"When I walk into my kitchen today, I am not alone. Whether we know it or not, none of us is. We bring fathers and mothers and kitchen tables, and every meal we have ever eaten. Food is never just food. It's also a way of getting at something else: who we are, who we have been, and who we want to be."
-Molly Wizenberg, A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, 2009
This post accompanies my talk on BTO for Tuesday March 15th, 2011.
It's super easy to make your own homemade cottage cheese. Even easier than making ricotta. It's easier because the milk only has to get to 120 degrees, and that happens pretty quick. The directions are straightforward, pour vinegar in heated milk, wait for curds to separate from whey, and strain the curds from the whey. Later add a little cream back in the mix for a creamy delicious treat. If you are watching your fat intake go ahead and add a little milk back in, or even add a little yogurt, if you'd like.
|the whey separating from the curds|
|straining the curds from the whey|
the finished curds
I think it's much better than store bought cottage cheese. The curds alone taste a little like mozzarella cheese. They are soft and have a nice texture. A little half and half or cream added back in is super delicious.
I used half nonfat milk and half 2% only because I had a little from each carton left, only nonfat would be fine. Raw milk would give it even more flavor.
I made this using a 1/2 gallon of milk, you can increase it to one gallon easily by doubling it. The half gallon of milk only gave me about 1 cup of curds, so plan accordingly. It only lasts about 3 or 4 days in the fridge so only make as much as you will eat in that time.
Homemade Cottage Cheese
1/2 gallon milk (8 cups) (2,000 ml, or 2 liters) skim (nonfat) or 2% or whole raw milk
1/3 cup (100 ml) white vinegar
a pinch or 2 of salt
a few tablespoons of milk or cream to add at the end to each serving
Heat the milk in a large non reactive (not aluminum) saucepan over medium heat. Stir it often and don't turn up the heat too much because milk likes to stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.
Heat until it reaches 120 degrees Fahrenheit, 49 degrees Celsius. Turn off the heat and remove the pan from the burner. Add the vinegar and give it a good stir, at this point you will start to see the curds separating from the whey. The whey is the greenish liquid. The riboflavin or vitamin B2 gives it that green hue.
Let it sit for 30 minutes undisturbed.
Line a colander with a thin clean tea towel or cheesecloth set over a large bowl. Pour the curds over the colander to strain the whey. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
Now rinse the curds by holding the towel or cheesecloth with the curds in it over cold water. Rinse it for a few minutes, until the curds are cold. While you are rinsing it, break up the curds with your fingers.
Squeeze most of the moisture out of it. Transfer it to a bowl. Add a few pinches of salt and stir. If you will be eating it now, go ahead and mix in a few tablespoons per serving of milk or cream, or yogurt for a creamy texture. If you aren't eating it now, store the curds without anything added in the fridge for a few days.