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How to make Cream Cheese - 2 ingredient Homemade Cream Cheese. No cultures needed and it takes minutes to make.

How to Make Cream Cheese (Bold Baking Basics)

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Hi Bold Bakers!

To say I have received tons of requests for this recipe is an understatement. How to Make Cream Cheese has been the most-requested recipe for my Bold Baking Basics series.

Since starting Bigger Bolder Baking, you Bold Bakers have shown me what ingredients are and are not available in the countries you live in, and cream cheese was one that was not available or is a different texture in every country.

Cream Cheese was always that ingredient that when I used it in a recipe I was immediately asked to show you how to make it. I only like to use ingredients that are accessible to you no matter what country, however some ingredients still aren’t as mainstream as you would think. So what do we do? We make our own!

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When researching “How to Make Cream Cheese” I tried a lot of recipes and wasted a lot of milk. I couldn’t find a recipe that worked without having to buy active cultures or hang a cream cheese for hours. I hate waste, and I don’t want you to waste your ingredients so I have a foolproof recipe for you that yields delicious, and I really do mean delicious Homemade Cream Cheese. My one piece of advice would be to add a generous amount of salt and try eating it warm. It is just heaven on a cracker.

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Do you like Cheesecake? I have plenty of recipes where you can use my Homemade Cream Cheese like my No-Bake Oreo Cheesecake, my No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake and even my Tiramisu Cheesecake.

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Just a Note: This recipe yields 1 cup (8oz) of Homemade Cream Cheese so check your cheesecake recipe and see how much Cream Cheese you need and then multiply. You can really easily double or triple this recipe. Once made it will live happily in your fridge for 10 days.

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4.8 from 45 reviews
How to make cream cheese
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 1 cup
Ingredients
  • 4 cups (32oz /1000ml) whole milk (full fat, not low fat)
  • 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice (lime juice or white vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat themilk on med-high. Stirring constantly until it starts to a rolling simmer.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the lemon juice 1 tablespoon at a time, in 1 minute intervals. Continue stirring constantly.
  3. Continue cooking until the mixture curdles. Stir constantly till the mixture has separated completely, this should take just a few minutes. There will be a green liquid on the bottom and thick curdles on top. Remove from the heat. This should happens within a few minutes.
  4. Lay a sieve with a cheesecloth over a large bowl. Pour the curd mix into the sieve. Let it strain and cool for about 15 minutes.
  5. Transfer curds to a food processor and process until curds have come together and are totally smooth and creamy. It will take around 3-4 minutes. Keep going if your cream cheese is grainy.
  6. Add salt and taste. Add more if you want more flavor. Now is also a good time to add herbs, garlic or any other flavors you like.
  7. This cream cheese must be stored in the fridge. I always use it within 7 day but can last as long as up to 2 weeks.

 

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Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I’m passionate about sharing my years of experience to show you how to make game-changing baking recipes with over-the-top results! Join more than 1 Million other Bold Bakers in the community for new video recipes every week!

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572 Comments

  1. Devanshi on January 17, 2018 at 6:54 am

    Hello, I’ve tried a lot of recipes of yours and they’re a big hit! I tried making the cream cheese, and the consistency and everything is perfect.. only the taste isn’t quite like cream cheese and also has a little of the tangy lemon flavour

    • Gemma Stafford on January 18, 2018 at 3:24 am

      Hi there,
      Add back a little milk/cream or a little of the whey. Cream cheese is tangy, commercially it is made with a culture like citric acid, so it will have a tang. Mixing back a little milk of cream will soften it out for you. This is a traditional ‘farmers’ cheese really, a way to preserve excess milk, and add nutrition to other dishes. trust it!
      Gemma 🙂

  2. Mojo on January 11, 2018 at 11:15 am

    Hi
    Can i use powdered milk in this recipe

    • Gemma Stafford on January 11, 2018 at 6:14 pm

      Hi,

      Unfortunately for this recipe no, you need fresh milk.

      Gemma.

  3. Ahmed Sayed on January 9, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    Gemma , Can you make a video about how to make home made butter ?

  4. GORDEN on January 9, 2018 at 6:17 am

    HEY GEMMA,THANK U SOOO MUCH 4 THE RECEPIE .CAN I USE PASTERIZED MILK IN THIS RECEPIE

    • Gemma Stafford on January 9, 2018 at 9:01 am

      Hi Gorden,
      Yes! most milk around the world is now pasteurized, it will be good.
      Some people say that Ultra pasteurized and long life milks wil not work, and this may be true.
      Try a little, that will tell you what you need to know, also this allows you to experiment, with vinegar v lemon juice for instance.
      Hope this is of help,
      Gemma 🙂

  5. Jeanine on January 6, 2018 at 11:00 am

    Gemma, do you know how to calculate the carbs in the cream cheese. I understand that most of the carbs end up in the whey.

    • Gemma Stafford on January 7, 2018 at 4:28 am

      Hi Jeanine,
      I think you are talking about 4g per 100g.
      Carbs will not be a big issue for this type of food.
      Gemma 🙂

  6. Ela on January 6, 2018 at 10:58 am

    I’m going to try this. Thank you for sharing it.

    • Gemma Stafford on January 7, 2018 at 4:29 am

      Hi Ela,
      Good! I am happy to hear this,
      Gemma 🙂

  7. Ronda on December 29, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    I’m extremely curious if full fat Coconut Milk from a can could be used to make cream cheese substituting whole milk? Thank you, fabulous recipe.

    • Gemma Stafford on December 30, 2017 at 3:15 am

      Hi Ronda,
      Actually there is a method for this. Animal milks will curdle, nut milks will not, and it is the curd which makes cheese.
      I do not have a recipe for making cream cheese with nut milks, but there are some online using almond milk/cashew milk/coconut milk. It will not be the same thing, but it is worth a shot, browse through a few recipes to find one which feels right for you. I like the sound of one from The Spruce.com, you can take a peek at that.
      Happy New Year to you and yours,
      Gemma 🙂

  8. Candi on December 29, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    I am a Low Carb eater and we don’t drink milk. Could this be done with Heavy Whipping Cream?

  9. Rosu on December 26, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    Hi Gemma, Your recipes are wonderful and so easy. We don’t get cream cheese around here and this is such an easy way. Thanks a lot. I was just wondering if you can point out a few ways to use the yellow liquid left over after the curds are taken??

    • Gemma Stafford on December 27, 2017 at 3:06 am

      Hi Rosu,
      This liquid can be added to your baking, or used in a marinade, for chicken for instance.
      For cakes it will soften the gluten to give a tender result, combined with spices it will tenderize chicken and add flavor,
      Gemma 🙂

  10. Sofia monaghan on December 23, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    Hi there!
    I don’t have any cheesecloth, and I don’t think I can find any around here. Can I use something in place of it? I really want to make cream cheese! Please help!!.

    • Gemma Stafford on December 23, 2017 at 9:19 pm

      Hi Sofia,

      So it’s totally fine ti use a clean tea towel. Just use one that is not a fluffy, hairy one 🙂

      Gemma.

  11. Nada on December 22, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    I really liked this recipe as I love making cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting and I can not find it ieasily .. you said that it is okay to make this recipe with white vinegar instead of lemon juice but should I wash cheese to remove vinegar smell ?

    • Gemma Stafford on December 22, 2017 at 12:31 pm

      Hi Nada,
      Cream cheese tens to be a little acidic. You will drain the whey, and this will take most of the vinegar with it.
      I would not tend to wash the curd, but you can if you wish. Add back a little milk, or cream if it is a bit dry,
      Gemma 🙂

  12. Mila Dushka on December 21, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    Hi Gemma,

    I just wanted to add that Indian type of white cheese called panir is made the same way only the curds are not processed but left under the pressure to become solid and stiff. Later it can be cut into pieces and fried with veggies or just with some sauce.

    Never thought it could be turned into a cream cheese this way 😊 Thank you for a nice idea and recipe!

    • Gemma Stafford on December 22, 2017 at 1:01 pm

      Hi there,
      Yes, and I know this, and it is great that you shared this with other bold bakers too, thank you.
      If you find this a little dry you can add back some whey, or milk, or cream to soften it. This is called farmers cheese, and is common in many places,
      Gemma 🙂

  13. robbie1050 on December 19, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    Hi Gemma, I think that this is just awesome info to know when you are baking a lot in the kitchen. I just wanted to know if you made a large amount of cream cheese, can you freeze it for any amount of time? If its kept in a really good container or zip lock freezer bags, how long will it keep? Thanks Gemma

    • Gemma Stafford on December 19, 2017 at 6:22 pm

      Hi Robbie,

      Really glad you like my recipes. It makes around 2 cups of cream cheese, not a huge amount. I don’t recommend freezing it as it might not defrost the same way.

      Hope this helps,
      Gemma.

  14. Valerie sultan on December 19, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    Can I use half and half for the cream cheese or only milk

    • Gemma Stafford on December 19, 2017 at 6:05 pm

      Hi,

      You know I think you can. I haven’t tried it myself but I think it will work 🙂

  15. Raeanne on December 13, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    The first time that I tried this recipe it worked wonderfully. The two subsequent attempts were miserable failures. I just tried with a very high quality, non-homogenized cream. Should I have used a less expensive (lower butterfat) milk?

    • Gemma Stafford on December 13, 2017 at 5:59 pm

      Hi Raeanne,

      oh funny, that is so strange. Honestly I use regular, store both homogenized milk and it works great.

      I recommend middle of the road milk. I’m very surprised they were fail.

      Sometimes when I buy high quality cream I can’t get it to whip or work like a generic cream would.

      Hope this helps,
      Gemma.

    • BrendaB on December 20, 2017 at 7:36 am

      Raeann, just wondering if your cream was ultra pasteurized. If so, that is likely the reason it failed. Ultra pasteurizing damages the proteins needed for curd formation. It is so hard to find non-ultra pasteurized cream because this process allows it to have a longer shelf life.
      I am lucky enough to have my own cows and fresh milk so I don’t have to worry about trying to find good cream, I simple skim it off the top of the milk can!!! 🙂
      Hope this helps, Merry Christmas!

  16. Eenash on December 8, 2017 at 6:54 am

    Can i use this cream cheese for anything

    • Gemma Stafford on December 9, 2017 at 9:19 am

      Yes it works well. People use it in their cheesecakes.

      I like it eat it warm with chutney 🙂

  17. jojo on December 6, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    Bummer. Everyone’s pics look so yummy. I used whole milk but is has been pasteurized so maybe that’s why it didn’t work. It appeared as though it would, but I got a milk/water combo but no curds at all. It isn’t even strainable.

    • jojo on December 6, 2017 at 2:07 pm

      Okay, tried it again but this time I used vinegar instead of lemon juice. Worked perfectly! I have big curds that are in the cheesecloth as I type. I’m guessing that my lemons were not acidic enough or maybe I got the milk a little too hot on the first batch. I’ve never heated milk to a rolling simmer before and wasn’t sure what that would look like or how hot it would be.

      Thank you. Looking forward to trying it.

      • Gemma Stafford on December 7, 2017 at 2:18 am

        Hi Jojo,
        I am so happy to have your kind review of this recipe. delighted that it worked so well for you,
        Gemma 🙂

      • Beth on December 17, 2017 at 8:40 am

        I had a similar problem when I tried. I used lemons, using more juice than called for just to get it to curdle and at that point I only got small curds. When I blended it with a hand mixer it never did get creamy even when I added some of the liquid back in and tasted more like riccotta. I’ll try with vinegar next time,thanks for posting your results. I really want this to work.

  18. Christine on December 5, 2017 at 6:22 am

    I had to try this because I LOVE cream cheese and it is so easy to make! Mine also came out a bit closer to ricotta, but it is delicious on rye toast and I will use it for pasta! I think I will try again with half milk and half cream for a richer flavor, and try to nail down the consistency a little better.

    • Gemma Stafford on December 6, 2017 at 5:05 am

      Hi Christine,
      Yes, if you use cream you will have something more like a mascarpone. If you add back a little of the whey it will cream better for you, milk will do this too.
      Great that you tried it, nothing like learning by experience,
      Gemma 🙂

  19. Stacey on December 3, 2017 at 10:20 am

    Do you have any recipes to use up the separated liquid or is that just garbage?

    • Gemma Stafford on December 4, 2017 at 3:19 am

      Hi Stacey,
      This is whey, it is the water of the milk, but made slightly acidic. It would make a great marinade, or can be added to recipes which call for an acid ingredient like yogurt or buttermilk.
      Thank you for being in touch,
      Gemma 🙂

  20. Karen on December 3, 2017 at 8:40 am

    Have you ever tried this recipe using Lactaid milk? My daughter has a lactose intolerance but she can drink Lactaid milk. I’m planning to try your cream cheese recipe, but thought I’d ask about it first.

    • Gemma Stafford on December 4, 2017 at 3:28 am

      Hi Karen,
      Lactose free milk seems to be pasteurized at higher temperatures than normal dairy milk. This may affect the size of the curd, but it will still curdle.
      It will curdle quicker at room temperature. The curd is what makes the cream cheese. Try it with a small amount, this will tell you a lot,
      Gemma 🙂

  21. Diana Tan on November 30, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    Hi Gemma!
    I love your version. It’s simple and easy..

    I make pesto spread using cream cheese as one of the ingredients.. with this cream cheese recipe added with olive oil, will it help preserve up to 4 weeks or more?

    I just use Philadelphia or magnolia and it would last longer than expected..

    • Gemma Stafford on November 30, 2017 at 5:00 pm

      Hi Diana,

      I think the oil might make it last a little longer but I’m not sure 4 weeks, maybe 10 days?

      Really good idea though. 🙂
      Gemma.

  22. Pournima on November 22, 2017 at 1:14 am

    Hey… great recipe 😀
    I have a question though… can I use this cream cheese for frosting? Say for red velvet cake! And if yes, then how? do I need to mix it with whipping cream?
    Thank you 😀

    • Gemma Stafford on November 22, 2017 at 2:22 pm

      Hi there,
      If you use this cream cheese for frosting you can use the recipe for the frosting here. (https://www.biggerbolderbaking.com/best-ever-carrot-cake/). you can adjust this up or down to suit your need. Take a look at this one,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Pournima on November 22, 2017 at 11:14 pm

        Thank you so much 😊

  23. Maliha on November 21, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    Hey Gemma! I’m a big fan of yours. Your recipes are really amazing and helpful. I tried making this cream cheese both ways, by using vinegar as well as lemon juice. Both times it never got smooth after processing it, i even added cream but no luck. I don’t know what i am doing wrong. Please help?

    • Gemma Stafford on November 23, 2017 at 8:49 pm

      Hi Mariha,

      So I would have suggested add in some cream to make it smooth but you already did that. When I make It I keep some of the water that separates because I like to add it back in to make the cream cheese smooth.

      I would say just add in more liquid and keep processing.
      Hope this helps,
      Gemma.

  24. Barbara on November 17, 2017 at 11:54 am

    Gemma, this may sound like a strange question, but can this be frozen and used in a few weeks?

    Thank you….I am about ready to make your brownies :o)

    • Gemma Stafford on November 18, 2017 at 9:38 am

      Hi Barbara,
      Cream cheese can be frozen without any difficulty.
      I do hope you like the brownies! They are a big hit here on BBB,
      Gemma 🙂

  25. Shubhangi Gupta on November 17, 2017 at 7:31 am

    Hi Gemma! I tried making this recipe but ended up with something that was more like ricotta than cream cheese. I used vinegar instead of lemon juice to make it. What could cause that and how can I make it better the next time?

    • Gemma Stafford on November 18, 2017 at 10:10 am

      Hi,

      So once when I made it I got a similar result. Next time reserve some of the why and then pour that back into the cream cheese so when it blends it gets really smooth. If you don’t have the why then pour in some cream 🙂

      Gemma.

  26. Rita Adriana on November 15, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    Hi Gemma, thanks a lot for this recipe. I would like to know if the whole milk can use UHT type milk?

    • Gemma Stafford on November 16, 2017 at 7:46 am

      Hi Rita,
      UHT milk is not really suitable for cheese making. You can get it to curdle, but the curd will be small, and more like a Ricotta. I would not use this. You can use Ricotta to make a cheesecake! you can google a recipe, but it is not a lot different to mine.
      I hope this helps,
      Gemma 🙂

  27. Safa on November 15, 2017 at 5:29 am

    Hi Gemma

    Loved the idea of making cream cheese at home, as i used to buy it regularly
    Next time no buying
    Can u plz explain how to make mascorpone cheese ?
    Would like to give a try

    • Gemma Stafford on November 17, 2017 at 2:45 am

      Hi Safa,
      Good, do try this. If it is a little dry you can add back some of the whey, or a little cream or milk.
      Mascarpone is a cream cheese, which is made with cream. The cream will need to be about 35% fat content to have the same finish, but you can experiment with small amounts of this.
      I hope this is of help,
      Gemma 🙂

  28. Karen Getsinger Wicker on November 12, 2017 at 8:34 am

    hi i am allergic to dairy…so is there a way to make dairy free cream cheese…what substitutes could i use…thank you…love your recipes…my husband loves them all…lol….i just have to substitute on my end of them….so i’m still learning on that…so many foods contain milk..and to be able to make something that i can eat along with everyone else is my dream…you miss out on a lot of things because of a dairy allergy…

    • Gemma Stafford on November 13, 2017 at 1:58 am

      Hi Karen,
      It is a pain to have to substitute ingredients, but there are solutions for a lot of dietary needs now.
      2 cups soaked raw cashews to make: soak in hot water for 1 hour until soft (if you can soak them overnight that’s even better!).
      1/4 cup lemon juice.
      3 tablespoons water.
      2 tablespoons coconut oil.
      This is from a paleoglutenfree.com and I know there are also suggestions for almond milk. Do a little research and experiment. I think you will get there.
      gemma 🙂

  29. val on November 12, 2017 at 4:26 am

    Hi, love your recipes, thanks so much for sharing. Quick cream cheese question, would it work to substitute cream (maybe thin with water) for the milk. Cream contains no carbs, so easier for me.

    • Gemma Stafford on November 13, 2017 at 2:03 am

      Hi Val,
      A cup of cream will have about 6g of carbs. Small really, but there.
      If you use cream for cream cheese it will be a Mascarpone type cream cheese, very rich and delicious. The good thing about the high fat content is that it is very satisfying.
      Go for it, experiment with this, you can add a little water/or mix with milk to take back the fat content. All will be well,
      Gemma 🙂

  30. Ankita Karmakar on November 7, 2017 at 11:31 pm

    Very nicely demonstrated. Although I would recommend washing the curd with water after separating the whey, so as to get rid of the tangy lemon flavour.

    • Gemma Stafford on November 8, 2017 at 11:50 am

      Hi there,
      Yes, you can do this too, thank you for that tip,
      Gemma 🙂

  31. Hira on November 5, 2017 at 5:50 am

    Can I make baked cheesecakes from it?

    • Gemma Stafford on November 6, 2017 at 2:19 am

      Hi Hira,
      Thank you for being here with us.
      Yes! This is cream cheese, you can use it as you wish,
      Gemma 🙂

  32. lola on November 3, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    Do you have to use cheese is it really required to use?

    • Gemma Stafford on November 4, 2017 at 4:24 am

      Not sure what you mean, for which recipe. This is a recipe to make cream cheese,
      Gemma 🙂

  33. Esse on November 2, 2017 at 1:48 am

    Hello Gemma, thank you so much for the video. please i wanted to ask a question. what if i added lime/lemon to my butter cream will it taste something close to cream cheese flavor?
    i am trying to find a good alternate to cream cheese because in my country cream cheese is so so expensive that one can hardly afford it. we have milk powder here not the liquid milk. so to make the cream cheese i will have to mix water to the powdered milk and i dont know the quantity to mix to get the right consistency of the liquid milk.
    another kind of liquid milk popular here is the evaporated milk which is thicker than the consistency of the normal liquid milk.
    its the reason i ask if its possible to make my normal buttercream frosting and add 1 teaspoon of lime/lemon to give a close tangy taste to cream chesse. or what do you think? please help.

    • Gemma Stafford on November 2, 2017 at 3:28 am

      Hi Esse,
      Not so much with the citrus, it is a different thing.
      A quick google (can I make cream cheese from powdered milk) will give you the answer, and that is YES!
      You can make it at home with powdered milk. I have added this to my to do list, thank you for reminding me,
      Gemma 🙂

  34. Bhavana Ranjan on November 1, 2017 at 10:34 am

    Tried both cream cheese and mascarpone cheese in your method and it’s delish!! LOVE IT that it can be made at home with fresh ingredients. Thank you Gemma!

    • Gemma Stafford on November 2, 2017 at 4:30 am

      That is so good to hear, thank you,
      Gemma 🙂

  35. Phrecellia Nanarakam on October 31, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    Good day Gemma! you stated that we can use lime instead of lemon in making cream cheese. Is the result will be same as using lemon or differ? Can I use lime in making sour cream and buttermilk? will that possible…

    • Gemma Stafford on November 2, 2017 at 5:00 am

      Hi there,
      Any citrus will do it really, it is the addition of an acid ingredient. Rice vinegar/cider vinegar etc will do it too. The curd size may change according to the level of acid. Lemon is more acid than lime, so you may need a little more. Vinegars are all the same in terms of acidity, so may be a better option for you,
      Gemma 🙂

  36. Karen Kilpatrick on October 27, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    I love this recipe and I do add 1T peanut butter and 2t chocolate chips to about a cup of cream cheese and spread it on toasted bagels. YUM. So how about a BBB recipe for Mozzarella cheese? Tomato, basil and mozzarella salad anyone?

    • Gemma Stafford on October 30, 2017 at 7:06 am

      Hi Karen,
      Yes, that does sound good!
      Good to be able to put your own spin on things, ad sharing the ideas here is a help to others, thanks for that.
      Mozzarella is a lovely thing, and it is perfectly doable at home too. I am not sure it is for all of my Bold Bakers though, as it is a process!
      You can try it, and let us know LOL 🙂
      Gemma

  37. MIller Thomas Brummett on October 26, 2017 at 4:23 am

    I’m going to try this recipe this weekend. I wanted to make cream cheese with no salt so I could use it in a recipe for low carb pancakes. I tried store-bought cream cheese in this recipe and it turned out too salty.

    I have pure citric acid on hand, so I’m going to try that instead of lemon juice. I read that 1 teaspoon pure citric acid= 1/4 cup of lemon juice, so I’m going to substitute a scant teaspoon of citric acid for the lemon juice in this recipe.

    Thanks for posting this. I haven’t made it yet, but it looks like the most promising cream cheese recipe of the ones I found.

    • Gemma Stafford on October 26, 2017 at 7:21 am

      Hi there,
      Yes, and citric acid is used in the commercial manufacturing of cream cheese, you are on the right path. Good luck with it now,
      Gemma 🙂

  38. Renee Mathews on October 24, 2017 at 10:22 am

    Thankyou GEMMA!!!

  39. Debra on October 23, 2017 at 12:31 am

    Hi gemma! I was wondering if i could use a blender or stand mixer instead of a processor? I dont have a food processor and im not sure if it would turn out the same. I’m planning to make cream cheese tonight. Do youhave a recipe for homemade sour cream?

    • Gemma Stafford on October 23, 2017 at 3:01 am

      Hi Debra,
      Yes, use the whisk of your stand mixer, you are really just creaming the curd, if it feels too stiff add back a little of the whey/water comtent, or a little milk.
      (https://www.biggerbolderbaking.com/how-to-make-sour-cream/) here you go! I do hope this is of help,
      Gemma 🙂

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