Last Updated on October 30, 2018 by Michael Joseph
Cottage cheese is a delicious and healthy type of cheese made from curds.
For those that don’t mind spending some time in the kitchen, it is surprisingly easy to make at home too.
No specialist equipment or ingredients are necessary.
This quick and simple recipe shows how to make creamy homemade cottage cheese from regular milk.
To make the cottage cheese requires the following ingredients;
- 2 liters of whole milk
- 1 cup (48 grams) of chopped chives (optional, but tasty)
- ¼ cup (60 ml) white vinegar
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice
- 3 tbsp heavy cream
- 1 tsp salt
Also, the preparation of the recipe requires;
- A saucepan
- Mixing bowl
- A cheesecloth (to strain the curds from the whey)
Although using a cheesecloth is the best (and easiest) option, you can also use a tea towel or any other type of thin fabric.
If you don’t have a cheesecloth, there is a wide range available here.
How To Make Homemade Cottage Cheese
To make this cottage cheese recipe, follow the steps below;
Preparing the Mixture
- First of all, add two liters of milk to a saucepan and slowly heat it on a low heat. However, don’t bring the milk to a boil – it should not get too hot. If you use a cooking thermometer, let the milk reach 50°C (approximately 120°F).
- Once the milk reaches the desired temperature, remove it from the heat and then add the vinegar and lemon juice into the pan.
- Immediately following this, continuously stir the mixture for 3 or 4 minutes. The natural acids present in lemon juice and vinegar will cause the protein in the milk to coagulate, and the curds will start to separate from the whey.
- Next, cover and leave the mixture at room temperature for around 30 minutes. During this time, the curds will further separate.
Straining and Rinsing the Curds
- After 30 minutes, the mixture should be looking a lot more solid than it was immediately after stirring. However, there will still be a lot of whey (liquid) left.
- First, line the inside of a sieve with a cheesecloth to ensure that none of the curds are lost during the draining process. Once the cheesecloth is in place, pour the mixture into the sieve. The liquid should run through, with the curd left inside the cheesecloth.
- Although most of the whey should now be drained out, there will still be some leftover, so the next stage involves rinsing the curds. To do this, ensure the curds are securely within the cheesecloth, and then rinse them under a slow cold tap for a minute or so.
- Following the rinsing, ensure the water fully drains out of the cheesecloth, and then make the curds as dry as possible. An easy way to do this is by lightly patting them with a tea towel.
- Once the curds are fully dry, transfer them into a mixing bowl for the final steps.
Mixing the Cottage Cheese
- Typical store-bought cottage cheese made using rennet has a slightly more liquid consistency than the curds you will now have in a bowl. To make these curds a little creamier, add three tablespoons of heavy cream into the bowl and mix it in. Three tablespoons is just a suggested quantity, and you can add more or less depending on personal preference.
- Next, add the teaspoon of salt and cup of chopped chives to the cottage cheese. Stir the mixture well to ensure the added ingredients are spread throughout. Once again, the chives are just a suggested ingredient and not necessary, but they do add a lot to the flavor.
- Once you have a consistent mixture, transfer the bowl to the refrigerator. Cottage cheese tastes best in a chilled state, so serving it about an hour after refrigerating is ideal.
- If there is any cottage cheese left after the first serve, then it should be OK to leave in the refrigerator for a couple of days in an airtight container. The salt and acid will help to preserve the mixture.
Alternate Cottage Cheese Ingredient Ideas
For anyone who doesn’t enjoy the taste of chives, many other ingredients work well in this homemade cottage cheese.
To help with alternate ideas, the combinations below are some of the most popular cottage cheese ingredients.
1) Sour Cream and Onion
Once you have finished making the basic cottage cheese recipe, add an extra tablespoon or two of sour cream and a very finely diced small onion.
Sour cream and onion is a classic flavoring combination, and it works well in cottage cheese too.
Some people find cottage cheese to be a little bit sour for their taste.
If you prefer a slightly sweet flavor, then a (very small) amount of pineapple can work well.
In fact, cottage cheese with pineapple chunks is a regular option in stores.
To make this, just chop the pineapple into small cube-shaped chunks and mix them in well.
3) Blueberry Pecan
For this recipe, around an ounce (28 grams) of pecans and two ounces (56 grams) of blueberries works well.
Chop the pecans into tiny pieces and add the whole blueberries, and mix well.
Cottage cheese is a relatively nutritious food, but the texture and somewhat sour taste may put children off trying it.
Using pecans and blueberries to make a nutty and slightly sweet mixture can be a good way to get younger minds to give the cottage cheese a try.
4) Macadamia and Dark Chocolate Shavings
For those used to eating cottage cheese in its plain, unaltered state, this one may seem a little different.
However, there is no reason why chocolate and cheese can’t work well (cheesecake is an excellent example of this).
Little chopped pieces of macadamia nuts with some smooth dark chocolate chunks give the cottage cheese a whole new character.
Ideally, dark chocolate on the bitter side works best – somewhere around 85% cocoa or so.
Cottage cheese is a protein-rich snack that provides a range of nutrients.
Fortunately, it is also very affordable, and in-store options generally contain healthy ingredients.
However, this homemade cottage cheese recipe is simple to make, requires minimal ingredients, and arguably tastes better than anything you’ll find in stores.
If you’re looking for something different, give it a try!
Lastly, if you make a big batch of cottage cheese, you could try giving these cottage cheese pancakes a go.