When I first started baking cheesecakes I quickly discovered that cream cheese is quite an expensive ingredient, and this fun new hobby was absolutely not budget-friendly. At the time, the costs for the ingredients for a simple cheesecake added up to €16. So I turned to making my own cream cheese which is much more affordable and actually not that difficult. And moreover, there aren't any unwanted ingredients added to improve shelve life.
In the recipe below I added some useful tips, but simly put, making your own cream cheese comes down to this: pour one liter of organic full-fat yogurt onto a cheesecloth, and hang it over a bowl for 12 hours. That's all.
Two usefull tips before I sign off: 1. Be sure to use plain organic full-fat yogurt, because commercial and low-fat yogurt don't work too wel for this. 2. If you want to make a cheesecake with homemade cream cheese, start two days before you want to serve your cheesecake. That gives you enough time to get the right consistency for the cream cheese and to let the cheesecake set in the fridge.
Place a large square of clean cheesecloth over a bowl, and pour the yogurt onto it. Bunch the ends of the cloth together, either by making a knot, or using an elastic band or string. Suspend the bundle over a large bowl - I attach mine to a wooden spoon and hang it on two hooks, but get creative and do what works for you. Make sure the cloth is above the bowl for you're going to be straining out the whey, and that doesn't work too well if the cloth is hanging in the liquid. Drain for 12 to 24 hours, however do experiment with this. I find 12 hours is usually enough, but it depends on the time of year, the quality of the yogurt and the temperature in my kitchen. That's it, you've made your own cream cheese.