Cream cheese is a soft, usually mild-tasting fresh cheese.
It is made either with cream or with a mixture of milk and cream.
Cream cheese is different from other cheese in that it is not allowed time to mature.
It is nearly white in color and has a mild but rich taste.
Sometimes it is given extra flavor by adding additional seasonings such as puréed garlic, chopped dill, or chopped olives – as well, some cream cheese has small pieces of fruit or other sweet food blended into it.
Recipes for cream cheese can be found in U.S. cookbooks and newspapers beginning in the mid-18th century.
Cream cheese was produced on family farms throughout the country, so quantities made and distributed were typically small.
Modern commercial American cream cheese was developed in 1872, when William Lawrence, from Chester, New York, while looking for a way to recreate the soft, French cheese Neufchâtel, accidentally came up with a way of making an “unripened cheese” that is heavier and creamier – other dairymen came up with similar creations independently.
In 1880, Lawrence began distributing his cream cheese in foil wrappers under the auspices of the Empire Cheese Company of South Edmeston, New York, where he manufactured the product. However, you might know it better by the more famous name Lawrence came up with for his cream cheese — Philadelphia Cream Cheese. The name was a part of a marketing strategy to associate the product with the high-quality food and dairy farming for which the Philadelphia area was known at the time.
In 1903, the Phoenix Cheese Company bought Lawrence’s business — and with it, the Philadelphia trademark. In 1928, the brand was bought by the Kraft Cheese Company.
Under the ownership of Kraft Heinz, in the 21st century Philadelphia Cream Cheese continued to be manufactured in a factory in Lowville, New York, and the people of Lowville organized an annual Cream Cheese Festival to celebrate their local product.
Cream cheese became popular in the Jewish cuisine of New York City, where it is commonly known as a “schmear”.
Cream cheese can be used for many purposes in sweet and savoury cookery.
Cream cheese can be mixed with other ingredients, such as yogurt or pepper jelly, to make spreads.
It is also used to thicken sauces and make them creamy.
Mascarpone is an Italian cream cheese. It is one of the most famous cream cheese varieties. This cream cheese originated during the Middle Ages in Lombardy, a region in the northern part of Italy with a rich dairy and agricultural heritage. Mascarpone is one of the main ingredients in the modern Italian dessert known as tiramisu.
American cream cheese tends to have lower fat content than elsewhere.
Cream cheese is easy to make at home, and many methods and recipes are used.
It has a relatively short life even when refrigerated.