Saturday, March 5, 2011

How to make Cottage Cheese the easy way

This adventure started from a horrible discovery that TWO gallons of milk (that's like two gallons of gas these days) had begun to sour five days before expiration date.  ARGH!!!  Not wanting to pour them down the sink,  I began searching for ways to use the soured milk and I happened upon Homemade Quick Cottage Cheese.

I must confess I really have never thought to make my own.  We really don't use it that much unless I have a coupon or I'm making lasagna.   We found two recipes that seemed easy enough to follow and they seemed very similar.  Needless to say,  I was actually a little giddy when I finished and thrilled with the outcome.
Cottage Cheese

1 gallon fat-free milk (I used 2% because that's what went bad)
3/4  cup white vinegar

You’ll also need a:
vinegar and soured milk
Cheesecloth or any other porous towel (good to have in a kitchen anyway)

2nd batch got a little warm

Pour your milk into a pan  

Using a thermometer, position it so that is it touching the milk but not the pan. Heat the milk up to 120 degrees

When it reaches that temperature, turn off the heat. Add the vinegar. Let sit for a half hour. 
making curds and whey

Now it gets a little gross. The milk curdles and separates into curds and whey.  You might think you are doing it wrong, but  that’s what’s supposed to happen.   **See end of post for ideas of what to do with whey.
Draining the whey off

Put a cheesecloth across a colander and dump the mixture out into it. Let the gross stuff drain away for about 3 minutes. 
I used mosquito netting

Wrap the cottage cheese in the cheesecloth and run under cool tap water for about 3 more minutes, knead the cheese with your fingers. 

Cottage cheese
Finally, pour the cheese into a bowl. You have just made cottage cheese.  Mine was very fine - just think of it was VERY SMALL CURD!  I put it in a tightly sealed container and put it in the fridge until I make lasagna this week. 

 There are two ways you can now use this:
  •  mix it with some half-n-half and salt and it taste delicious
  •  cook in lasagna or any other pasta dish that calls for ricotta  
    • "Ricotta, real ricotta, is made from the whey left over after making mozzarella (or other soft cheeses), and whey can be used for other things, too, pickles and soda and way beyond."
    • "There is vegetable rennet, and there is animal based rennet. Using rennet per the enclosed instructions, (can be obtained through a cheese maker supplier, or you can buy Junket from the grocer). The resulting whey can be used to make ricotta. Unless the milk is fortified with the calcium chloride, the yield is small. Ricotta can also be made with whole milk."
I hope that you'll try to make this and if you do, please come back and leave me a note of your experience and results.  I'd love to hear from you!

 **At Savy Housekeeping, there were several comments that the leftover whey could be used for several things.  I plan on making pizza and pancakes this week and using the whey I kept in the back of the fridge.
  • water when making bread can give the bread a tangy flavor
  • an ideal substitute for buttermilk
  • soup
  •  cooking rice
  •  pizza base
  • while making eggs, add some whey. The egg will be a little mushier (wet) but delicious 
  •  can be frozen, or just stored in the refrigerator well covered, until used
  •  pancakes

    1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    i haven't done it yet, but want to thank you for a money saving way to use sour milk. I love this idea. will try soon.