Making cream cheese

Yesterday I decided to make some cream cheese. I call it cream cheese because it is very creamy and much better than any cottage cheese I have had.
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:

You can keep the drained whey and use it in baking or cooking.

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!

Cost analysis:
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!!!

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  1. Clever – I haven't heard of that, and naturally, have to try it 🙂

    Thanks, Crystal's MiL LOL

    Can't remember what the cottage cheese I made from milk cost…

  2. You really should try it, and so simply! Have a look at the update I did today after making my second "litre" of maas. From 2 litres of maas, I got over 800g of cream cheese, and all for the price of a regular 250g tub.
    Hope you like it as much as we do!

  3. Hi Crystal, this recipe looks so easy and delicious I can't wait to try it. I just have two questions:

    1.If I'm in Cape Town and it's really cold, do you think I need to either heat the maas or keep it in the warming drawer (or other warm place) while it drains?

    2.How long does it keep in the fridge?

    Thanks so much for an awesome blog 🙂

  4. Hi Mango atcher.
    You don't need to heat it at all. You just need to drain off the whey so that it's not so runny. The longer it drains, the thicker it will be. In summer I even leave it in the fridge to drain.
    I would say it keeps about a week or 2 in the fridge. Probably just as long as store bought cottage cheese.
    Thank you for visiting!

  5. I use the drained fluid to cook in stead of water. It gives a lovely rich taste to macaroni, spagetti and mince! Nothing goes wasted!

  6. Hi. In your recipe, you say "mix it up". What must be mixed up? The mix that drained through the cloth or the mix that was left inside the cloth? Just a little vague. SOOO excited to try this.

  7. Made Cream cheese from Maas for years ! Cheap as Chips Beauty is you can mix your own spices into the drained cheese. Sweet Chili flavour is great!

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