Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Making Cottage Cheese

There are probably as many ways to make cottage cheese at home as there are to make butter. The method that I've always used is super-simple and turns out a product that is as good as anything you can buy. Actually I think it's even better!

The only caveat I'll throw in here is that I've never made the cottage cheese with anything other than raw milk. So I truly don't know what results you would get using store bought milk. I've used both whole and skim raw milk with very good results.

Okay, let's make cottage cheese.

Pour two quarts of milk in a large saucepan.

Over a medium heat, and using a thermometer, bring the milk just up to 190 degrees. I find this usually takes about 15 minutes. I give the milk a stir now and then during this period just to make sure the heat is getting distributed evenly through the milk.

Pour the milk into a ceramic bowl and add 1/4 cup white vinegar.

Give the milk and vinegar a stir and you will immediately see curds forming. Let this mixture sit on the counter at room temperature for 2 hours.

At the end of the 2 hours, using a large strainer, carefully pour the liquid and curds into the strainer. You can discard the liquid.

Using cold water, give the curds a good rinsing until the water coming out is clear.

Put the curds in a bowl, add 1/2 teaspoon salt and mix in heavy cream to get the consistency desired. I usually use about 1/2 cup of cream.

Here it is . . . over 2 cups of cottage cheese from 2 quarts of milk.

We use it in any way you might use purchased cottage cheese.

I like to make a kind of a fruit cup to serve with breakfast. Put as much cottage cheese as you like in a serving dish, and add chunks of fruit of your choice: apples, bananas, oranges, grapes, etc. Pour a small amount of orange juice over mixture in the dish.

For lunch in the summer, I often serve a dish of cottage cheese with assorted chopped veggies. (I especially like this with French dressing drizzled over the top.)

As long as I have fresh chives growing in the garden, I always mix a bunch in with our cottage cheese. When I was growing up, in the spring time the grocery stores would offer cottage cheese with or without chives, but I don't think they do that anymore.

If any of you try it with store bought milk, I'd be interested in knowing if this method works. Whichever way you try it, I hope it works for you.


Patty said...

WOW! I can't WAIT to try that!! Thanks!

Patty said...

I forgot to ask, what do you do with the whey? Can you use it to make bread or something? It seems a shame to waste it.

Katidids said...

Oh that does sound good! I'm with Patty, Ihave to try this as I love cottage cheese!

Jenyfer Matthews said...

I am so so going to try this recipe when I find a source for raw milk. An Indian friend of mine showed me how to make paneer in a similar way only she used lemon juice to make it curdle.

When she poured it off, she used the whey to make rice.

Jennifer Jo said...

So how is this different from ricotta (or queso blanco)? Just the temperature difference?

I've made cottage cheese but used rennet. Had to cook, cool, slice the curd, cook more, drain...or something like that. It had the same texture as store-bought, but tasted delicious (I like store-bought, too). Your way is definitely simpler! And it looks delicious.

Erin said...

This looks so good! I love cottage cheese, but only with the big curds like you did, it seems to me that the store bought looks like you are eating sour cream! I definitely want to try this and will research if I can do it with store bought milk or at least I will try with the pasturized stuff I can get from the local creamery, maybe that's better than the ultra-pasturized store stuff. Not sure when, though?!!!

Mama Pea said...

Good Morning, all you cottage cheese lovin' ladies! I must confess, I've never saved and used the whey. (Shamey, shamey, Mama Pea.) I definitely need to learn how to do so.

JJ, I don't truly understood the difference between cottage cheese and ricotta cheese. I know recipes call for specifically one or the other but I'm ignorant as to how ricotta is different. Can you fill me in?

This simple process really does turn out a good, good product so I hope all of you try it when you find the time. And please let me know how it goes for you!

beth said...

Something else on my long list of mama pea recipes I want to try someday.

Patty said...

I'm going to try this just as soon as I can get my behind up to the dairy! I think I'll try saving the whey to make bread, and see if it works. Some types of whey can give bread a nice sour dough flavor. I'll let you know what the outcome is.

Mama Pea said...

Hi, Beth - Do try this recipe when you find the time . . . it's really good!

Hey, Patty - Yes, please do let me know how your using the whey from the process turns out. We love the flavor of sourdough bread so using the whey might be the way to go.

Melissa said...

Just now getting online and found you had posted your method for cottage cheese. Thanks so much! I am thrilled I don't have to get anything special to make it. Sometimes we have too much milk, so this will be perfect. Have any of you tried scrambled eggs with cottage cheese? Talk about delicious. Just put a big spoonful in when you are scrambling the eggs. It's my favorite way to eat cottage cheese and uses up our excess eggs from the busy hens. Could also use it in lasagna. Enjoy the rain you got, Mama Pea!

Melissa said...

Oh, I forgot to mention that chickens like to "eat" whey and it is probably good for them. Of course, hogs like it as well!

Mama Pea said...

Hey, Melissa - I'm glad you spied the cottage cheese blog! I've never thought about putting it in scrambled eggs . . . we, too, are trying to find ways of using up our extra eggs so scrambled eggs are often on the menu. I'll try the cottage cheese in them next time. I always use it in my lasagna. I think the recipe originally called for ricotta but the homemade cottage cheese is the way to go as far as I'm concerned.

We ARE enjoying the rain we've gotten. It was truly a blessing.