Separate milk into cream and skim milk. Pour skim milk into a glass jar and put it aside to turn sour. I recommend chilling the skim milk to 64-65F and leaving it to sour at an ambient temperature of 68-72F. The skim milk turns sour slowly at this temperature, and the cottage cheese will turn out with a delicate sweet and sour taste. If you want your cottage cheese a fattier and more smooth in flavor, add a little cream to skim milk. You can also take the whole milk.
Optimal Souring and Heating Techniques
At ambient temperatures above 72 – 73F, the milk quickly turns sour, and the cottage cheese turns out to be crumbly, and you get less cottage cheese. You can add a spoonful of sour cream to the milk to speed up the souring process. During the souring process, do not stir the milk.
Usually, it takes about one- three days for milk to sour naturally, but it really depends on many factors. You may determine that it is ready by forming bubbles that rise upward and form vertical “passages.”
Place a container with milk in a pot with water and heat it gently over medium heat to 110-115F for more wet cottage cheese.
Once the milk reaches the temperature of 115F, remove it from heat and let it cool naturally.
Tips For Ideal Cottage Cheese Consistency
If you prefer cottage cheese to be drier, warm up the sour milk to a higher temperature of 140F. Once it reaches 140F, remove it from heat and leave the curd mass to cool.
Make sure not to overheat the contents. After cooling, the mass will separate into a dense layer of cottage cheese on top and whey on the bottom. Put a colander covered with gauze, folded 2-4 times, or thick cotton cloth or cheesecloth, and pour the contents into it in a large bowl. Then tie the material and hang this bag of curd, placing a container for the dripping whey under it.
When the whey stops dripping completely, the cottage cheese is ready. Removing whey may take about 1 hour. The longer it hangs, the drier the final product will be.
Note: Do not discard the whey. You can use it for baking and cooking. I will have a post on how to use whey shortly.
Put in a container and store in the refrigerator.
It is recommended not to keep the cottage cheese for longer than two days. It tastes best when fresh. Make delicious cream cheese pancakes with what is left after you enjoy the fresh cottage cheese.
To make farmer’s cheese, which is drier, you may place the curd under a press afterward and squeeze out even more whey. A gallon of milk yields up to 28 oz of cottage cheese, depending on its whey content.