Let the cheesemaking begin – cottage cheese

This weekend I was determined to start with my cheese making experiments, and although it was a full weekend with dinners out with  friends and sleeping out on Saturday night, I still managed to fit in my first attempt at making cottage cheese.

Last week I had trawled the interwebs looking at various cottage cheese recipes. There are very many different recipes, some of which are really simple, to those that use fancy equipment and take a lot more time.  Because I like simple things using few ingredients I decided to start at the very simple recipes and work my way through them till I find one that I love. The result was absolutely divine and will search no further for a cottage cheese recipe.  If you are interested in trying to make cottage cheese, you do not need rennet, double boilers and 12 hours draining time as some recipes specify. You also don’t have to use skim milk as some other recipes specify – full cream does really nicely. This simple recipe worked like a bomb.

Simple, delicious, cottage cheese.

Equipment needed:

  • A stainless steel or enamel pot that can contain the amount of milk you choose to use. (Do not use aluminium.)
  • A plastic or stainless steel stirring spoon.
  • A plastic or stainless steel colander. (Not essential but it makes things a little easier.)
  • Double layer of muslin or cheese cloth ( you can use a clean dish towel also.)
  • Food thermometer. (Handy but not essential for this cheese.)
  • Sharp knife
  • Measuring cup

Ingredients:

  • Milk (full cream or skim – raw or pasteurized but NOT homogenized or UHT)
  • White vinegar (you can also use lemon juice (1 tbsp per liter of milk)
  • Fresh cream
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional herbs and flavorings

Volumes:

For every liter of milk you use you will need 50 ml vinegar and 3 to 4 tbsp of fresh cream.  2 liters of full cream milk will make about 300 g of cottage cheese (just over one standard store-bought tub of 250 g)

Method:

  • Warm milk gently to just before boiling point without scalding it on the bottom – I used a thick based pan to spread the heat and warmed it slowly eliminating the need to use a double boiler. I heated my milk to 80 deg C, checking it with my new nifty cheese thermometer.

  • Turn off the heat and pour in the white vinegar and stir for 20 seconds till curds form. (This happens fast.)

  • Allow to cool for a little then pour into a colander lined with a double layer of cheesecloth.
  • Allow whey to drain out of the curds for about 10 minutes.
  • Hold together the corners of your cheesecloth and twist to force all of the whey out of the curds.
  • Keeping the curds in the cheesecloth bundle, wash the bundle under running cold water loosening and tightening the bundle a few times to rinse all the whey out of the cheese.  Do this for about 5 minutes.

  • Tightly squeeze as much of the water out of the curds as possible.
  • Remove the curds from the cheesecloth and place in a bowl.
  • Cut up the curds to the desired size – I like my cottage cheese quite chunky.

  • Salt the curds to taste, add any herbs or spices that you would like to use, and stir in the fresh cream. (I did not use any flavoring besides salt as I wanted to taste the cheese itself). Feel free to add more cream if you want a wetter product.
  • Serve.

If you have not tasted homemade cottage cheese, then you have not tasted good cottage cheese yet.  It’s so very easy to make and takes less than an hour from beginning to end.  Yum!

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4 thoughts on “Let the cheesemaking begin – cottage cheese

  1. Well done! I used to make it for my dog, on the recommendation of the vet. As you say, very easy to do and certainly most tasty! Great pics:-)

    Like

  2. Awright!! You got to break in the new cheese thermometer! Cool! I have never tasted homemade cottage cheese before but it sounds great!

    Like

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