From Bagels to Cheesecakes: The Enduring Popularity of Cream Cheese

Cream Cheese

With its velvety texture and rich flavour, creamed cheese has secured its spot as a versatile and beloved ingredient in kitchens worldwide. Whether spread on a warm bagel, whipped into a luscious cheesecake, or infused with various flavours for innovative dips and spreads, creamed cheese's culinary possibilities seem almost endless. But how versatile is it, and how can you store it? 

Types of Creamed Cheese

Creamed cheese comes in various types, each offering distinct flavours and textures. Here are the popular cheese types.

  • Regular Creamed cheese: Regular cream cheese is the classic and most common type. Its rich and creamy consistency makes it an all-purpose ingredient ideal for spreading on bagels, toast, or crackers. It's also the star of traditional cheesecakes and adds a smooth and velvety texture to the food.
  • Whipped Creamed cheese: This is a lighter and fluffier version of the original. It's ideal for those who enjoy creaminess but prefer a lighter texture. Whipped creamed cheese is fantastic as a spread for bread and bagels, and it's also suitable for dips and spreads due to its ease of blending with other ingredients. Its airy texture makes it an excellent option for frostings, as it creates a smoother consistency that's easy to work with.
  • Flavoured Creamed cheese: Flavored creamed cheeses come in a delightful range of options, from savoury to sweet. They can be infused with herbs, spices, fruits, vegetables, or chocolate chips. These varieties offer a convenient way to add flavour to your dishes without mixing additional ingredients.
  • Low-Fat or Neufchâtel Creamed cheese: For those looking for a lighter option, low-fat creamed cheese, often marketed as Neufchâtel creamed cheese, is a suitable choice. It has a reduced fat content compared to regular creamed cheese, making it a healthier alternative. Neufchâtel creamed cheese can be used similarly to regular creamed cheese – as a spread in cooking and baking.

Culinary Uses of Cream Cheese

Due to its creamy texture and tangy flavour, creamed cheese from this Cheese shop is a versatile ingredient in the kitchen. In all these culinary applications, creamed cheese brings a unique creaminess, tang, and versatility that enriches the flavours and textures of dishes. From the indulgence of desserts to the complexity of savoury meals, creamed cheese has earned its rightful place in the heart of the culinary world. This section delves deeper into the culinary uses.

  • Cheesecakes: Creamed cheese is the star ingredient in classic cheesecakes. Its rich and smooth texture contributes to the velvety consistency of a good cheesecake. When combined with sugar, eggs, and flavourings, creamed cheese creates a delightful filling that bakes to perfection, resulting in a creamy and satisfying dessert.
  • Dips and Spreads: Creamed cheese is the foundation of most dips and spreads. Mixed with herbs, spices, vegetables, or even smoked salmon, creamed cheese becomes the base for party-favorite snacks. Whether scooped with chips or spread on crackers, these flavorful combinations owe their success to creamed cheese's creaminess and neutral backdrop.
  • Frostings and Icings: In baking, creamed cheese is a crucial element in frostings and icings. It's the magic behind the tangy and luxurious flavour of carrot cake frosting or red velvet cake icing. The creamy texture of creamed cheese, when combined with powdered sugar and perhaps a touch of vanilla, adds depth and contrast to sweet treats.
  • Savoury Sauces: Creamed cheese contributes to the creaminess and tanginess of savoury sauces. Whether you swirl it into pasta sauces for added richness or incorporate it into a creamy mushroom or spinach sauce, it enhances the overall flavour profile of the dish.
  • Stuffed Foods: From stuffed mushrooms to stuffed chicken breasts, creamed cheese often finds its way into the centre of delectable savoury creations. Its creamy texture helps bind ingredients together while adding a burst of flavour.
  • Rolls and Wraps: Creamed cheese is a delightful filling for rolls, wraps, and pinwheels. When spread on tortillas or sheets of puff pastry, it serves as a binding agent for layers of meats, vegetables, and other fillings. Once rolled up and sliced, you get a savoury or even sweet bite-sized treat.
  • Quiches and Tarts: Adding creamed cheese to quiche or tart fillings introduces a velvety richness that elevates the dish. It helps balance out the flavours and textures of the other ingredients, creating a harmonious and indulgent filling.

How to Store Cream Cheese

Storing creamed cheese properly is essential to maintain its freshness and prevent spoilage. Below are three main methods to consider when storing creamed cheese, each catering to different needs and timelines.

  • Refrigeration: Refrigeration is the most common and recommended method for storing creamed cheese. Unopened packages of creamed cheese can be stored directly in the refrigerator at a temperature of around 32-40°F (0-4°C). Once opened, it's crucial to reseal the package tightly or transfer the creamed cheese to an airtight container to prevent air exposure, leading to drying and potential flavour absorption from other foods in the fridge.
  • Freezing: If you want to extend the storage life of creamed cheese beyond what the refrigerator allows, freezing is an option. However, it's important to note that freezing can affect the texture of creamed cheese, making it crumbly or slightly grainy upon thawing. To freeze, wrap the unopened or opened creamed cheese tightly in plastic wrap, followed by aluminium foil or a freezer-safe container.
  • Homemade Creamed cheese: If you've made homemade creamed cheese or have a batch you want to store, the process is similar to commercial creamed cheese. Transfer the homemade creamed cheese to an airtight container, ensuring minimal air exposure. Store it in the refrigerator for up to about a week. Since homemade versions might not have the same stabilizers as store-bought varieties, they might have a slightly shorter shelf life.

As you can see, creamed cheese stands as a versatile kitchen ingredient. From its effectiveness in cheesecakes to tangy spreads, it bridges and balances sweet and savoury meals. Whether you're drawn to regular creamed cheese or the flavoured options, each type gives you a unique twist to elevate your creations. You only need to experiment and discover the endless possibilities with creamed cheese.

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