When Should you Add Cream Cheese to Soup?
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There are going to be two reasons to add cream cheese to a soup or stew. First, the recipe calls for it as part of the initial ingredients. The other would be to thicken up the soup, which is best done with heavy creams, milk, and cream cheeses.
Cream cheese is made from a combination of milk and cream; this does not mean, however, that the products used will be required to be of a dairy nature.
If you would like, there will be perfectly suitable substitutes that can be used instead of lactose-containing products that not everyone will enjoy.
When is the Best Time to Add it?
As alluded above, this is going to be directly related to the needs of the recipe and the directions, but also if you need to correct any mistakes made concerning the thickness of the soup.
Cooking with cheeses can be tough, and there are many different kinds of elements to take into account, such as how all cheeses will contain water, fat, and proteins of differing amounts.
Most soups will call for the addition of heavier cream and cheeses after the initial ingredients have been heated and boiled to a temperature that will ‘melt’ the cheese into a liquid for smoother mixing.
Do You Need to Wait for the Soup to Cool Down?
There are going to be different techniques used to make the best cream cheese soups. In one such recipe from the famous Alton Brown, he details a procedure that takes the heated liquids, removes them from the heat, and allows them to cool for five minutes.
Then he places the cooled liquids into a blender to be mixed more thoroughly. This is not going to be the case with every recipe, nor when you are attempting to correct a thickness issue with the soup.
Sometimes you will want to put the melted cream cheese into the soup during a low heating period. It all really does depend on what the recipe calls for.
What Does Adding Cream to Soup Do?
There are a few things that adding cream will do for a soup beyond the obvious thickening effect that comes with doing so.
First, certain creams will be able to add a certain flavor to the soup, including those natural, daily ‘from the farm’ liquids that will have tones of sweetness from the alfalfa, corn, and grains fed to the milk animals.
Milk for cows will have different flavors than those from goats or oats, which will have different levels of sweetness or sourness and can be fun to experiment with in the kitchen to find that perfect consistency and flavor.
How Much Cream Cheese Should You Use?
This, again, will depend on the recipe, it may seem like a broken record, but the truth is that chefs created these procedures to help guide you to alchemic kitchen perfection.
If you are attempting to fix a soup, especially one that needs to thicken up, start by using the recipe as a guideline.
Next, melt an equal amount of cheese to what has already been added to the soup, and slowly add the cream cheese. Doing it this way will allow you to test the consistency after each pour until the perfection you seek is found.
Common Mistakes You Need to Avoid
The first and most often made mistake is not following directions; there are going to be certain types of chefs that have the ability to improvise and create on the go.
But, unfortunately, most of us are not these people in the kitchen, which then leads to us making a mistake somewhere.
The next, which has been talked about already, will be adding too much water, which directly results in thinner soups, which adding cream or melted cheese can help correct.
Another mistake that is made often is forcing ingredients together, such as instead of easing in the cream cheese melt, just tossing everything into the pot for a boil.
Final Thoughts on When You Should Add Cream Cheese to Soup
Soups may seem easy to make, but at least non-flavorful varieties are an art when crafting tasty stews and soups. Cheese-based soups are tougher to cook properly, especially when you think about the intricate steps some chefs took to create the reproduced recipe.
However, thankfully, there are going to be varieties of these soups in cans; as you learn to craft soups, trying some of these products can help pin down certain flavors you are looking for.
Or, if you can afford it, order soups from around where you live and taste-test what local chefs have created.