Making homemade cottage cheese always makes me feel like I’m going back to a time when everything was made from scratch. Living in California I am able to use unpasteurized, raw milk and aside from not personally milking the cow, this is as pure as it gets.
Choose to add buttermilk or cream at the end. Buttermilk will give it that tangy flavor typically associated with cottage cheese and cream will give it a richer flavor closer to that of ricotta cheese.
homemade cottage cheese
1 gallon whole milk
1 teaspoon rennet
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons buttermilk or cream
Over low temperature, slowly heat milk to 85F/30C.
Take off the heat and stir in rennet. Continue stirring for 2-3 minutes.
Cover and leave in a warm place for about 3 hours until the milk sets into a jiggly soft jelly consistency.
With a sharp knife, cut diagonally through the cheese mass a few times from each side creating soft cubes.
Slowly heat over a low temperature for 5-10 minutes while gently stirring. During this time the cheese will continue to break up into curds and harden slightly.
Set a strainer lined with cheese cloth over a large bowl and pour in curds and whey and drain for at least one hour. Save whey for later use such as bread liquid or plant food.
Use fingers to break up curd mass and gently mix in salt and buttermilk or cream.
Makes 2 cups.
Photography by Philip Blankenship.