Making homemade mascarpone cheese is not as difficult as it may seem.
Just two ingredients, a few steps, and a little time on your hands. If you carefully follow a few small precautions and have a little patience, you will get a great mascarpone cheese! Better than many commercially available products!
Homemade mascarpone cheese is a simple and inexpensive recipe. The perfect solution for making a healthy and wholesome cheese with your own hands and in your own home.
All you need to make mascarpone at home is fresh, high-quality heavy cream and lemon juice (or citric acid).
In order for the proteins in the cream to coagulate, we need to observe two basic factors: the right temperature and the right amount of citric acid. The necessary resting time in the refrigerator will do the rest.
Mascarpone is one of the typical dairy products of Northern Italy. In these areas it’s widely used in many traditional recipes, both sweet and savory.
Therefore, we can consider Mascarpone not only as a delicious creamy spreadable cheese, but also as a real basic recipe for the preparation of other dishes.
Although everyone thinks of mascarpone as a cheese, it’s actually not a cheese at all!
In fact, mascarpone is not made with curdled milk like traditional cheeses, but with heavy cream (also known as whipping cream). Mascarpone is also a vegetarian cheese because it’s made without the use of animal rennet.
Try this recipe for homemade mascarpone. A cream with a delicate flavor and enveloping texture that you can use to prepare many delicious dishes, first of all the amazing and famous tiramisu.
So let’s see together how to make homemade mascarpone cheese in a few simple steps.
How to Make Mascarpone Cheese at Home
- Prep Time: 10 Min
- Cook Time: 15 Min
- Rest/Cool Time: 1 Hour at room temperature and 24 Hours in the refrigerator
Mascarpone Cheese Ingredients
PLEASE NOTE: These are the doses you need to get about 300 grams (10,5 ounces or about 1 1/2 cups) of mascarpone cheese.
- 500 ml (1,1 pound or 2 cups) of heavy cream (also known as whipping cream, high quality with a fat content of 30% to 40%)
- 2 g (1/2 teaspoon) of citric acid, or 7 ml (1 1/2 teaspoon) filtered lemon juice
Kitchen Tools and Equipment
To make homemade mascarpone cheese, it’s necessary to gently heat the cream to a temperature between 82°C and 85°C (between 180°F and 185°F). It’s therefore necessary to have a kitchen thermometer.
You will also need a juicer, preferably with a strainer, to extract the lemon juice.
Then you need a large strainer, a bowl of the same size and a clean dishcloth with a not too thick weave. There are also handy unbleached organic cotton cheesecloth bags for straining cheese on the market.
Step 1) – To make homemade mascarpone cheese, start by squeezing the lemon and straining the juice. If using citric acid, dissolve it in 5 ml (1 teaspoon) of warm water. Set aside.
Place the heavy cream in a small saucepan over LOW HEAT. Stir thoroughly as the cream heats up so the water evaporates.
Step 2) – The temperature should be between 82°C and 85°C (between 180°F and 185°F). This requires the use of a thermometer.
PLEASE NOTE: This step is very important because if the temperature exceeds 85°C (185°F), the proteins in the cream will break down.
Once the correct temperature is reached, turn off the heat and add the lemon juice (or citric acid). Stir for a few minutes.
Step 3) – You will notice that the cream starts to get a little thick. At this point, cover the saucepan and let it sit at room temperature for one hour.
Meanwhile, take a fairly large strainer and place it over a container.
Step 4) – Place a clean dishcloth (or the appropriate cotton cheesecloth bags) – with a not very thick weave – inside the strainer.
Pour the “quasi-mascarpone” into the dishcloth. This will allow the remaining water to pass through the mesh of the tea towel and fall into the container.
You must discard the liquid from the bowl. The solid part remains in the cloth and is the “real” mascarpone.
Step 5) – Cover with cling film and refrigerate.
The process of filtering and separating the liquid part from the creamy part is slow. It will take 24 hours, during which time you should keep the mixture in the refrigerator.
Step 6) – After 24 hours, remove the bowl from the refrigerator. The mixture will be solid and can be scooped out with a spoon. While the bottom of the bowl will be liquid and must be thrown away.
Your mascarpone is ready. Now you can make many delicious recipes with this homemade mascarpone cheese!
How to Store Homemade Mascarpone Cheese
Store homemade mascarpone in a clean bowl covered with plastic wrap or in a lidded jar.
Of course, homemade mascarpone does not keep as well as industrial mascarpone. You must use it within 2-3 days or it will go rancid.
Can you Freeze Mascarpone?
We don’t recommend freezing.
Once thawed, mascarpone loses some of its creaminess and flavor. This is because the fatty part of mascarpone separates from the watery part at low temperatures, forming lumps.
If you really need to freeze it, you must first add sugar. This absorbs the liquid part of the mascarpone.
Once thawed, you can only use it to make desserts.
Therefore, even if we don’t recommend freezing mascarpone in pure form, it retains its texture and flavor when frozen with sugar in preparations such as the classic tiramisu.
I don’t Have a Thermometer, What Should I do?
As we have already mentioned, we recommend the use of a thermometer because it’s very important to maintain the correct temperature.
We recommend that you buy one. It’s essential for certain preparations.
If you definitely don’t have a thermometer, we recommend that you turn off the heat as soon as the first bubbles appear.
DO NOT BOIL COMPLETELY.
The risk of not using a thermometer is that the mascarpone will not be as good as it could be.
How Long Should I Keep Mascarpone in the Refrigerator?
As long as possible. Do not shorten the resting time of mascarpone in the refrigerator. The longer you let the cheese rest and cool, the firmer and creamier it becomes.
What is the Best Heavy Cream to Use to Make Mascarpone at Home?
Use high quality, high fat fresh heavy cream. Preferably around 30-40% of fat.
The better the quality of the cream, the better the homemade mascarpone will be!
Lemon Juice or Citric Acid?
As mentioned above, you can use pure citric acid instead of lemon juice.
For half a liter (2 cups) of fresh heavy cream, we recommend using 2 grams (1/2 teaspoon) of citric acid dissolved in 5 ml (1 teaspoon) of warm water.
But which is the best choice?
From the point of view of taste, it’s preferable to use lemon juice. The taste of mascarpone is closer to the usual one.
But not all lemons contain the same amount of citric acid. You have to be careful to add a few drops when you see that the cream does not thicken. Without overdoing it or the mascarpone will be too sour.
It’s always best to strain the lemon juice before adding it to the heavy cream.
Citric acid guarantees a good result. With lemon, the mascarpone taste better.
How to Make Vegan Mascarpone Cheese
There are dairy-free alternatives that are a great option for those who are vegan or trying to avoid dairy.
The one made with soy yogurt and vegetable cream sounds great to us!
- 500 ml (2 cups) of soy yogurt
- 300 ml (1 1/4 cups) of vegetable cream
- A pinch of salt
Line a colander with cotton cloth and place it over a bowl.
Pour in the soy yogurt, pressing down with a spoon. Close the cloth flaps into a bundle and refrigerate for at least 7 to 8 hours.
When ready, place the yogurt cream in a bowl. Whip the vegetable cream, then add to the drained yogurt and season with a pinch of salt.
Refrigerate for 4 to 5 days.
You can use vegan mascarpone in so many recipes, both sweet and savory.
Mascarpone History and Legends
The true origins of Mascarpone are not entirely known, but its production and consumption certainly date back several centuries.
Mascarpone was born in Lombardy, especially in Lodi and Abbiatense, areas of farmers and breeders.
In fact, it’s believed that it was first processed in the 12th century to store and use surplus milk.
In fact, in the late autumn, just before calving, cows produced milk with a high fat and protein content and in large quantities.
It was also the best time to store this delicate product, which does not like high temperatures.
Mascarpone even appears in an ancient text on milk and its derivatives, the “Summa Lacticinorum” of 1477.
The name “mascarpone” is thought to derive from the word “mascherpa”, which means “milk cream” in the Lombard dialect.
There are many curious legends about mascarpone.
It’s said that Napoleon was so fond of mascarpone that when he tasted it in Lodi in May 1796, he fell in love with it and asked for more of it when he returned to France.
It also seems that mascarpone was the cause of the suicide of the famous French chef Francois Vatel.
Legend has it that the great chef killed himself in despair when he could not find the amount of mascarpone he needed to prepare a dessert for the Sun King at the end of a special banquet.