All the recipes for homemade marscapone cheese I have seen use some type of cream with at least 35% fat. Whereas other fresh cheeses can be made with lower fat % milk.

I'm not sure how much fat percentage is in whole milk (I never see it stated on the bottle) but it looks pretty fatty (I can see the fat separate a bit on top before you shake the bottle)

Can this type of milk be used to make marscapone cheese? If not why?

  • 1
    The amount of fat in commercial "whole" milk depends on where you are. In the US, it's usually 4%, but here in Guatemala I've noticed it's 3%. If you're using raw milk from a cow, then the percent of fat depends on the animal, their diet, and possibly other factors, but is often said to average in the 5-6.5% range for many popular cow breeds.
    – Flimzy
    Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 18:34

3 Answers 3


Practically all dairy starts with full fat milk, this is all that comes out of a cow.

The process of cheesemaking centers around separating the curds from the whey (except for making true ricotta, which is made from whey). The fat stays with the curds. So the fat content of your cheese goes sharply up compared to the liquid you started with, because you are throwing out most of the water, as well as some proteins and carbohydrates, but keeping all the fat.

There are cheeses which start with cream. In theory, they can also be said to be started from milk, because cream itself is made from milk. In practice, if you want to make them at home, you will start with store-bought cream.

As far as I'm aware, it is not possible to make mascarpone or cream cheese when starting from milk. If there is a way, it would require a recipe different from the one starting from cream. So, if you have a recipe which asks for cream, you should follow it with cream and not with milk. Else, even if you manage to get the correct fat percentage, the ratio of proteins to fat or water to fat won't be right.

But if you just have the milk and want to make any fresh cheese, you can make one of the many fresh cheeses which are not started with cream. Tvorog, paneer and quark are all milk based fresh cheeses, and delicious in their own right.

  • Thanks. in theory if I want to start with whole milk I would need to collect the cream from the whole milk (by letting it separate out) then I could use that cream to make cream based cheeses like marscapone?
    – erotavlas
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 1:59
  • 3
    @erotavlas If you can see a cream layer at the top of the milk then apparently the milk you're buying isn't homogenized and you should be able to do that. Most milk sold in stores is homogenized to prevent this though.
    – Ross Ridge
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 4:21

Cottage cheese, and its close cousin "Farmer cheese" can both be made from whole milk.

  • IME, cottage cheese and farmer cheese are related only insofar as both are made from milk.
    – Marti
    Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 20:30
  • @Marti: My experience matches with what Wikipedia says: That they are identical, except in their physical form. That is to say, farmer cheese is pressed cottage cheese.
    – Flimzy
    Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 21:04

According to one recipe for marscapone, the ideal butterfat content for the final product is 20-25%.

US Whole milk is only 3.25%, so you'd need to boost things with some heavy cream (36%). (UK is 3.5%)

But there are less fatty cheeses that can be made with whole milk.

  • How odd. I'd swear the US line read 3.6 when I linked it. Editing.
    – Don Simon
    Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 19:33

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