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Cheese for Cheesecake

Asked by philippopland. Answered on 3rd December 2013

Full question

A cheesecake maker in Australia has told me they use Neufchatel soft cheese . The only cheese I know like that is Neufchatel from Normandy but this is expensive and has a rind on it. So could you enlighten me on the best cream cheese to use please in the making of cheesecakes please? I do live in the moorland area of Lancashire so I am no where near London shops

Our answer

We suspect that the cheese the cheesecake maker is referring to is more commonly known in UK and Europe as reduced fat cream cheese (soft white cheese). In America reduced fat cream cheese is often labelled as Neufchatel and we suspect the same situation may exist in Australia. Nigella uses full fat cream cheese (sometimes labelled as soft white cheese) in all of her cheesecake recipes and this is the type of cheese that we would prefer to use in cheescake recipes.

Neufchatel in Europe is an aged cheese with a slightly crumbly texture and a rind, sometimes sold in a heart shape. We are not exactly sure how the US adopted this name for reduced fat cream cheese but there is a tale that a cheesemaker tried to replicate the French cheese in the US and instead ended up with a cheese similar to cream cheese. American Neufchatel has a fat content of around 23% vs. traditional cream cheese that has a fat content of around 33%. Reduced fat cream cheese can be found in most UK supermarkets.

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