Monday, August 5, 2013
Nancy's Organic Cultured Cream Cheese
My husband loves bagels and cream cheese for breakfast. I make my own low sodium bagels, following the King Arthur Four recipe for Water Bagels. I cut both the yeast and salt quantities in half and use only 2 tablespoons malted milk powder (Carnation’s) instead of the non-diastatic malt powder. I also use half all-purpose and half white whole wheat. I often include a heaping tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds and another tablespoon of dried chopped onion for additional flavor. I make 12 bagels instead of 16 from the recipe. They come out nice and chewy, not soft and fluffy like most store bought bagels. I store them in the freezer. (By the way, I make what we call “bagel buns.” The hole is allowed to close up so there no danger of stuff falling through.)
A toasted bagel spread with cream cheese makes a perfect breakfast. During the summer months, nothing beats a thick slice of fresh, ripe tomato along with the cream cheese. I like to add thin slices of red onion and a couple of sprinkles of hot sauce. Sometimes my husband will add a slice of low sodium deli turkey or a couple of slices of low sodium salami. Or a smear of a savory spread like jalapeno pepper jam. If the bagels don’t have onion in them, any jelly would be great. I like the combination of butter, cream cheese, and peanut butter.
I normally buy store brand whipped cream cheese because it has the lowest sodium content. The air whipped into the cream cheese makes it more spreadable but also cuts the sodium content per serving. However yesterday I discovered the ultimate low sodium cream cheese – Nancy’s! I’ve purchased Nancy’s cottage cheese from time to time when I couldn’t get to Safeway for their salt-free product. So I was sure the cream cheese would be OK. But I was absolutely blown away by the sodium content – 2 tablespoons equals 35 mg. sodium. Yes, that’s right! 35 mg. sodium for 2 tablespoon of cream cheese! Amazing! And even more amazing is that it tastes so good and has a wonderfully creamy texture.
I was so excited that I bought two tubs. It’s organic, contains live cultures, and has no stabilizers. Understandably, it costs more than the store brand whipped cream cheese I’ve been buying. But the low sodium content combined with the live cultures and lack of stabilizers make it worthwhile to me.
I found it at a local supermarket chain in the Sacramento area. Next time I shop at Whole Foods, I’ll look for it there too. I like to keep cream cheese on hand for all kinds of thing, not just bagels. Add a tablespoon to scrambled eggs a few minutes before they’re completely cooked and you’ll have creamy and delicious eggs. Add a tablespoon or two to any hot cooked vegetable for an instant cream sauce. You can do something similar with hot cooked noodles or rice. I also like to add a dollop of cream cheese to muffins: fill the muffin tin halfway with batter, spoon on the cream cheese, and top with the remaining batter. It makes a great all-in-one breakfast package.