Homemade Cottage Cheese
3 qtwhole milk
1/4 cheavy cream, cold
1 pkgdirect-set mesophilic starter ***
1/4 tspliquid rennet ***
·*** available at www.cheesemaking.com [new england cheesemaking supply company]
1/4 cbottled or filtered water, cold
How to Make Homemade Cottage Cheese
- Pour milk into a large covered skillet [preferably stainless steel, not aluminum or iron]. Place in bain marie [water bath] and warm to 70 degrees.
- Once milk is to temperature, sprinkle over mesophilic starter and let hydrate on the milk's surface for 2 minutes. Then gently stir into the milk.
- Add 1/4 teaspoon of liquid rennet to 1/4 cup cold, filtered water. Gently, mix thoroughly for 2 minutes and then add to milk mixture.
- Remove milk from water bath, cover, and let sit undisturbed for 4 hours [up to 6]. After that time, the milk curd will look like yogurt or silken tofu. Stick your [very clean] finger into the curd, if it comes our relatively clean, then your cheese is ready for the next step. If not, re-cover, and let sit for another hour.
- Take a bread knife and, starting at one edge of the pot, pierce the top of the curd, going straight down to the bottom of the pot, and gently cutting across to the other side, as if you were making the first pass at cutting across a pie in a tin. Repeat this process, in both directions, making a "checkerboard" with 1/2" by 1/2" squares. You have have just cut the cheese [curd]!!
- The second session of cutting the curd is a bit trickier, but not difficult at all! Tilt the knife at a 45 degree angle and cut into the curd "on an angle" thus creating smaller, individual "cubes". Think to yourself as if you were cutting a wonky Rubix Cube inside this pot with your bread knife. Once you've created the smaller curds, take a stainless spoon, and give the pot a gentle, but thorough stir, releasing and separating all the curds.
- Place the "curd" pot on top of another pot, with a snug fit, thus creating a "double boiler". The bottom pot should have 2 to 3 inches of water in it. Heat to a high simmer.
- Keep stirring and separating [constantly and slowly] the curds from the whey for about 30 minutes. Use a thermometer, mixture should never rise over 110 degrees. After a half hour, the curds will be small and spring-y.
- Pour curds into a colander. Rinse curds under VERY cold water. Let curds drain entirely.
- Place curds in a large, ceramic bowl, sprinkle in kosher salt, to taste. Then, stir in the cold, heavy cream, mixing gently.
- Get out your pineapple chunks! Get out your clover honey! Your homemade cottage cheese is ready to eat! Covered tightly, your cottage cheese will last for a week when refrigerated. Enjoy!