Dairy and Non-Dairy Recipes

How to Make Farmer’s Cheese

farmers cheese
farmers cheese

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.

farmers cheese
Freshly made Farmer’s cheese with cracked pepper.

 Farmer’s Cheese

  • 1/2 gallon whole  or 2% milk (pasteurized works, but not ultra-pasteurized)
  • vinegar or lemon juice
  • salt

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.

For a firmer, drier cheese, put some weight on it to squeeze out more of the whey.

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.

Do you make your own cheese? What is your favorite kind?

11 Comments on “How to Make Farmer’s Cheese

  1. Hi! Just curious how this differs from Ricotta? I feel like I made my last batch of ricotta exactly like this. Thanks for the great post.

    1. Thanks for clarifying, it’s all still swimming in my head with cheese making processes. Finally figured out why my mozzarella wasn’t coming together. I want to try the farmer’s cheese but am worried I should get one cheese down really well and then move on. Happy cheese making!

      1. Hi Shira,
        I think you will find the Farmers cheese to be much easier than the mozzerella. You might want to try working on this one first and then learn the more difficult recipes. 🙂 Good luck!

      2. The mozzarellaq microwave method is working better now that I understand the temps and consistency. Going to make this today. Sounds quite easy. Thanks again. 🙂

  2. I love this site! I’m going to start working toward living a more simple life and supplying as much as our own food as possible. You explain everything so well and reading all of the posts are so helpful. Thank you!

  3. What would happen if you put your farmers cheese into a cheese press and made a hard cheese out of it?

    1. Hi Ken,
      You can do that and it would produce a dry, crumbly cheese. The only thing is that it is not cultured, so it wouldn’t keep for long. I have put weight on it for a while and I do like it rather dry if I use whole milk. The lowfat milk batch doesn’t taste as good.

  4. Your farmer’s cheese looks good. I used to make it often when we had goats, but as you say, it’s a great idea to buy all you can when organic milk goes on sale and use it for cheese making. I appreciate all the good ideas you share here.

    1. Thank you, Toni 🙂 I’m happy to share and I’m glad to hear from you! I’m dreaming about goats again…I guess it’s been long enough since I sold mine that I’m forgetting what a pain in the butt they were being 😉

      Thanks for reading…stay tuned for a variation of this cheese!

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