Making Cottage Cheese from Sour Milk
Making cottage cheese from sour milk is a great way to reduce waste, save money, and get some extra protein in your diet. Are you tired of dumping sour milk down the drain? Years ago I learned that there are uses for milk that’s past its prime. I’ve used sour milk in place of buttermilk or regular milk in recipes, but it’s nice to have another option.
I had read somewhere that you can make cottage cheese from sour milk, and being rather frugal, that sounded like a great idea. I used to buy 2 or 3 gallons of raw milk from a farmer each week, but I didn’t always use it up fast enough. Recently, I’ve found milk at the store marked down for quick sale. I buy several gallons and use it for frugal yogurt, cheese, and baking. Sometimes I don’t use it fast enough and I have sour milk for cottage cheese.
Sometimes You Have to Experiment
I have found several sites online that gave instructions for making cottage cheese from sour milk. The only problem is that each site gave different instructions and they didn’t say how sour your milk can be and still be usable for cottage cheese. I’ve found that it can be curdled, but if it is really horrible smelling…I dump it.
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One site listed an old fashioned recipe for cottage cheese using ‘thick sour milk.’ (Note: I can’t find this link online anymore…sorry!) Perfect! I decided to go with my gut instinct and kinda wing it on the recipe. It turned out really good and I will be making it again! Here’s the recipe:
Old Fashioned Cottage Cheese
- half gallon sour milk (whole is best)
- 3 Tbs vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
- small amount of cream or whole milk (not sour)
Pour sour milk into a saucepan. Turn heat on to medium and use a candy thermometer to measure temperature. Heat milk to 185 degrees F. Take off heat and add vinegar. Stir gently until curds and whey separate. Pour through a colander lined with cheesecloth. Rinse the curds, squeeze the water out through the cheesecloth. Pour curds into a bowl. Crumble to the size curds you like. Add salt and a small amount of cream or whole milk. Stir. Add milk or cream until your cottage cheese is the consistency you like. Refrigerate and use within 1 week.
Learning to Make Cottage Cheese is a Work in Progress!
Here are my thoughts on this process:
The instructions that I read said to heat sour milk until curds and whey separated (without vinegar). My pan of sour milk never separated, so I used the vinegar. I think I could reduce the amount of vinegar to 1 Tbs and it would work just fine. You could try it without the vinegar and see if your sour milk separates on its own.
One of the recipes called for rinsing the curds until all the whey was removed. I did this and then wondered why you would need to rinse the curds? Upon further reflection, it is probably to remove all traces of vinegar. However, in the future, I won’t spend much time rinsing the curds.
This recipe is basically the same as the queso fresco I posted previously. In this case, you crumble the curds up and add the milk or cream to it. I used cream, but in the future, I will switch to milk. The cream was a little too rich for my taste.
You don’t have to use sour milk to make your own cottage cheese, fresh milk will work great too!
Tip: If your milk doesn’t curdle, add more vinegar or lemon juice to increase the acid.
I Liked This Better Than Storebought Cottage Cheese
I liked this cottage cheese much better than the store-bought version. The curds are denser and the flavor had more tang to it. That may have been from using sour milk. I will definitely be making my own cottage cheese from now on instead of buying it. I never have a problem with cottage cheese going bad in our fridge, but this pretty much disappeared pronto!
My mother and I were discussing homemade cottage cheese. She remembers Gram making it when Mom was a little girl. They had their own milk cow and Gram made butter and cheese with the milk. I love hearing about things like that. 🙂
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