Traditional homemade cottage cheese is made from cultured buttermilk. The bacterial culture gives cottage cheese that unique and delicious flavour. It also means that homemade cottage cheese is probiotic, just like yogurt, kefir and other cultured dairy products!
Some recipes for cottage cheese use vinegar or lemon juice to clabber the milk. However, they are actually just recipes for paneer and/or ricotta. The resulting cheese is flavorless, which is why paneer and ricotta are usually accompanied by more flavourful sauces.
How to use cottage cheese
Cottage cheese is more than just a low fat and high protein snack. This recipe results in a full liter of cottage cheese, so it’s useful to have a few recipes up your sleeve.
- Cottage cheese is a probiotic breakfast or snack. Mix in some fruit and you’ve got a healthy and wholesome treat.
- Pressed cottage cheese will melt, so it is perfect for pizza or grilled cheese sandwiches.
- Cottage cheese can be used like ricotta for homemade lasagna.
- My favourite way to eat cottage cheese (and the main reason why I make it) it to make my favourite Eastern European comfort food… vareniki.
Options for Finishing Cottage Cheese:
There are three options for finishing cottage cheese.
- Drained cottage cheese is a dry curd cottage cheese that is best for cooking.
- To make a snacking-style cottage cheese, stir 1/4 cup heavy cream and 1 tsp of salt (to taste) back into the drained curds.
- To make a pressed cheese, mix 1 tsp of non-iodized salt into the curds. Then pack the curds in to a cheesecloth lined mold. Press for 12-24 hours, rotating halfway through. Here’s more information on how to make pressed cheese.
Traditional homemade cottage cheese is made with buttermilk. It’s an easy, rennet free cheese that is also probiotic. Cottage cheese makes a delicious snack. It can also be pressed into a firm, slicing cheese.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 4-6 cups 1x
- Category: Cheese
- Method: Clabbered
- Cuisine: Traditional
- 1 gallon (4 liters) non-fat milk
- 1/2 cup cultured buttermilk
- Pour milk and the buttermilk into a large pot. You will need enough room to add 8 more cups of liquid so use a soup pot.
- Leave the milk on the kitchen counter for 12 to 14 hour, until it has clabbered.
- Cut the clabbered milk into 1″ curds.
- Heat 8 cups of water to 100 F, then add to curds.
- Keep the curds at around 100F.
- Gently stir the curds every 5 minutes for 30 minutes to 1 hour. The curds will be finished cooking when they are separated from the whey and sink to the bottom of the pot. (See the photo above.)
- Pour the curds into a strainer lined with cheese cloth.
- Rinse the curds with cold water, then allow to drain for 1 hour, until most of the whey is gone.
- At this point you will have dry curd cottage cheese. To make a snacking cottage cheese or pressed cheese see the section above on how to finish cottage cheese.
- Using a higher fat milk is a waste, as the fat will just be drained off with the whey. To make a creamy cottage cheese, stir cream into the drained curds.
- If this is your first time making cheese, I recommend reading up on how to make cheese, for more information about each of the step.
- It can be hard to find good cultured buttermilk in the grocery store. Test store bought buttermilk by making cultured buttermilk before using it to make cottage cheese.
Keywords: traditional, buttermilk, easy, simple, beginner, cheesemaking, DIY, homemade, rennet-free, winter, fall