My son absolutely loves homemade cottage cheese, which I started making but after reading the ingredient list on a carton from the grocery store. Instead of the “lactose, salt, guar gum, mono and diglycerides, xanathan gum and carob bean gum” that come in the store-bought stuff, homemade cottage cheese has just a few simple ingredients I already had.
Now, I’m no stranger to making cheese at home. I’ve shared my homemade Pimento Cheese recipe, but it starts with store-bought cheese. But I’ve made plenty of other homemade cheese, too. My favorite (so far) has to be the Cotswald Cheese I made a couple of years ago.
Cheese like that takes days to make and months to age. Homemade cottage cheese? You can make it in less than an hour (with less than 10 minutes of active time on your part) and eat it that very same day. In fact, it’s best if you do eat it right away, but if you can’t it keeps in an air-tight container for a few days. Or you can store it in a vacuum-sealed jar and enjoy it for a week or more.
What’s All That Extra Liquid?
One thing you’ll notice while making this Homemade Cottage Cheese recipe is that there’s a lot of liquid coming out of the curds when you drain them. That stuff is known as whey, and it’s same the yellowish liquid that pools on your store-bought cottage cheese, sour cream or yogurt. Save this stuff: it’s a real protein powerhouse!
Gather the whey and pour it into muffin tins, then freeze and pop out the discs to store in a freezer bag. Use whey in place of some of the water when you make stock from kitchen scraps, replace part of the water when making baked goods, and add it to smoothies.
How To Make Homemade Cottage Cheese
One important note: ultra-pasteurized milk does NOT work when making cheese at home. Unfortunately, most organic milk sold in grocery stores is ultra-pasteurized, so if you’re eating organic you may have to make an exception here. If that’s the case, and you’re concerned about the growth hormones in the U.S. dairy supply, look for conventional milk bearing a label that says it comes from cows not treated with artificial hormones (rBST, rBGH) and which are GMO-free.
So, ready to make cottage cheese on your own? Grab a gallon of milk, a small jug of cream, some white vinegar and your salt shaker, then let’s get started!
- 1 gallon skim milk
- ¾ cup white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Pour milk into a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Heat slowly to 190 degrees stirring regularly so milk doesn't burn on the bottom of the pot.
- Remove milk from heat, pour in vinegar and stir a few times. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, line a colander with a clean piece of doubled cheesecloth or muslin, or a clean, smooth cotton dishtowel. Place the colander over another bowl to catch any liquid (whey) that drips out.
- Spoon the solids from the pot into the lined colander. Let drain for 30 minutes.
- Gather the ends of the cloth tightly together and form a cloth-wrapped ball of cheese. Holding this in one hand, run cold water over the ball, kneading and squeezing it with your other hand until the entire ball of cheese is cool.
- Dump the cheese out of the cloth into a bowl and use your fingers or a fork to break it into small curds around ¼ inch in size.
- Stir in the cream and add salt to taste.
- Chill for at least 1 hour and stir before serving.
Homemade cottage cheese is, of course, delicious on its own or topped with fruit. Or switch it up and go savory by stirring in chopped tomatoes and red onions, and seasoning it with cracked black pepper. Turn it into a dip with a little homemade Ranch dressing mix, or use it in place of ricotta when making lasagne. Any way you use it, homemade cottage cheese is delicious!
Equipment I Use To Make This: