All you need is some milk, vinegar, or lemon juice, and a few basic kitchen tools — all things you probably have on hand anyway.
Farmer’s cheese is by itself a fairly bland cheese, can get too dry and crumbly if you over press, and it doesn’t melt. The milk should begin curdling and separating right away into yellowish clear whey and clumps of curds (your future cheese).
But it can be really delicious, especially when you spice it up some, and that lack of melting makes it a perfect candidate for frying — use it in place of Paneer in Indian dishes, or just fry it up as an appetizer. This cheese is so versatile you can really add any spice and herb combination you enjoy. As with most cheese making, you will end up with way more whey than cheese, so if you have hogs or poultry they will love to slurp this up. You want to allow the curds and whey to fully separate before straining (whey should be yellowish clear, not milky looking.
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Cheese making is a skill that’s been practiced for thousands of years, but for many home cooks it can seem mysterious and complicated. Forget the special cultures, rennet, or dark caves.
If you’re a newbie cheese maker, this is a great recipe for getting your feet wet and has lots of room for creativity.
“Farmer’s cheese” is something you can make without much planning.
In fact, I’ve often made a batch of this cheese just because I noticed my raw milk was nearing the end of its freshness.
I like to season my farmer’s cheese with finely diced garlic, dried chilies, rosemary, and plenty of salt. I always freeze an ice cube tray full of it to use in fermentation or grain soaking. Once fully separated, pour the whey and curds into your colander that has been lined with cheesecloth over another large pot (you could do this into the sink drain, but why waste all that nutritious whey? Sprinkle salt and herbs over the curds and mix with your fingers to distribute, then close up the cheesecloth with a twisting motion to press out whey.
Twist out whey until it’s difficult to squeeze any more out.You can now set the cheesecloth parcel back in your colander and put your “something heavy” over the bundle and allow to press.The timing for pressing and draining is a matter of personal choice: you want it to become dry enough to hold together but not so dry that it’s crumbly and boring.I almost always over press, so do some experimenting and feel free to unwrap and taste test. This cheese makes a lovely appetizer and fries well for some extra fun.Don’t be intimidated by cheese making — try it out!Miranda Rommel is a professional artist living on “Birdsong Farm” in western Oregon.