Cream Cheese | American Society of Baking
Commercial Baking Ingredients:

Cream Cheese

What is cream cheese?

Cream cheese is a soft, unripened and slightly acid-tasting cheese with mild diacetyl flavor. It is made from standardized, homogenized, pasteurized milk and starter culture, a citrate fermenting Lc. lactis subsp lactis.1

  • Although it is intended to be eaten fresh, a wide range of spreads and cheese cakes are made with it
  • It is often compared to Neufchatel, Petit Suisse, Gervais and Fromage Frais à la crème
  • It’s available in many flavors and combinations of spices, and herbs, in addition to low- and full-fat versions
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Cream cheese and similar soft cheeses have a short history in comparison to other European cheeses. The first mention of these products dates back to 1583 in  England and the first written recipe appeared in 1754. Modern cream cheese was not fully recognized and named until 1873 when William A. Lawrence added extra cream to Neuchâtel to make this cheese. Partnering with Samuel S. Durland produced Philadelphia cream cheese in 1880, which is the most popular brand in the United States today.


Similar to most acid-coagulated cheeses, this one is prepared from fresh milk that does not require fermentation. It is a gel with most of its moisture removed after coagulation and thus can be consumed right away.

Compared to acid-rennet cheese gels, it has very low elasticity, low fracture stress and lower syneresis.5

Commercial production

Producing cream cheese relies on the formation of acid-induced gels from high fat milk and subsequent shearing, heating and water-removal. Typically, commercial scale manufacturing follows these steps:2

Composition and nutrition

Typical nutrients composition / 100 g:3

Energy 321 kcal
Total lipid 32.14 g
Fatty acids, total saturated 21.43 g
Carbohydrate 7.14 g
Protein 3.57 g
Sugar 3.57 g
Sodium 339 mg
Calcium 107 mg

The USDA specifies that cream cheese contains at least 33% milk fat, no more than 55% moisture, and a pH between 4.4 and 4.9.4


Cream cheese is used as a perfect companion to many prepared foods and bakery products to provide unique flavor, texture and appearance. Applications of this ingredient include:

FDA regulation

As a soft and uncured cheese, this cheese is regulated by FDA under 21CFR133.133.6


  1. Litopoulou-Tzanetaki, E. Soft-ripened and fresh cheeses: Feta, Quark, Halloumi and related varieties. Improving the Flavour of Cheese, 2007, 474–493.
  2. Chandan, R. C. Cheeses , Soft and Special Varieties. Encyclopedia of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 2003, 1093–1098.
  3. Cream cheese. Accessdata. Fda. gov. April 01. 2019. Last accessed by Feb 13. 2020.
  4. Cream Cheese – Agricultural Marketing Service – USDA. Last accessed by Fed 13. 2020.
  5. Lucey, J.A., Tamehana, M., Singh, H. and Munro, P. Effect of heat treatment on the physical properties of milk gels made with both rennet and acid. Int. Dairy J. 2001, 11, 4-7, pp. 559-569
  6. CFR – Code of Federal Regulations 21CFR133.133. Accessdata. Fda. gov. April 01. 2019. Last accessed by Feb 13. 2020.