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

    Thursday, March 3, 2011

    Perfecty Easy Dinner Rolls

    After tasting my friend Marilyn's fantastic dinner rolls, I begged her for  the recipe.  She confessed it was one her mother had used, but gladly gave it to me.  I've used this recipe for a few years, now and love it.  It can be easily used to make lip-smacking, ooey delicious cinnamon rolls.

    Servings: 2 dozen rolls
    • 1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F)
    • 2 packages active dry yeast
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 4 - 4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
    • Additional melted butter, (optional)


    • Servings: 2 dzn
    • 1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F)
    • 2 packages active dry yeast
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 4 - 4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
    • Additional melted butter, (optional)


    Combine the warm water and yeast in a large bowl. Let the mixture stand until yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes.

    Stir in butter, sugar, eggs and salt. Beat in flour, 1 cup at a time, until dough is too stiff to mix (some flour may not be needed). At this point, I do like to transfer it to the counter dusted with flour and knead to ensure smoothness of texture. Now you have two options on how to proceed:
    • Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or up to 4 days. Just take it out of the refrigerator, let rise and bake
    • Make sure the dough is floured on the outside and put in the bowl you mixed it in.  Let it rise on the counter, covered with a dishtowel, until doubled in size. Proceed as below.
    When ready to bake

    Grease a 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Turn the chilled dough out onto a lightly floured board. Divide dough into 24 equal-size pieces (about 1 1/2 - 2 oz each). Roll each piece into a smooth round ball; place balls in even rows in the prepared pan. Cover and let dough balls rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. If it is warmer outside, they will rise faster and if it is cooler/cold outside, it will take longer.  Adjust your time accordingly to when they need to be finished.

    Preheat over to 375. Bake until rolls are golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Brush warm rolls with melted butter, if desired. It's a little messier, but I like to take a stick of slightly soft real butter, uncover one end, and run that over the tops and exposed sides of the rolls. Break rolls apart to serve.

    Helpful hints, in this recipe do not use quick rising dry yeast, since it is designed to raise breads quickly.