How to make cottage cheese at home

Posted on 24 January 2011

In addition to butter, yoghurt and brie, we’ve loved making cottage cheese at home too. It’s so easy we almost don’t want to tell people.  We normally use 2L of Cleopatra’s raw cow’s milk, removing the cream and putting it aside to make our butter.  To remove the cream simply leave your milk standing upright in the fridge so the cream can naturally separate from the milk – you will see a definite line.  Once separated, just make a small hole at the bottom of the bottle, take the lid off the top of the bottle and let the milk drain from the hole in to a separate jar.  When it has drained to the cream line, pour the cream into another container.

We simply pour the skimmed milk in to our large glass jar and allow it to curdle at room temperature for a maximum of 5 days.  You can see in our picture below how the curds and whey begin to separate.  Please don’t try this method with pasteurised, homogenised milk – raw milk contains all the necessary bacteria to make the milk clabber.

The whey is the watery part of the milk. The curd is the solid part.

When we can see it is about half curd and half whey, we simply empty it all in to a muslin lined colander which is sitting in a large pot to catch the whey.

We leave it to drain for 24 hours, spoon the curd in to containers and put it in the fridge… et voila! We have our delicious cottage cheese to eat with our home made jam on toast for breakfast… or to sprinkle over our salads… or mix it with some chives or finely chopped onion over a baked potato… actually, we are constantly finding uses for it. :)

This cottage cheese will keep in the refrigerator for about 5-days.

We keep the whey to use in other cooking because it contains so much of the nutritional value of the milk.  We’ve started adding it to our home made bread but you can use it in mashed potato, gravy, smoothies and more!

 


21 responses to How to make cottage cheese at home

  • Michael says:

    I am looking forward to trying this with raw milk, and the fact that there is no heating of the milk, no rennet, no vinegar or lemon.

    [Reply]

  • Christine says:

    Hello,
    I have been looking for information on how to make cottage cheese not using anything. Do you leave the milk in a warm place or do you just leave it on the counter somewhere. I was told to leave it in a warm place for 2days or so and then heat it up. I’m glad to see this works. I see you have put it in the fridge to take the cream off. Then do you use this same cold milk to make cottage cheese. I was told it had to be used straight from the cow and once cooled in the bulk tank it wouldn’t work. Did you find this info by trial and error or some other source? Thank you for your help

    [Reply]

    Making Sense of Things Reply:

    Hi Christine,
    Thank you for your comment. We just leave ours on top of the fridge so it is out of the way but I guess this is also a warm place! We don’t heat it up afterwards though… simply strain it and put it in containers in the fridge for eating. As for using the cold milk from the fridge after removing the cream… yes, we do this since the cream hasn’t separated from the milk after a bumpy journey home. Cooling it hasn’t prevented us from making delicious cottage cheese. We learnt all this from a very experienced cheese maker and permaculturist in Australia – Elisabeth Fekonia. You can just try a couple of methods and see what you think… don’t forget to let us know what does and doesn’t work so we can make sense of it too!

    [Reply]

  • Marci says:

    I have no access to raw milk, unfortunately. Could milk kefir be used for this … kefir cottage cheese? I have made the milk kefir cream cheese and it’s delish!

    [Reply]

    Making Sense of Things Reply:

    Hi Marci… you could try this kefir cottage cheese recipe and let us know how it goes… I might give it a go this week :)

    http://users.chariot.net.au/~dna/kefir_cheese.html#Kefir-cottage-cheese

    Enjoy!

    [Reply]

  • Rachael says:

    Hi!
    And thank you so much for these simple directions about separating and using curds and whey without using heat.
    I hope you won’t mind answering a question.
    I followed your recipe and everything went fine. but i forgot that i had made two half-gallon jars of this. and the second one has been sitting in the refrig for the last several days. The curds and whey are separated in the bottle but have not been run through the tea towel to be put in separate containers. The lid has not been touched since the day i bought the bottle a week ago.
    My question is, are the curds still good to eat? I can’t find anything indicating one way or other, with any sense of experiential authority, whether the curds have bad bacteria in them that it would be better to discard at this point, or not.
    Of course the dairy is raw. i have been eating the quark from the first jar to the point it tastes a bit sour, but i don’t know anything about the fine difference between when this becomes bad – or not.
    For example, with yogurt, my understanding is that even as the yogurt gets ever-more sour, it’s still good for you. Is this also true with the curds like this??

    Thank you for your help,
    Rachael Rocamora

    [Reply]

    Making Sense of Things Reply:

    Sorry for the late reply Rachael… what did you end up deciding to do? I think it should have been ok to eat since colder temperatures just slow the process down and warmer temperatures speeds it up… but I’m not 100% sure… sorry. Did you find out anything additional about it?

    [Reply]

  • Sue Hanley says:

    THANK YOU times ten thousand! I have been searching all morning for a simple way to make cheese, bypassing the rennet / vinegar, lemon juice/ etc. I will try this right now with the beautiful raw milk I just obtained. You have just made my day — no, my whole week. Blessings! Sue

    [Reply]

    Making Sense of Things Reply:

    No.. THANK YOU… you just made my day with this lovely comment! :)

    [Reply]

  • Rachael says:

    Actually the person who submitted the question did find a useful answer and here is the web address, for anyone else who may be interested:

    http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/101-uses-for-soured-raw-milk/

    [Reply]

    Making Sense of Things Reply:

    Thanks Rachael! It’s as we thought then :)

    [Reply]

  • Rachael says:

    aha. It occurred to me to follow up the terrific answer above with this: PLEASE, BE SURE THAT YOU ARE DEALING WITH R-A-W MILK, AND NOT PROCESSED!
    I had gotten some whey still heavily laced with curds from a different farmer that was still sitting in my refrig from earlier than the RAW milk in question. If you had opened myh refrig to see the two bottles, each from local farmers, you would not have been able to tell the difference.
    But the first one, it turns out, had been boiled in order to separate the whey and curds. The second one was RAW milk, absolutely untouched with heat that way.
    The bacteria in the cooked one would have gone bad fairly quickly, and it could have been dangerous to eat that at this late stage.
    On the other hand the RAW milk – smelled sour [we're not talking about sour cream], meaning unpleasant. Yet this was the one i did end up eating happily over the last week – these two weeks later. My understanding is it’s not different from what basically one uses to make yogurt. It’s a matter of how much of the lactose the good bacteria has been consuming that makes it more or less sour, or we could say, more yogurty.
    If anyone disagrees or sees a risk here, I’d like to know, but after going to the web page mentioned above, which is an article called “101 Uses for Soured RAW Milk,” I feel much more confident that us non-dairy farmers have much to benefit from this information.

    [Reply]

    Making Sense of Things Reply:

    Exactly :) As we mentioned in the post, pasteurised milk doesn’t contain the necessary bacteria to make it clabber :) It’s very important to be sure.

    [Reply]

  • Let food be thy medicine says:

    When letting the milk sit for days is it only covered with cheese cloth? Or should it be sealed with lid?

    [Reply]

    Making Sense of Things Reply:

    It’s only covered with the cheese cloth… as you can see in the picture, I attach it with a rubber band. This is to stop insects and dirt getting in :)

    [Reply]

  • ken douglass says:

    Can this same process be used with goat milk? Everything I read using goat milk has to be heated and rennet or buttermilk added.

    [Reply]

    Making Sense of Things Reply:

    hmmm… I’ve never done it with goat’s milk and to be honest I’m not sure if it has the right bacteria present…. it’s a great question! If you find out, please let us know :)

    [Reply]

  • KWASI says:

    What is the substitute for cheese cloth?

    [Reply]

    Making Sense of Things Reply:

    ummm… you could try any material to strain it I guess… as long as the whey can still drip through without the curds also falling through and it’s clean…. I believe you could use a coffee filter in a funnel but you could only do small amounts at a time like this…

    [Reply]

  • Randy says:

    I live in the tropics and the temp in the kitchen all day is around 27-30. How should I adjust the time? I ask because when I made bean sprouts in a cool climate it was 3-4 days to sprout, but here it’s only 2 days. Thanks for any help you can give. Love your website.

    [Reply]

    Making Sense of Things Reply:

    Hi Randy, Just observe it :) when it is half curd and half whey, it’s ready to strain :)

    [Reply]

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