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About Bagels -- Spreads 1
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Associating bagels with cream cheese is as natural as thinking of moms and apple pie. Of course, there's nothing wrong with unaltered crem cheese, but combine it creatively with herbs, spices, fruits, vegetables, jellies and jams, and the good tastes multiply.

All Cream Cheeses Are Not The Same

Think cream cheese and probably the first image you conjure is a silver paper-wrapped package of Philadelphia Brand Cream cheese in perfectly shaped 3- or 8- ounce bricks. Today, there ae different types of cream cheeses packaged by a variety of companies - "lite", "fat-free", "whipped" and "soft" varieties. How are they alike and different?

Cream cheese is a soft, uncured cheese made of cow's milk, with cream added. The type was originated in 1872 by a dairyman from Chester, New York, named Lawrence. The special richness and smoothness of cream cheese comes from the whole milk and added cream. It is one of the few world-famous cheeses made from the lactic acid method rather than the rennet method of coagulating the curd. In 1880, another cheese maker contracted to distribute the cheese under the Philadelphia Brand trademark. In the late 19th century, Philadelphia was known for its superb-quality dairy products, so the cheese was named for the Philadelphia although it was not made there. Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese became a Kraft product in 1928.

Neufchatel cheese is a soft rennet cheese made of cow's milk. Its major source is the Department of Seine Inferieura, France.

Neufchatel is made in the same manner as cream cheese, but its moisture content is higher, its fat content and calories are lower and it is softer than the standard cream cheese. It is sometimes flavored with pimento or spices.

Light cream cheese has one-third less fat than regular cream cheese. Generally skim milk replaces whole milk and reduces the fat content. Its name and fat content vary by cheese-processing companies. Check labels among products an dcompare calorie and fat content.

Fatfree or nonfat cream cheese offers consumers zero fat content.

Soft cream cheese was introduced in 1980 under the Philadelphia Brand, and is now available under many different brands. It is nearly identical in flavor to brick cream cheese; however, the body and texture are significantly different.

Also on the market are light and fat-free soft cream cheeses.

Whipped cream cheese has a fluffy consostency due to a whipping process that incorporates air into the cheese. Whipped cream cheese is available already flavored as well as plain.

Storing And Freezing Cheeses

Cream cheese and Neufchatel cheese are very perishable and should be refirgerated until ready to use. Kraft Food Company recommends taht once opened, either rewrap or reseal the product in tis original package and place it in an additional plastic sotrage bag or other airtight container. Refrigerate immediately and use within 2 weeks after opening.

Many cheese packages are dated with a "best when purchased by" caution. Look for the dates on a box top, and end flap, a package sleeve or the bottom of a tub.

Also in your grocer's refrigerators are cottage cheese, farmer's cheese, ricotta cheese, Dutch cheese and pot cheese. All are variations on a textured cheese made of pasturized skim milk to which lactic acid cultures are added. Many can be substituted for cream cheese in the recipes given. Continued In About Bagels - Spreads 2

The Best Bagels Are Made At Home by Dona Z. Meilach Isbn 1-55867-131-5

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