I am completely fond of cooking. I enjoy spending hours in the kitchen coming up with new ways to turn my ingredients into the tastiest meals ever. If it’s a holiday or the weekend, you can bet your bottom dollar that I’m just standing there looking proudly at my cooking arsenal, including my Ceramic Knives, Jelly Roll Pans, and Kitchen Utensil Sets, and trying to figure out a way to combine them together to produce a new meal.
Just like most of the cooking lovers, I have that special ingredient that I like to add to almost all of my recipes for the amazing taste it brings, which is cream cheese. It can be used in a thousand different ways: with sauces to replace egg yolks (and ultimately getting to avoid using my Egglette or Egg Cooker); it would give a great taste if mixed with mustard, herbs, or lemon and add that silky appearance to the sauce. Cookies and cakes can benefit from it as a topping too, so maybe it’s time to include it in your Cake Cookbook and Cookie Cookbook. It works wonders even with sandwiches and Ice Cream!
The thing with cream cheese is that it works with everything so well if, of course, you know how to prepare it correctly. In fact, a necessary skill for working with recipes involving cream cheese is how to soften it. Worry not if you have no prior knowledge about the subject, as five simple and useful ways are here to help you get there.
Use the Microwave for Fast and Easy Cream Cheese Softening:
The Microwave is considered to be the quickest and easiest procedure to soften cream cheese
- A microwave (duh)
- A compatible plate, capable of enduring high temperatures, either glass or ceramic, but no plastic plates. Make sure to use a plate rather than a bowl so you can scrape off the cheese effortlessly. There even designated Cheese Plates if you’re willing to take the extra mile.
- A ceramic knife that you’re going to use to get evenly-sliced cheese pieces that can be softened in an easier manner
First, you need to put the cheese in the microwave then wait for some time before you test it with a fork or one of your Chopsticks to see if it’s soft enough. In case it’s not, put it back in the microwave and wait for another 10 to 20 seconds before testing again.
If you wish to obtain more softness, you can unwrap the cheese and put it in the microwave on high heat for 10 to 20 seconds; then you can apply the fork method and repeat the process until you obtain the needed texture.
You should note that small increments of heating are needed to prevent the melting of cheese and to reach the wanted texture.
If you wish to get fast results, this is your method. You can use your melted cream cheese right away.
Use Lukewarm Water to Soften the Cream Cheese
If you are a patient person that wants to get the best softness of your cream cheese, then make sure to use this method as it delivers slow, yet amazing, results.
- A large bowl filled with warm or lukewarm water (use your Hot Water Dispenser for that). Make sure it’s a ceramic or a glass bowl, as it’s not recommended to utilize a plastic bowl. However, if you decide to resort to a plastic one; make sure that it’s BPA-free.
- A Ziploc bag can be useful in preventing the water from getting to the cheese. Or, you can use a well-closed plastic wrap if you don’t have a Ziploc bag. If the cheese hasn’t’ been opened yet, you can put it directly in the lukewarm water with no need to Ziploc bags.
- Leave the cheese in the water for about 10 minutes.
Make sure the water isn’t too hot because this way it would melt the cheese.
This time, after you take the cheese out of the water, you can check the softness by gently squeezing it. If it’s still solid, try to immerse it back in the water for an extra 5 minutes. You can, also, try to make the water a bit warmer then wait for other 5 minutes. The process can go on for no longer than 20 minutes.
Soften Cream Cheese Using the Room Temperature
This is a time-saving method that is practical for getting your ingredients ready in time.
- You will need no more than a plate along with the cream cheese.
After pulling the cheese out of the Compact Refrigerator, leave it at room temperature for 1.5 to 2 hours. Once 1.5 hours pass, press the cheese to check its softness. If it’s not soft enough, you can add an extra half an hour and then recheck it. You can continue doing this for a maximum of two hours.
Remember that you shouldn’t leave the cream cheese out of the refrigerator for more than 3 hours as it can spoil fast that way.
Very important: set up a reminder so that you don’t forget about it.
Soften the Cheese by Blending It
What you have to do, when it comes to this method, is to cut cheese into evenly- sized pieces and put it in a tilt-head-mixer or a Blender if the first appliance isn’t available in your kitchen.
If you’re utilizing a blender, make sure to add some water before you put the cheese in it, that’s how you will get that silky look you’re expecting.
Note that it’s pretty hard to do it with a Hand Mixer, and you wouldn’t get to the result you’re looking for that easily so opt for a quality tool, it will make it a lot easier.
Soften the Cheese by Adding Some Milk or Cream
Milk or cream can be very useful in softening the cheese without sacrificing its taste as they are neutral-flavored. This method is simple and won’t take too much time for you.
Note that the cream or milk method is the best if you want to use your cream cheese for the frosting.
Needed supplies: Softened Cream Cheese
- A bowl in which you cut the cheese into small pieces for easier stirring
- Some cream or milk
Mix your cream cheese with a tbsp of cream or milk and stir them together until you get a soft texture. If the softness isn’t enough, try adding a little more cream or milk.
Don’t forget to get the cheese and milk out of the fridge at least an hour before, as they must be as warm as the room-temperature.
Which Method is the Best?
All the five methods of softening cream cheese are equally useful. However, choosing the best way for you depends on the amount of time you can devote to the procedure.
Microwaving and blending are very useful when you don’t have much time. But, what you will need to know about it is that the two procedures can alter the texture of the cream cheese, so if you have enough time, other methods will suit you better.
Lukewarm water and room temperature methods are most likely the best for you to get the texture you want. Besides, you’re not required to make any extra effort, you just leave the cheese there, do whatever you need to do and then it’s ready!
Let me remind you, again, not to forget the cheese out of the refrigerator for longer than 3 hours. Otherwise, it’ll definitely go bad.
Also, remember to save it correctly in a Ziploc bag or an airtight container and then in the refrigerator, once you use it. Make sure not to use it if it’s in the fridge for more than ten days.
I hope that was useful to you, try it out and enjoy the magical cream cheese with your different meals!
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