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Thread: softening cream cheese?

  1. #1

    softening cream cheese?

    I was just wondering what's the best way you've found to soften cream cheese before making, say, frosting? I'm hesitant to put it in the microwave because in the past, its texture has gotten "funny" when I've tried that. And our house isn't very warm, so it would take forever to soften just out on the counter. By the way, how long is it safe to leave it at room temperature? Any advice would be appreciated!

  2. #2
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    I've never thought to do anything but leave it out on the counter. For a long time. Like several hours (3-4). I'll be curious to see what other options are, as I wouldn't go the microwave route either.

  3. #3
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    Half the time I don't even soften it. If I'm using my KA mixer, I just rinse the bowl with really hot water, dry it and then beat the cheese in there. In no time, it's soft. I find that it really doens't take too long to soften on the counter though - but I get a lot of sun in my kitchen, so that my help too.

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    You could buy whipped or soft Philadelphia Cream Cheese .


  5. #5
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    I wouldn't use the whipped - it is not the same one-for-one because of the extra air already in it. It could mess up your recipe.

  6. #6

    thanks

    Thanks for the suggestions...I guess I just needed reassurance that it was okay to leave it out on the counter for several hours, because that's what it seems to take! A friend also told me that she doesn't soften hers, but does just what funnybone said. I may try that next time.

  7. #7
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    If I'm in a hurry, I cut the cream cheese into small cubes, then put the cubes on a plate and nuke them for a very short amount of time. Never had a problem with it being runny (or "funny").

    You could also try putting it on the counter, then taking a metal bowl, rinsing it in hot water and drying it, then put the bowl upside down over the cream cheese -- that should also help speed things along.
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  8. #8
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    Funnybone, if your experience contradicts this let me know, but for a cheesecake I would still not try any method but letting all the ingredients get to room temp - really get to room temp. If you over-mix your cheesecake ingredients (which you will do if the cheese is too cold, because it makes the batter lumpy) you will wreck the cake.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meganator
    I wouldn't use the whipped - it is not the same one-for-one because of the extra air already in it. It could mess up your recipe.
    I wouldn't use that either as most recipes call for brick-style to be softened. I would just cut it into cubes and set it underneath one of the lights in the kitchen if I was in a hurry. Otherwise I take it out the night before.
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  10. #10
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    my new microwave came with a soften feature that does a fine job of softening butter and cream cheese. i have found that i like this feature although its driving me nuts that i can't find out what setting and time is actually being used

  11. #11
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    I also wouldn't use the whipped, and I've gone the microwave route and got bad results. Microwaves have hot spots so one time it could work and the next time...

    If I'm doing a cheesecake I'm with Canice. The cheesecake does better when everything is at room temperature. Now I have been known to put my cream cheese bricks on top of the oven to speed the warming. Don't get them too close to the vent or they may get too soft.

    For frosting, I just whip the blocks with the paddle attachment. You will get a creamy consistency. Besides, cold cream cheese is easier to get out of the wrapper.
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  12. #12
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    Canice, I've probably made more cheesecakes than other cakes over the years (they are DH's favorite dessert) and I have never had one not turn out. Now, there are times I let the ingredients come to room temp and other times I don't, and I really can't say I've seen much of a difference in the finished product. Whether the cream cheese is at room temp when I first beat it or not, I make sure it is really smooth before I add any other ingredients to it. Not sure if that answers your question, but the next time I make cheesecake, I'll pay more attention to how the finished product is.

    BTW - I always store my cream cheese on my fridge door, so it isn't in the coldest part of the fridge. That may help it soften faster too.

  13. #13
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    If I remember to sit it out in advance of making the dish it's going into I let it sit out for a few hours. In the winter I sit it on the radiator in the kitchen to speed the process. I have been known to zap it in the microwave for 10 seconds.
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  14. #14
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    I'm surprised to see no suggestions for softening cream cheese in warm water when in a hurry - that's what I do. Maybe it's packaged differently south of the border, but here it comes in a box in which the brick of cheese is wrapped in foil so when I haven't the time to warm to room temp on a counter I toss the foil-wrapped cheese in a bowl of warm (not hot) water for a few minutes (I use the same procedure to warm up eggs to room temp). Works fine in my kitchen - though occasionally the cheese may need to be blotted with a paper towel if the wrapper leaks - the water beads up on the outer surface and isn't absorbed. I find it warms the brick more evenly than microwaving.
    Cheers! Andy

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by hAndyman
    Works fine in my kitchen - though occasionally the cheese may need to be blotted with a paper towel if the wrapper leaks - the water beads up on the outer surface and isn't absorbed. I find it warms the brick more evenly than microwaving.
    You could slip it into a sandwich size Zip-Loc bag to keep the water off.



    .

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by hAndyman
    I'm surprised to see no suggestions for softening cream cheese in warm water when in a hurry - that's what I do. Maybe it's packaged differently south of the border, but here it comes in a box in which the brick of cheese is wrapped in foil so when I haven't the time to warm to room temp on a counter I toss the foil-wrapped cheese in a bowl of warm (not hot) water for a few minutes (I use the same procedure to warm up eggs to room temp). Works fine in my kitchen - though occasionally the cheese may need to be blotted with a paper towel if the wrapper leaks - the water beads up on the outer surface and isn't absorbed. I find it warms the brick more evenly than microwaving.

    Sounds like a good idea. I haven't done that, but when I lived in Canada, the Philly cream cheese came wrapped (as you would wrap a present - with the folds) in foil with a blue plastic bottom. Here, it comes totally wrapped and sealed, so it would not leak unless there was a hole. Is it still wrapped that way there?

  17. #17
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    I'm with Handyman, softening in water. But i have occasionally used the nuker, with good results-- I don't put it on high, but on a low numbered setting, like 3, for short periods. And watch it well. It takes a few minutes that way, but it gets me where i need to be with the ingredients.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by funnybone
    Sounds like a good idea. I haven't done that, but when I lived in Canada, the Philly cream cheese came wrapped (as you would wrap a present - with the folds) in foil with a blue plastic bottom. Here, it comes totally wrapped and sealed, so it would not leak unless there was a hole. Is it still wrapped that way there?
    Yup. Though I'm not sure the card is plastic or cardboard - I've never really checked Gotta use some up today or tomorrow so maybe I'll see then.
    And Gumbeaux, that'd work. The moisture is not usually a concern for me but there may be an occasion when added moisture might not be good.
    Cheers! Andy

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