Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What to do with a gallon of milk, Part 1

Or, "Cottage Cheese: A tutorial".


You will need:
1 gallon milk*
1/2 tablet Junket Rennet

*I've never done this with store-bought milk. If you don't have access to farm fresh milk, use whole milk and I assume it will work. Can't guarantee it, because I've never done it.


Dissolve the rennet in a little water. I have tried this with 1/4 tablet, but sometimes that's not strong enough. I get discouraged when I *need* cottage cheese and it doesn't firm up, so I quit risking it and use half a tablet. Just use a paring knife and cut it in half. It ought to "snap" right in two.

(I have the undissolved half shown, just so you can see half a tablet. The other half is in the water dissolving.)


Heat milk in large stock pot to lukewarm, which is about 90 degrees. Then add the rennet-water and stir well.


Cover and let it sit till firm. It might take 45 min. or more, or less...you never know. Personally, I think it all depends on the weather.
It will start to pull away from the sides and jiggle when you shake the pan.


Cut into curds with a long knife vertically.


And horizontally.


Stir, and you should have something like long jiggly cubes. The liquid you see is whey. Just like Miss Muffet.


Return to the stove and heat till very warm...100-110 degrees. Stirring several times so the curds won't stick together. Keep at this temperature about 5 minutes.

Maybe it's just my stove, or the way I cook. But I can rarely do the "keep at this temperature" thing. Mine normally just keeps going up and up and up.
So I don't fret about it. I might even change a diaper and call the little girlie back from going upstairs, and forget to the stir the curds while it's all the while going up, up, up. No big deal.


Drain into a colander. Save the whey if you want to drink it and have strong bones, and help arthritis. As you can see, I did not, and normally don't, save the whey, unlike Miss Muffet.


The curds will be all shiny.


Rinse well with cold water, stirring to break up the cubes. They will harden up with the cold water hitting them.


Starting to look like cottage cheese, aye? Drain it well. We're talking, go get the mail, pick up some toys, empty the slop, and bring the clothes in off the line, drain-it-well. Stir once and a while, to help it along.


Next, salt it as you desire. I start with a teaspoon, but that's really not much. So keep tasting as you go. Add cream as well...start with say, 1/2 cup? and go from there. Just till it's liquid enough for your liking.

I didn't have any cream skimmed at the taking of this picture, so this is simply salted cottage cheese. It's awfully tasty to eat just like this!


Once, I took this to an Easter luncheon, and the pastor of the church came over after everyone was mostly finished eating, carrying the empty bowl. He was actually scraping the leftovers, and came to say how fabulous it was. That seems to happen when you serve homemade cottage cheese.

I don't know how many times I've heard, "Oh, it's just like what my Grandma used to make!" (And it's usually the, ah-hem, grandmas, who say that. So this dish goes back a ways....) They also comment saying how it's not as salty as the store-bought. Maybe that's because I don't know how to salt stuff. I don't know.

So, enjoy!


Homemade Cottage Cheese
Heat 1 gallon fresh milk to barely lukewarm, about 90 degrees. Meanwhile, dissolve 1/2 tablet Junket Rennet in a little water. Add to milk. Let set until firm. Cut into small curds. Heat till very warm, about 100-1-5 degrees, stirring so curds do not mat. Keep at this temperature 5 minutes. Drain quickly and rinse with cold water. Drain well. Add salt to taste and a little milk or cream till it's the consistency you'd like.


  1. I love cottage cheese but,have never had homemade...thanks for sharing....blessings

  2. This was interesting, thanks for sharing! I may have to get brave and try this, as I like cottage cheese really well. My dad used to talk about grandma making this, and having it hanging in a cloth on the clothesline to drain. :)

  3. Thank you, Janel! I've been so curious about your homemade cottage cheese! You've made it look so easy (and tasty), I can't wait to attempt your recipe! Thank you for sharing your knowledge and life. You're such a blessing!


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