Raw Milk Cottage Cheese Recipe
This is so simple and with only one needed ingredient (no starter cultures needed, although some cream and salt and pepper would make it even better), and only a little time, I'm not sure this can really be a recipe. But once you make it you will never want store bought cottage cheese again. At the end of the week we normally have anywhere from 1/2 to a 1/4 of a gallon of our raw milk left, I use this milk to make the cottage cheese, everyone in the family looks forward to it.
Please visit the blog link to see step by step pictures of the process if you need them.
Take your milk and pour it into a glass bowl, cover with a tea towel and let sit until the milk has thickened. This should take about a day to two days depending on the temperature of the room and how old your milk is. You can remove the cream from the top, or leave it there and when the milk is ready you can spoon the cream off the top and have sour cream.
The milk should look like yogurt when it is ready. When you put a finger in the milk it should hold the cut. Another way to know if it is thick enough is to place the back of a spoon on the edge of the bowl and press down on the curd lightly. If it pulls away from the side of the bowl without filling the spoon it is ready. But you don't want it to sit so long that the whey starts to separate from the curd. When it is ready, pour the milk into a sauce pan and set to low.
With the milk on low, stir gently, don't worry about keeping the curd in one piece it will not stay together and it will need to break apart at some point. Keep it on low, stirring often until the curd releases the whey. This shouldn't take too long and you will want to keep an eye on it, it should take 5-10 minutes. You will know when this happens because the curd will sink to the bottom and the whey will be on top. When you start the cooking the milk, the whey will start to separate, but as it keeps cooking whey will rise to the top and you will see a definite difference in the look of it.
Once the curds and whey have separated line a bowl with a tea towel or a few pieces of cheese cloth. Pour the curds and whey into the lined bowl and then hang the towel. I put the towel under my stack of dishes. It is not recommended to hang it on your cupboard doors as this can cause the doors to start hanging crooked.
Let this hang until the whey has all dripped out. This can take a while if you just want to let it be, or you can rush it along by squeezing the bag. I find that giving the cloth a few squishes when the whey starts to slow down helps speed up the process also. I let it drip until it drips every couple seconds. This could take 5-15 minutes (if you squish the bag), to an hour or longer if you just let it be.
When the whey has been dripped out the curd is solid but not absolutely dry. You should still feel moisture on the curd. Once the whey has been dripped out, crumble the curd into a bowl, if you are going to eat it right away, or a container to store it in for later.
You can leave it how it is and eat it without cream, or use it in lasagna. Or you can add the cream and salt and pepper to taste. I use about a half a cup of cream per half gallon of milk used, but add how much you like.
A couple extra notes: You can save the cream from the milk you use to put on the cottage cheese when done, or use fresh cream. Because the whey has been heated it does not work well for soaking grains, but you can use it in bread, compost, or for watering the garden.
*It MUST be raw milk, pasteurized milk does not contain the needed enzymes and bacteria, and you will only get sour, spoiled milk. I like to use milk that is about a week old as I find that it gives the best flavor in a reasonable time.