How to Make Homemade Cottage Cheese

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Cottage cheese is a popular choice among dieters because it is relatively low in calories, fat and cholesterol. On the plus side, it's a good source of calcium, phosphorous and vitamin B-12, among other nutrients.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 gallon skim milk
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Colander and cheesecloth
  • Large pots
  • Rennet tablet
  • Measuring cups
  • Pour the milk into a 6- to 8-quart pot and heat to 80 degrees using the double boiler method. Be sure to use your thermometer in the milk. Once it reaches 80 degrees, add the rennet and buttermilk and stir well. Let this set in a warm room until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

  • Cut the curd with a long knife into half-inch cuts, straight up and down and front to back. Cut diagonally in both directions. Let the cut curds sit for 10 minutes, then stir gently.

  • Slowly raise the temperature to 100 degrees over a 30- to 40-minute time frame, using the double boiler method and stirring often. Once it has reached 100 degrees, increase the heat to 115.

  • Stop the heating process. By this time, the curds should be firm. Pour the curds into the colander lined with the cheesecloth to drain the whey. Let the curds drain for three to four minutes.

  • Hold the corners of the cheesecloth and dip it into ice water several times. Return the cheesecloth to the colander and rinse with ice water until the water runs clear. Let the water drain; when the water no longer drips, it is done.

  • Measure the curds into a mixing bowl. For every cup of curd, add a half-teaspoon of non-iodized salt and stir well.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you like cottage cheese as it is from a store, add 6 tablespoons of sweet cream for every 2 cups of curds, or replace the cream with skim milk.
  • If your cottage cheese tastes sour, it means the curd was not washed or drained enough.
  • If the curds are dry, they might have been heated too high or remained in the whey too long.
  • Soft curds are the result of too low a temperature.

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