I love cream cheese and could use it with everything. The problem is that it is quite expensive. I got this method from my mother-in-law and it is so easy and makes the most amazing cream cheese.
This method calls for maas. Maas (also known as amasi) is a local diary drink made from fermented milk. For me it falls somewhere between yogurt and cottage cheese, but has a much more tart flavour. Almost like yogurt that has been left to culture for a very long time. It is thick and a bit lumpy. I have seen some websites comparing it to kefir, but I wouldn't know as I have never seen or tasted kefir.
Very simply, pour your maas into a clean dishcloth that has been placed into a colander or sieve, and allow it to drain over a container overnight.
The next morning you will have something that looks like this, drained maas:
I weighed it so that I can do a costing analysis, which I have done at the end of the post
Mix it up and you get this lovely thick creamy cheese. It also seems to loose a lot of the tart flavour, I can only imagine that the tartness is in the whey.
Add what ever ingredients you like in your cream cheese such as chives, garlic, pepper, chillies, anything really. Use it in cooking, baking or just as a dip or spread. Yummy!
Maas: R18 for 2 litres
I used 1 litre and it made 292 grams of cheese, so that cost R9.
At shops I pay about R16 for 250 grams of cottage cheese or about R25 for 250 grams of cream cheese.
Conclusion: Definitely worth it! And it even tastes better!
I had to do an update to this post today because last night I made the second litre of maas into cream cheese. I looked like quite a bit more than the first litre so I think I got the measurement wrong last time, I didn't actually measure, I just poured until it looked like 1 litre was out the jug.
Anyway, when I weighed my cream cheese this morning it came to 540g!!!
So my 2 litres of maas has made me over 800 grams of cream cheese. And for R18, what a saving!!!