morning. Its sweet flavor with that slight tang helped make numerous dishes even more delicious.
You’ve probably heard of cheesecakes if you haven’t heard of cream cheese. As it is among the most popular desserts worldwide, it’s vital to know how to soften cream cheese, among other things, to bake the perfect cheesecake. It’s also one of the main ingredients in famous dips such as Jalapeño popper spread and Florentine artichoke dip. See how versatile this cheese is?
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The History of Cream Cheese
As we came to know it now, Cream cheese is said to be a product created by accident when American dairyman William Lawrence tried recreating the French cheese called Neufchâtel. One of the oldest types of cheese found in Normandy, France dating back to the 6th century, Neufchâtel is a soft and crumbly cheese similar to cream cheese. It’s probably because the New York dairyman unsuccessfully tried replicating the former and developed a more decadent cheese when he added cream to the process, calling the product “cream cheese.” In 1873, Lawrence began mass-producing cream cheese. Since then, the cheese product has become a staple ingredient in numerous dishes worldwide.
Is It Cream or Cheese?
One of the questions that may circle your mind whenever you hear cream cheese is: is it cream or cheese?
Well, this soft and mild-tasting cheese is cheese! It’s different from other types of soft cheeses, though, because it’s not allowed to mature. Cream cheese, made with either cream or a mixture of cream and milk, is white, and stabilizers are added during the manufacturing process to add some firmness to the finished product. It is produced to be consumed fresh by people. It has a mild and rich taste, especially when given extra seasonings such as fruits or olives for that extra kick of flavor.
Are There Different Types of Cream Cheese?
There may have been only one primary type and form of cream cheese back in 1872. But today, this cheese product comes in many forms and flavors. People have various choices for this tasty cheese, spread from its traditional-looking brick style to soft or whipped cream cheese tubs.
Aside from forms, cream cheese now comes in numerous flavors. You can pick plain cream cheese with regular, light, and fat-free versions and flavored ones such as strawberry, chocolate, honey walnut, etc. You can choose to add other ingredients to give your cream cheese dip that sweet, tangy, or sharp flavor that you want.
If you’ll be using cream cheese for baking, it’s better to get one in the brick form. Since cream cheese will be used as an ingredient, it’s best to use the brick instead of the tub because it softens faster and it’s easier to measure compared to the latter. On the other hand, the tub may not give you the results you’re looking for in baked goodies, but it is suitable as a spread for bread, especially bagels.
Exciting Things About Cream Cheese
There are bizarre cream cheese flavors
Did you know that besides the traditional plain cream cheese, there are bizarre flavored cream cheeses you can find in the market today? Vanilla and strawberry may have been fine as a flavor, but would anyone go for spicy jalapeño or caviar cream cheese? Others might even add ingredients such as cranberries, scallions, and others that sound unappetizing but tastes savory for some people.
There are various uses of cream cheese in dishes
Did you know that cream cheese is not only used to spread and for baking? You can use cream cheese to whip up a batch of pasta and chicken dishes, mashed potatoes, casseroles, etc.
You can make cream cheese at home!
You read it right – you can make your own at home! Prepare ingredients such as milk, cream, salt, and acid like lemon juice. Add the acid and salt to the milk and cream, then strain the mixture once it thickens. It will leave you with the curds. You can then put the curds in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Easy, isn’t it?
The popularity of cream cheese continues to grow because of its versatility. Cream cheese is a vital ingredient from baking and frosting to dips and dishes. Now, you know that it is not only used as a spread. Spruce up your dips and dishes by using cream cheese today!