Easy Cream Cheese

2 Quarts  light cream
1⁄4 teaspoon calcium chloride diluted in 1⁄4 cup cool, nonchlorinated water
1 packet direct-set mesophilic starter culture
Cheese salt

Heat the cream to 86 degrees. Add the calcium chloride solution and stir well to combine. Sprinkle the starter over the surface of the milk, wait 2 minutes for the powder to rehydrate, then stir.

Cover and let set at 86 degrees for 8–12 hours, until a solid curd forms.

Gently ladle the curds into a colander lined with butter muslin. Tie the ­corners of the muslin into a knot and hang the bag to drain at 72–86 degrees for 8–12 hours, or until the cheese reaches your desired consistency.

Place the cheese in a bowl and add the salt and herbs to taste, if using.

Pack the cheese into small molds and place in the refrigerator until firm, usually a few hours. Store in the refrigerator wrapped for up to 2 weeks.

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