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Cream Cheese Brands

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Been making a lot of bagels lately - and buying cream cheese often.  My wife swears by the Philadelphia brand and will not be fooled.  I've tried all the store brands for half the price and am not convinced that there's much difference.  But I do like the Philadelphia brand as well and think there might be an edge in flavor. 


What do you think?  Are there other respected brands?  Do homemade versions stack up?

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I usually get the Trader Joe's brand.  Philadelphia if I'm at another store.  I never buy whipped or flavored though I don't object to mixing something up at home.  I make a nice smoked salmon and cream cheese spread. That's not for a bagel though. Not for a bagel worth eating. 


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I am not a fan in general. That whipped stuff  - please hold the flavor adds. I'll mash feta or some other fresh cheese. - but nostalgic preferences are strong/

Edited by heidih (log)
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Philadelphia, or Organic Valley, is what I generally use at home - blocks.


But - the cream cheese at Russ & daughters is exceptional, and it may be produced by this company:


Sierra Nevada Cheese


Or it may be produced by Ben's, which I have used and it's great but not that easy to find:


Ben's Cream Cheese



Edited by weinoo (log)

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+1 for Trader Joe's, although it's probably about the same price as Phillie. I've been making quite a few cheesecakes recently, and have been working extensively with the cheaper brands, especially Walmart, which I believe is about 85 cents in the 2 pack. 


The Walmart cheese is definitely softer/wetter and sticks to the packaging more.  For my cheesecake, I soften the cheese in the microwave to be able to incorporate it into the other ingredients.  The Walmart cheese curdles about 40 degrees lower than Trader Joe's.  TJ's is much more stable at higher temps.

As far as taste goes, I've tasted the cheap cheeses and the non cheap ones on bagels, and, while the cheap were still pretty good, I could taste a slight difference. The cheap cream cheese might not be worse, but it's not the same.  At some point I need to blind taste them side by side..

If you're anywhere near a Wegmans, their private label might be a middle ground in terms of quality and price. I haven't tested it that much, but they seem to a do a really nice job with private label dairy.

Edited by scott123 (log)
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