Yet another cooking 101 post today. I’m a self-taught baker, and I never had anyone to teach me. My mom doesn’t bake, and my grandmother didn’t do a lot of baking either, though she was a fabulous cook.
Once we moved into our farmhouse at the beginning of our marriage, I had a huge kitchen and grew to love cheesecake making. I would work all day on a recipe – and make the most perfect cheesecake. I hope to pass my love of baking on to others, and also help you understand the basics. Baking should be a stress relief, rather than a stressor.
Why Soften Cream Cheese?
In order to blend cream cheese into dessert recipes, the cream cheese needs to be softened. If you don’t soften it, you won’t be able to get your mixture smooth and lump-free. It just won’t blend easily. My favorite thing to soften cream cheese for is cheesecake.
Softening Cream Cheese Without the Microwave
Often, I will just sit the cream cheese out a few hours before I begin to work. I find a sunny window to place the bowl. Sometimes, I just place it on the counter over the running dishwasher where it’s nice and toasty.
Some bakers like to put the cream cheese (still wrapped in foil) down into a bowl of warm water to soften it (usually about 10 minutes or so).
How long can cream cheese be left out at room temperature?
Just a side note about softening your cream cheese at room temperature: It is still a dairy-based product. I would not let it sit for over 2 hours at room temperature.
Obviously, softening cream cheese without using a microwave is not a fast way to work. If you want to hurry things along, you can soften cream cheese in your microwave.
How to Soften Cream Cheese in the Microwave
Don’t worry – I know you wouldn’t use a microwave to soften many things, but you can soften cream cheese this way. Using your microwave is a great hack for softening cream cheese!
They even plainly tell you to do it this way on the Philadelphia cream cheese box. They wouldn’t suggest it if it would ruin their product – because, well, they want you to buy it again! (I want to add they are not a sponsor of this post or blog – again, I will also suggest to you only the brands and items I personally use or endorse!)
To soften the cream cheese in your microwave, you will place the completely unwrapped package of cream cheese in a microwave-safe bowl. (Please tell me you know that foil of any kind in a microwave leads to bad results!)
Then, microwave it on high for 10 seconds or just until it’s softened. You can add 15 seconds for each additional package of cream cheese.
I do not find the need to cut up the cream cheese when I soften it, but some people do. You can cut it into chunks if you want to ensure that it’s going to be soft enough.
That’s it! It’s very simple to soften cream cheese, and it’s a step you simply can’t skip over. If you are aiming for the best results, take the time to do this. As you see, it only takes seconds!
Cream Cheese Recipes You May Enjoy:
More Cooking 101 You May Enjoy:
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