How to Make Cottage Cheese
Whether you purchase your milk from the grocery store, a local dairy farm, or have your own milking cow, it may surprise you to learn that cottage cheese is very simple to make inside your own kitchen! With a little practice, you may soon find it no more trouble than whipping-up your favorite dessert.
So, exactly what is cottage cheese? It is really nothing more than un-ripened cheese formed by the natural action of lactic acid. It is a highly digestible dairy product that is rich in protein, probiotics, and vitamins. If properly made at home, it has a sweet, mild flavor that many people find more desirable than commercially sold products in-store.
More than likely you already own everything you need to make cottage cheese. The most important thing is that you use stainless steel containers and utensils. Why? Even though homemade cottage cheese is milder than commercial brands, it still contains lactic acid. Lactic acid can build-up, corrode, and cause sanitation concerns when placed in plastic or glass containers. This is why dairy farms strictly use stainless steel equipment.
As far as ingredients go, it is a fairly simple list. Mainly, skim milk and heavy cream are needed. If you are using raw milk, you will need to separate it to make skim milk and heavy cream. This can easily be accomplished by storing the raw milk in a refrigerator for 12 hours. The cold temperature will cause the raw milk to naturally separate. Once it does so, you can skim the cream off the top-part and use the bottom-part of the milk. To simplify this process, you obviously could just purchase skim milk and heavy cream from a local dairy farm or grocery store.
Finally, whatever milk you use, make sure it is pasteurized. It will already be pasteurized if you are using milk from the store. If you are using raw milk, you can pasteurize it by heating the milk in a double broiler on your stove until it reaches 143 degrees. Maintain the milk at this temperature for 30 minutes, remove it from the heat, and cool it in the refrigerator. It is also possible to make cottage cheese with raw milk, but the FDA recommends pasteurization to prevent foodborne illness, and it has also been found that cottage cheese holds a better form when made with pasteurized milk.
1 Gallon of Pasteurized Skim Milk
¾ Cup of White Vinegar
½ Teaspoon of Salt
½ Cup of Heavy Cream
Stainless Steel Pot
Stainless Steel Whisk
Stainless Steel Bowl
Measuring Spoons and Cups
Cheesecloth (found at any fabric retailer)
Place the milk in a stainless steel pot and place it on the stove. Turn the burner onto medium heat, and heat the milk until the temperature rises to 120 degrees. Remove from the heat. Add the vinegar and slowly whisk for 2 minutes. Cover the mixture with a dishcloth, and let it rest for 30 minutes. Pour the mixture over a colander lined with cheesecloth, and let the curds (solid part) drain from the whey (liquid part) for about five minutes. Do not force this process (i.e. do not ring-out the cheese cloth). It will ruin the structure of the curds. Rinse the remaining curds with cold water. Gently move the curds around to make sure they are all properly rinsed, and lightly squeeze the cheesecloth to remove the water. Place the cheese curds in a bowl, and add the remaining cream and salt.
Voile! Now you have homemade cottage cheese that can be served immediately or stored in the refrigerator for up to seven days before it spoils.
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