Home-made cottage cheese
Very easy to make and fun as well.
- 1.2 litres skimmed or semi-skimmed pasteurised cows' or ewes' milk
- 30 ml cider vinegar
- Salt to taste
- Flavourings to taste (optional)
- You will also need an enamelled or stainless steel saucepan, a wooden spoon, a colander and some butter muslin.
- Your utensils should be sterilised in boiling water beforehand.
- You can also use the sterilising fluid which is normally used for babies' bottles but bear in mind that these are chemical based.
- Heat the milk in the saucepan until it is very hot, but not boiling, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat for about 5 minutes and stir in the cider vinegar.
- The curds should start to form almost immediately.
- Leave to cool for about 30 minutes.
- Line a colander with the butter muslin - this can be doubled for extra-fine draining, but it will take longer for the whey to be extracted from the the curds.
- Pour the mixture into the muslin lined colander and leave to drain thoroughly.
- Transfer the cheese into a container and season with salt.
- If you wish to add a flavouring, do so at this stage.
- Refrigerate for a maximum of four days.
You can use lemon juice or white vinegar instead of cider vinegar. I added a tablespoon of coarsely crushed green peppercorns to my cheese, but you can use whatever you like as a flavouring, eg. herbs, paprika, cumin, chilli powder, garlic.
Do not use full fat or UHT or homogenised milk or you may well have problems separating the curds from the whey. The cheese can be totally organic if you wish by using organic milk and cider vinegar. However, if you wish to add green peppercorns, please be aware that they are not available as organic, although other peppercorns are.
Finally, a note about washing butter muslin. Scrape off as much of the curd as you can and rinse under a cold tap to remove any excess. Put through a normal wash in the washing machine, but afterwards boil in a large saucepan of water, to which a small amount of washing soda has been added. This will remove any taint or smell of washing powder/fabric conditioner. Dry outside if possible or if not, hang on a clothes horse. Avoid using a tumble dryer as this may scent the cloth again.