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.




  • Take your raw milk out of the fridge and skim some of the cream off of the top.
  • Add 2-3  large spoonfuls of Clabbered Milk. Stir well. 
  • Leave it on your counter LOOSELY covered.  A cloth is better than a lid. 
  • Check periodically to see if it has thickened. You may have to leave it overnight.
  • Use this thick cream to make butter. 
  • Save the liquid that separates out from your butter making endeavor to bake or culture with.
  • If you don't make butter with this, you have a sour cream (I think!)