Easy Homemade Farmer’s Cheese

Farmer’s cheese is a fresh or un-aged cheese. It is also known as dry curd cheese or peasant cheese. This type of cheese is used in countless Eastern European cuisine recipes. It is also a part of Pa. Dutch (German) cuisine, often served as crumbles which resemble cottage cheese.

Farmer’s cheese goes by many names in different languages: twaróg in Polish, surutka in Croatian and Serbian, tvaroh in Czech and Slovak, túró in Hungarian, varškės in Lithuanian, lapte covăsit in Romanian, tvorog in Russian, skuta in Slovenian, and syr in Ukrainian.

You can make farmer’s cheese easily at home with basic ingredients.. And you do not need a cheese press (unless you inherited one from your grandma … if you did, now is the time to dig it out of the “what am i ever gonna do with THIS thing” box!)

The whey or liquid by-product of the cheese making process is excellent to use when making bread; use the whey in place of water or milk. It can also be used as a soup base. Some people have even been known to drink it! As previously mentioned, it can be left crumbly or formed into a solid piece. 

Some people slice it and fry it or eat it on bread with honey, some use the crumbles as a spread or in pierogi filling, add it to scrambled eggs as they’re cooking, or make it into a filling for blintzes. There are many uses, and you can add herbs like dill or chives, mix in basil and diced sun-dried tomatoes if desired.

Easy Homemade Farmer’s Cheese

Recipe by A Coalcracker in the KitchenCourse: Appetizers, SnacksCuisine: Eastern European, Pa. Dutch, Coal RegionDifficulty: Easy

Farmer’s cheese is a fresh or un-aged cheese. It is also known as dry curd cheese or peasant cheese.

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts milk (whole; use pasteurized, instead of ultra-pasteurized, if available)

  • 2 cup buttermilk

  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

  • OPTIONAL: caraway seeds

  • OPTIONAL: herbs, additions of your choice

Directions

  • In a heavy-bottomed pot, over low heat, slowly heat the milk up, stirring often, until it is just about to simmer (about 180 F).
  • Stir in the buttermilk, and then the vinegar, and turn off the heat. Very slowly stir until you see the milk separating into curds (the solids) and whey (the liquid). Leave undisturbed for 10 minutes. If using caraway seeds, stir them in now.
  • Line a large strainer with 3 layers of cheesecloth and place over a stockpot to catch the whey.
  • After the 10 minutes are up, ladle the curds into the cheesecloth and allow the whey to drain for 10 minutes.
    tore it in a nonmetallic container, cover, and refrigerate.
  • Gather up the edges of the cheesecloth and tie a string around the top to form bundle. Tie the string to a wooden spoon/dowel/kitchen sink faucet and hang the cheese curds over the stockpot and continue draining for 30 minutes.
  • To Use As Loose Curds
  • After draining, remove the cheese from the cloth, and transfer into a container. Stir in the salt and refrigerate. Cheese can be used for up to 5 days. Use as a spread, or as you would use cream cheese, or cottage cheese. 
  • Store it in a nonmetallic container, cover, and refrigerate.
  • To Form Into A Solid Disk
  • Once most of the liquid has dripped out, give the pouch one final wring, tie the bag securely, place it between two clean cutting boards and put a heavy weight on top of it to squeeze out the rest of the liquid.  Press the cheese somewhere it can be undisturbed for 8-10 hours or overnight to set. The longer you press the cheese, the drier it will be. 
  • Gently remove the cheesecloth, place the cheese on a plate, lightly salt it on all sides to taste, and put it on a rack to let it dry a little so a thin rind forms. 
  • Store it in a nonmetallic container, cover, and refrigerate.

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