Farmer's cheese is an unaged (also known as fresh) mild white cheese with a crumbly texture. It is really easy to make at home with this simple recipe and has limitless possibilities and can be used in countless ways.
Since this is a fresh cheese, to add more flavor, mix fresh herbs in with the curds or sprinkle herbs on top of the finished farmer's cheese along with olive oil and red pepper flakes.
Farmer's cheese can be eaten with bread or crackers or crumbled on top of salads.
Before you begin, read the Note below about not using ultra-pasteurized milk in this cheesemaking process.
- 1/2 gallon whole pasteurized milk NOT ultra-pasteurized (see the Note below)
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
Note: Do not use ultra-pasteurized milk for cheesemaking because the curd will not set. Ultra-pasteurized milk is not always labeled as such, but you can tell because the expiration date is extremely long, usually 30 to 90 days from the day you buy it. Regular pasteurized milk, however, works fine for cheesemaking.
- In a heavy-bottomed large pot, bring the milk to a slow boil. Keep the heat at medium or medium-low, otherwise, you risk scorching the milk on the bottom of the pot.
- When small, foamy bubbles begin to form on the surface of the milk, but it is not yet at a rolling boil, turn off the heat. If you have a thermometer, which is helpful, the temperature will read about 190 degrees.
- Add the vinegar and stir the milk. You will notice curds immediately beginning to form.
- Let the milk sit for 15 minutes. After this time, add any additional flavors (like fresh herbs of choice).
- Place a colander over a large bowl or pot. Drape either dampened cheesecloth or a thin dampened dish towel over the colander. Pour the curds into the cheesecloth. The whey (liquid) will drain and be collected in the bowl below and the solids curds will be caught in the cheesecloth.
- Lift the cheesecloth up and wrap it around the curds, twisting and squeezing to remove as much moisture as possible. After squeezing out the moisture, the curds for farmer's cheese will be dry and crumbly. If you want a creamier texture, mix a little of the reserved whey back into the curds.
- To shape the cheese, keep it wrapped in cheesecloth and form it into a mound on a plate. Set another plate on top and press the curds into a flat disc that is 1 to 2 inches tall. Cover and refrigerate for an hour or so before removing cheesecloth.
- To make a round ball, tie the cheesecloth with a length of butcher's twine, tie it to a shelf in the refrigerator and suspend it over a bowl.
- Farmer's cheese will keep up to a week in the refrigerator. Use it as a spread, in recipes or as you would use cream cheese or cottage cheese.
Don't Give Whey the Boot
Don't toss the whey that has been drained from the curds. It's excellent to use in breadmaking, for soups and more.