Monday, March 8, 2010

Raw Milk Cottage Cheese

Please note:  I have not tried this myself, but plan to this week.  If anyone beats me to it, please let me know how it goes.  Like most of these ideas, it is easier than it sounds.  Don't get overwhelmed with it.... just give it a try...cindy

Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is made from skimmed milk.... or the whole raw milk that has been left to separate... skim the cream off for butter and cream, then use the "skimmed" milk for cottage cheese.  At the end you do mix a little fresh cream back into the curds, so either save a little, or acquire more cream near the end of this process.  The picture here shows part of the separating process.  The cute bag is from Evelyn Woods.

The process of making raw cottage cheese begins with  Clabbered Milk (the cultured cream or milk that has solidified).  I am quite sure you need to use raw milk that has not been pasteurized or homogenized to be successful with this. Raw milk contains all the necessary bacteria needed to make the milk clabber.  (OK, I cheated and put creme fraiche starter in mine).

So.... put some raw milk into a crock with some of your clabbered milk (clabbered milk is the equivalent of a sourdough starter).  Once the whey separates from the curd (2-3 days) you can make cottage cheese out of it.   The whey is the watery part of the milk. The curd is the solid part.

The way to determine if your clabber is ready is determined by the condition of the curd. If the curd breaks cleanly away from the sides of the crock when depressed slightly with a spoon, the cut time has been reached.  The curd should then be cut (not broken) into cubes approximately half an inch square. Do this by cutting horizontally with a spatula or knife, then rolling the strands gently over so that they may be cut crosswise. At this time the whey will be released from the curd.  Apparently you will end up with dry cheese if the curds are cut too small.  You can also use your hands to "break" apart the curds after you have cut them.

Gently pour the curds and whey into a kettle.**   Then slowly heat it up over a very low heat until the curds have firmed up a little.  Don't get it too hot or it isn't raw any more.  I am going to try mine in a double boiler over only warm water.  Next, pour the mixture into a cheesecloth sack and hang it over a large bowl to drain. (like you are making whey from yogurt).

You can purchase some cool reusable sacks from Evelyn Woods.  If she doesn't have any yet... she will soon.  She has some great material to make this out of so it is reusable.  Also, she just found a raw milk source so.... I am expecting a sack that hangs off of the knob on my cupboard to drip into a bowl :)  And here it is!

**(note, there is a process to cutting the curd.  I'll post pics as soon as my curd is ready, but basically you carefully do about 3/8" squares, cutting one way then the other, then you want to go in sideways and try to make them shorter.  You have to be gentle with this process).

When all the liquid (whey) has drained from the curd transfer the curds into a bowl and chill it well in the refrigerator. Once it is chilled mix a little salt and fresh cream into it. This cottage cheese will keep in the refrigerator for about 5-days.



  1. I got my cream clabber & milk clabber going, yogurt (heated to 110) & kifer all started. Thanks so much for all your info. It was nice talking to you in person this morning!!!!! I'm interested to see how all your experiments are going.

  2. I made butter today from my clabbered cream. I did the low tech way, and think I like it better. I didn't take pictures, but will next time because it is a good way to go.

    You just put the clabbered cream into a quart jar, lid it up and shake it for 5-6 minutes. It turns into butter, then it is easy to pour out the buttermilk and rinse the butter. Less dishes.

    Anyway, hopefully I'll get to the cottage cheese and the yogurt with clabbered milk tomorrow or Wednesday. I am anxious to see how yours turn out.

    Maybe taking bread to that couple would be nice. If she doesn't already make fresh sourdough bread, that would be a real treat for them, and a fair trade.

    It was great to talk to you. I look forward to seeing you this weekend.

    Happy curding!

  3. Good idea on the bread!

    We had the low heat yogurt this morning & I wasn't to thrilled with the consistancy. It broke into whey a bit & was sort of lumpy. I'm going to strain it this afternoon & make greek yogurt & then use the whey for ricotta cheese.

    I had a thought, do you think the kefir grains are in a way clabbering the milk? My Kefir was such a nice thinkness after a day out. I don't think the same people who were clabbering milk probably had kefir grains. What do you think????

    If that guy that has all the dairy equipment/land doesn't want to do the business may be Gabe & I could rent it from him & do the cow sharing deal.... Just anthoer thought...

  4. We use the low heat yogurt instead of milk for our soaked granola. It's pretty good. I added a bit of vanilla to it, and some salt. Is that how you make greek yogurt? My brother in law likes greek yogurt, so if you come up with a good recipe, I would love to have it.

    Probably not on the kefir. It is a different culture. Arleen has researched it a lot and I might be able to just skim her knowledge instead of figuring out the difference myself, but I know that there is a difference between kefir and clabber.

    You can make cheese and yogurt out of kefir.

    Clabbering is adjusting the pH level so yuck stuff doesn't grow in it. Then, even though it is sour, it is not particularly harmful. The trick then seems to be what to do with it. Hence, cottage cheese, sour cream, cheese and other stuff.

    BTW, the sour cream was really good. Different, but good. I tried some of it, then made the rest into butter.

    I'll keep after the dairy stuff and keep you in mind if he doesn't want to do it. You and Gabe should look into the whole thing. My brother has land near your dad's that is fenced off for cows and has water. It is just too far away from our house to be practical for us. However, it is not far from your dad. That might be another way for you guys to go.

    You definitely should research the laws around it. California is better than most. If you make cheese, you just need to age it until it hits a certain pH level to be able to deal with it.

    I hope you are blogging all your milk stuff :) I need to move on to grass fed meats by next week. If you have a bunch of it blogged, then I don't have to do it :)

  5. Here is a good site about kefir.


  6. I've done a little reading from that site but I need to do more.

    As far as I know, Greek Yogurt is just yogurt that has been drained of some of the whey to make it a thicker yogurt.

    I did this to the squishy low-temp yogurt & its better but still lumpy. I might not have had the temp high enough for 8 hours so may be it didn't quite set up. I'm going to read that article again about "To heat or not to Heat Yogurt".

    Sounds good on the land/cow deal. My grandma was raised on a Dairy & Gabe's Grandpa was too so maybe it is in our blood.

    I'll take as many pics as I can.

  7. On the squishy low-temp yogurt... I was reading on the kefir site that you can use the kefir grains to thicken up low temp yogurt. I'll give it a try tonight. I have some yogurt all ready and will just throw the grains in. maybe it will help.

  8. Let me know. That sounds interesting. Gabe is looking into Kefir grain Beer.

  9. I make a gallon of low temp yogurt every week. We are a family of 6 and it disappears quickly. I drain off the whey and use my immersion blender to gently cream it. It is so much better that way. We have a raw milk dairy so I have a lot of milk to try new recipes with and am SO happy to have found this site. Right now I am attempting cottage cheese for the first time. My mother-in-law told me her recipes over the phone but.....................I am so happy to have a recipe from you. Hopefully it will turn out good! Thank you for all of the information.

    1. Welcome! I am so glad this recipe is useful. Please let me know how your cottage cheese turned out. We really liked ours, but I have not made it in quite a while. What a great thing - to have access to so much raw milk. Fresh milk is really so wonderful!