Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How To Make Your Own Mascarpone Cheese

the finished mascarpone

"My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it's on your plate. That's my philosophy."

 ~Thornton Wilder

This post is to accompany my talk on BTO for Tuesday March 15, 2011.

So I've been making lots of cheese as of late. First it was ricotta, then cottage cheese, now mascarpone. I'm a huge lover of mascarpone cheese, so I was excited to make my own. It's super easy, like the others. Here you just need cream and lemon juice.

I practically broke my toe yesterday, so I set myself up with a chair to stir and monitor it. Boo hoo!

Most recipes online suggest you heat the cream in a double boiler or a bowl set in boiling water. I did it that way first. It takes forever. No, I take that back, it takes forever and a day. Too long I think not just because of the time involved, but because much of the moisture evaporates.Then I made it again over a medium heat gently heating it to the required 190, stirring often. Much easier, with one difference. The end result was creamier since less moisture was lost. So I'm going rouge and suggesting you do it over a flame without a double boiler as well. Just promise me you won't turn up the heat too much, you'll burn it if you do. The proteins in milk just want to stick to the bottom of your pot. If you don't turn up the heat too much, it won't.

after adding the lemon juice it starts to thicken

The taste is different from store bought mascarpone. This tastes like a cross between mascarpone and butter. Mine got thick like butter, I added a little more cream before using to get it to the consistency of store bought mascarpone. Once I added the extra cream, it tasted much more like the store bought variety. I do like it, still rich and creamy like the other, but it is a little different.

Straining whey from mascarpone. Both times I made this, I didn't get any whey, so I'm not sure this step is needed. Update- if you use regular store bought cream it may not give you whey. If you use raw or non pasturized, non homogenized cream, you will get whey.

Homemade Mascarpone Cheese

this makes 8 oz. (230 g.) cheese


2 cups, 16 oz. (1 pint) or (500 ml.) heavy cream
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice


Heat the cream on medium heat (no higher) stirring often till it reaches 190 degrees Fahrenheit, (88 degrees Celsius). I have an electric stove, I had my burner set at 5, then when my cream got to 150 degrees Fahrenheit (65 degrees Celsius) I felt as though it was never going to reach the required  190 F. (88 C.) so I did increase the temp to 6.5 instead of 5 on my stove top. Make sure you stir it very often.

When it gets to the required temperature, stir in the lemon juice and continue stirring. Keeping it over the heat. Keep it at 190 F. (88 C.) for 5 minutes or so. The mixture will get thick.

Remove it from the heat and let it sit for 20 minutes.

After the time has passed, pour it into a cheesecloth lined (or thin tea towel lined) fine sieve to drain if you feel you need to. Like I mentioned above, mine never had any whey. If yours is like mine was, pretty thick already, then don't strain it, just refrigerate it. Then when it's cold check back with it. Mine got even thicker as it got cold.

Note* Next time I make this I am going to add a little more cream to it before I refrigerate it. Maybe 1/3 cup (100 ml) at most. So when the cheese is at room temperature add some cream back into it, a little at a time, if 1/3 cup (100 ml) seems like too much, if it's getting too loose, then don't add it. Mine hardened to a very thick cream cheese texture almost the texture of butter. The next day after being in the refrigerator, with a whisk attachment on a stand mixer I added cream gradually and whipped it till it was like the texture of whipped cream cheese. Then it tasted like mascarpone I'm used to eating.  So if you're not sure if you should add more cream, go ahead and whip it back in later like I did.

If you do strain it, let it come to room temperature sitting there draining, then put it in the fridge. *see above note.

This will keep in the fridge for about 3 days.


Eris said...

I really want to try and make this. I have never eaten mascarpone, and I doubt that the tiramisus I've eaten contained it, so I wouldn't have anything to compare. But I've always wanted to make tiramisu and all recipes I find contain it.
Thank you for the recipe!

The Alchemist said...

Eris, great, I reccomend trying it. Let me add this, (I'm going to adjust my post to note this as well.) After you make it, it will thicken more you refrigerate it.

Both times I made it it thickens to almost the point of butter. I whipped more cream in it later to get it to the consistency that it is when you buy it in stores which is like the texture of cream cheese.

Next time I make it I think I will add a little more cream maybe 1/3 cup (100 ml.) at most before it goes in the fridge so it doesn't harden so much.

Today I made an orange tart with it I will be posting in the next few days, and I whipped it up with more cream, sugar, honey etc. and it turned out great, but it would have been easier to get it to the right consistency if I would have added a little cream to it before refrigerating it.

Amanda said...

I've never heard of making your own mascarpone cheese, I'll have to try it, thanks!

Lisa said...

Wow, I'm so impressed by your homemade abilities. First cottage cheese and now mascarpone. It all looks fantastic.

Melissa said...

Check your cream container. The last time I had issues with making cheese with cream, it was because it was ultrapasteurized and then stabilized with carageenan. If you can find cream whose only content is cream/milk, you'll probably get whey. Then you can drain it to a point that suits you, without having to add cream back in.

The Alchemist said...

Melissa- Thank you, that is great advice, I'm sure mine had carrageenen in it, because I've checked before for another reason.

I appreciate it you sharing that!

Helen said...

I'm enjoying this series loads. Oooh, do paneer next!!

Vibha said...

Paneer is nothing but cottage cheese, tied up to drain in a muslin cloth and the bundle placed under a weighty object for a few minutes, for it to set into a chunk which can be cut into pieces. Whole milk to make the cheese and not too much boiling after adding the acid (just till the whey seperates) gives best results. Simplest form of cheese with not too much care involved.

Helen said...

Thanks Vibha - I know the cottage cheese cheat, but I was thinking of making it from scratch, as it's one of my favourite cheeses. Mmmm, Saag paneer!

Helen said...

Aaaah, sorry, brain dead - you mean the method is the same as the cottage cheese recipe on this site?

The Alchemist said...

Helen-yes, the method is the same for paneer or the cottage cheese recipe.
But I would still love to try it, so thanks for the suggestion, I will make the paneer soon!

Unknown said...

Love your blog, I am your newest follower. I love that you make so many awesome things from scratch!!

anvor said...

Have you tried to make mascarpone with sour cream? Because, as far as I can see, lemon is used simply to sour the cream artificially.

Meanwhile, natural sour cream, with no added ingredients, would already be sour and would produce whey... All you do on the stove is reduce moisture of your sour cream to make it firmer... No?

The Alchemist said...

Anvor - No I haven't. To me sour cream has such a different taste than mascarpone. I understand your theory,it's a good one, perhaps it would work. I think maybe sour cream is too sour for mascarpone, since mascarpone isn't sour at all. The tablespoon of lemon juice is a small amount that you can't really taste, where as sour cream is quite sour.

Unknown said...

Hello. Those have to be some of the best cupcake recipes I've seen, gorgeous photographs too. I've scoured my city [and a couple of others] for heavy cream but have had no luck whatsoever. All that appears available is a 25% fat cream and a non-dairy sweetened whipping cream [the latter has its uses]. I was wondering how to go about making mascarpone and sour cream when I don't have the basic ingredient. Any ideas you might have on the matter?


Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Alchemist said...

Hi Ranita - Thanks so much, I'm glad you like my blog!

About the cream, you may be able to use the 25% cream. It may work, but I'm not sure, since I've never done it. Light whipping cream here in the U.S. is 30%, (it's of course not heavy cream, but still cream) so that isn't much difference than the 25%. I'm sorry I can't be of more help. Good luck!

vandy said...

Hi... Can I use non dairy sweetened whipping cream instead of the cream that you have mentioned??

Unknown said...

Hi! Thank you for sharing so much with us! I have been noticing a rather fanatic emphasis on not using ultra pasteurized cream for the mascarpone recipe--what are your thoughts? I bought UP by mistake and hope it wasnt all a loss.