Easy to Make Farmer’s Cheese
Whenever I find organic milk marked down at the grocery store, I buy as much as I can use for my own frugal homemade yogurt and quick cheeses. Easy homemade cheeses all follow a similar recipe and they taste great. This week (in 2015) 2% organic milk was marked down to 99 cents a half gallon…score! I bought 3 half gallons.
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I knew that we needed more yogurt and 2% milk works fine for that (with the addition of powdered milk to thicken it up), but I also wanted to try another batch of farmer’s cheese. I made some last week with whole milk but this time I wanted to try 2%…spoiler alert…it came out great!
Here is the recipe for Farmer’s Cheese, with some variations you might like to try.
- 1/2 gallon whole or 2% milk (pasteurized works, but not ultra-pasteurized)
- vinegar or lemon juice
Bring the milk to a slow boil (190 F) over medium heat, stirring every few minutes to prevent the bottom from scorching. Turn off the heat and add 1/2 tsp sea salt and enough vinegar or lemon juice to curdle the milk. The amount may vary a bit. I used the juice from one and a half lemons for my first batch made with whole milk, but this time I only needed 1/2 lemon for the 2% milk. The recipes I’ve found call for 1 & 1/2 Tbs to 1/4 cup of vinegar per 1/2 gallon of milk. Start by adding a tablespoon, stir gently with a slotted spoon, and add more vinegar or lemon juice until the whey (liquid) is a somewhat clear yellow color instead of milky. Allow the curdled milk to stand for 10 minutes.
Line a colander with a clean linen dishcloth or cheesecloth. Place the colander in a large bowl or pot to catch the whey. Slowly pour the whole batch into the colander to drain the whey from the curds. Check to see if the whey fills the bowl up to the bottom of the colander and empty it if necessary. Allow the curds to drain for 10 or 15 minutes and check the consistency. If you like firmer cheese, fold the cloth over the curds and add weight to press more whey from the curds. If it seems too dry, add a bit of whey or cream and mix in.
Keep your Farmer’s cheese refrigerated and use it within a week…if you don’t eat it all in one sitting.
You can eat this cheese plain or add herbs and spices. Use it in recipes or add some jam and spread it on a graham cracker. Use your imagination!
Don’t throw away the whey! Here are some ideas for putting it to good use… Top Ten Uses for Sour Whey.