Homemade Cream Cheese From Milk Powder! The Easiest Way!

by Ella

Cream cheese, a versatile and luscious dairy product, finds its way into countless recipes, from classic cheesecakes to savory spreads. While store-bought cream cheese is readily available, there’s a certain satisfaction in creating your own at home. In this comprehensive guide, we explore the step-by-step process of making cream cheese using powdered milk. From understanding the ingredients to mastering the techniques, embark on a journey to create a velvety, homemade cream cheese that rivals its commercial counterparts.

The Science Behind Cheese-Making

Cheese-making is a fascinating blend of science and art, involving a series of chemical and microbial transformations that turn liquid milk into a diverse array of solid, flavorful cheeses. Understanding the science behind cheese-making is crucial for achieving consistent and delicious results. Let’s explore the key scientific principles involved in this intricate process:


1. Milk Composition:


Cheese-making begins with milk, a complex mixture of water, proteins, fats, lactose (milk sugar), minerals, and vitamins. The type of cheese produced depends largely on the source of milk, whether it’s cow, goat, sheep, or even buffalo milk. The specific composition of the milk influences the texture and flavor of the final cheese.


2. Coagulation:


The first critical step in cheese-making is coagulation, the process of transforming liquid milk into a gel-like substance known as curd. This is achieved by introducing coagulating agents, such as rennet or acid. Rennet contains enzymes that selectively cut the bonds between casein proteins, causing them to aggregate and form a network that traps fat and water.

3. Curds and Whey:

The curd is the solid part of the coagulated milk, while the liquid portion is called whey. The size and texture of the curds play a significant role in determining the final characteristics of the cheese. Gentle stirring or cutting of the curds helps control their size, affecting the cheese’s moisture content and texture.

4. pH and Acidity:

The addition of starter cultures, typically bacteria like Lactococcus or Lactobacillus, initiates the fermentation process. These bacteria convert lactose into lactic acid, lowering the pH of the milk. The controlled development of acidity is crucial for curd formation, flavor development, and inhibiting the growth of undesirable microorganisms.

5. Ripening and Aging:

After draining the whey, the curds are often pressed into molds to shape the cheese. The next phase involves ripening or aging, during which enzymes and microbes continue to work on the cheese, developing its flavor and texture. Different cheeses undergo varying ripening periods and conditions, leading to a wide spectrum of tastes and textures.

6. Microbial Cultures:

The choice of microbial cultures significantly influences the characteristics of the cheese. Mesophilic cultures thrive at lower temperatures, producing milder flavors, while thermophilic cultures perform well at higher temperatures, contributing to the development of robust, complex flavors.

7. Proteolysis and Lipolysis:

During aging, enzymes break down proteins (proteolysis) and fats (lipolysis) in the cheese. This process contributes to the creation of volatile compounds responsible for the cheese’s aroma and flavor. The balance between proteolysis and lipolysis influences the texture and taste of the final product.

8. Temperature Control:

Controlling temperature is critical at various stages of cheese-making. Specific temperatures are maintained during coagulation, curd cutting, and fermentation to ensure the proper development of curds, flavor, and texture. Temperature also influences the activity of enzymes and microbes during aging.

9. Moisture Content:

The amount of whey removed during cheese-making affects the final moisture content of the cheese. Soft cheeses retain more moisture, resulting in a creamy texture, while hard cheeses have less moisture, leading to a firmer consistency.

Making cream cheese with powdered milk

Making cream cheese with powdered milk is a straightforward process that allows you to enjoy the rich and creamy goodness of homemade cream cheese. Follow these step-by-step instructions to craft your own batch:
Course: Dessert


  • Large stainless steel pot
  • Thermometer
  • Whisk or spoon
  • Cheese cloth or muslin cloth
  • Colander
  • Cheese mold (optional)
  • Cheese press (optional)


  • 4 cups of powdered milk
  • 4 cups of lukewarm water
  • Mesophilic or thermophilic starter culture
  • Rennet
  • Salt (non-iodized)
  • Pure, filtered water


1. Rehydrating the Powdered Milk:

  • In a large pot, combine 4 cups of powdered milk with 4 cups of lukewarm water.
  • Whisk the mixture until the powdered milk is fully dissolved.
  • Allow the mixture to rest for a few minutes to ensure complete hydration.

2. Heating the Milk:

  • Place the pot on the stove over medium heat.
  • Slowly heat the milk to around 86°F (30°C). Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature.
  • Once the milk reaches the desired temperature, remove the pot from the heat.

3. Adding the Starter Culture:

  • Sprinkle the mesophilic or thermophilic starter culture evenly over the surface of the warmed milk.
  • Gently stir the starter culture into the milk using a whisk or spoon.

4. Fermenting the Milk:

  • Cover the pot with a lid and let the milk ferment at the target temperature for the specific culture you're using. This typically ranges from 12 to 24 hours, depending on the culture and desired tanginess.
  • Check for a clean break, where the curd sets and can be cut cleanly.

5. Cutting the Curd:

  • Use a long knife to cut the curd into small cubes. Make vertical and horizontal cuts to form uniform curds.
  • Allow the curds to rest for a few minutes.

6. Cooking the Curds:

  • Gradually heat the curds to around 105°F (40°C) while stirring gently. This helps expel whey and develop the desired texture.
  • Maintain the temperature for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

7. Draining the Whey:

  • Line a colander with cheesecloth or muslin cloth.
  • Transfer the curds to the colander, allowing the whey to drain. Tie the corners of the cloth to create a cheese bag and hang it to drain for several hours or overnight.

8. Shaping and Pressing (Optional):

  • Once drained, transfer the curds to a mixing bowl.
  • Add salt to taste and mix thoroughly.
  • If using a cheese mold, press the curds into the mold and place a weight on top. Alternatively, shape the cream cheese into a log or block.

8. Refrigerating the Cream Cheese:

  • Refrigerate the cream cheese for at least a few hours or overnight to allow it to firm up.

Tips for Making Perfect Cream Cheese with Powdered Milk

Achieving the perfect cream cheese from powdered milk involves attention to detail and adherence to specific techniques. Here are some tips to ensure your homemade cream cheese turns out rich, creamy, and delicious:

Choose High-Quality Powdered Milk:

Start with a high-quality powdered milk to ensure a rich and flavorful cream cheese. Look for brands that have a good reputation for producing dairy products with excellent taste and texture.

Accurate Measurement:

Precision is key in cheese-making. Use accurate measurements for both the powdered milk and water to maintain the right balance and consistency in your cream cheese.

Rehydrate Powdered Milk Properly:

Follow the rehydration instructions on the powdered milk packaging. Generally, mixing the powder with cool water and then gradually adding warm water helps prevent clumps and ensures even rehydration.

Maintain Optimal Temperatures:

Pay close attention to temperature control throughout the process. Use a reliable thermometer to monitor the temperature during rehydration, culturing, and any heating stages. Consistent temperatures contribute to the proper development of flavors and textures.

Choose the Right Starter Culture:

The type of starter culture you use significantly impacts the flavor and texture of the cream cheese. Opt for cultures specifically designed for cream cheese or use a small amount of store-bought cream cheese as a starter. This introduces beneficial bacteria to initiate the fermentation process.

Proper Rennet Usage:

Rennet helps coagulate the milk proteins, forming the curds necessary for cream cheese. Use the appropriate amount of rennet according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Overuse can lead to a firmer texture, while underuse may result in a softer consistency.

Be Patient During Culturing:

Allow the cream cheese to culture at the recommended temperature for the specified duration. Rushing this step can compromise the flavor and texture. Patience is key to achieving a well-developed, tangy taste.

Curds Formation and Cutting:

When cutting the curds, aim for uniformity. This ensures even drainage and contributes to a consistent texture in the final product. Gentle stirring during the cutting phase helps prevent matting of the curds.

Proper Draining and Pressing:

Drain the whey thoroughly from the curds. Use cheesecloth or a fine mesh bag to facilitate drainage. Press the curds gently to achieve the desired creaminess without over-pressing, which can result in a drier texture.

Salt Incorporation:

Add salt to taste after the draining and pressing stages. Salt not only enhances flavor but also acts as a preservative. Start with a small amount and adjust according to your preference.

Customize with Flavors:

Experiment with flavor additions like herbs, spices, or sweeteners during the mixing stage. This allows you to personalize your cream cheese and create unique variations to suit your taste.

Proper Storage:

Store your cream cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This helps maintain freshness and prevents the absorption of other odors from the fridge.

Troubleshooting Tips: Common Issues and Solutions

Even with careful steps, unexpected challenges may arise during the cream cheese-making process. Here are some troubleshooting tips for common issues:

1. Thin or Runny Texture:

Issue: The curds may not have expelled enough whey during cooking.

Solution: Cook the curds for a longer duration to achieve a firmer texture.

2. Lack of Tanginess:

Issue: Insufficient fermentation time.

Solution: Extend the fermentation period to enhance the tanginess of the cream cheese.

3. Unpleasant Odor:

Issue: Contamination during the fermentation process.

Solution: Ensure that all utensils and equipment are thoroughly sanitized before use.

4. Overly Tangy Flavor:

Issue: Prolonged fermentation.

Solution: Reduce the fermentation time for a milder flavor.

5. Inconsistent Texture:

Issue: Uneven cutting of the curds.

Solution: Ensure clean, even cuts when dividing the curds.

Incorporating Flavor Variations:

While the basic cream cheese recipe is delightful on its own, you can enhance its flavor by incorporating various herbs, spices, or other mix-ins. Consider experimenting with ingredients like garlic, chives, dried fruits, or honey to create your unique cream cheese variations.


Making cream cheese with powdered milk is a rewarding endeavor that combines science and art in the kitchen. By understanding the role of each ingredient, mastering the techniques, and troubleshooting common issues, you can create a velvety, homemade cream cheese that adds a touch of sophistication to your culinary creations. Whether spread on a bagel, incorporated into a savory dip, or used as a base for decadent desserts, your handcrafted cream cheese is sure to elevate your home cooking to new heights. Enjoy the process, savor the results, and relish in the satisfaction of creating a dairy delight from scratch.



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