Sunday, 27 May 2018

Homemade Cottage Cheese

There are many names for cottage cheese and lots of different uses. I am sure each country has their own version, but one thing they all have in common is the method of preparation.

Basically it is the souring of milk which then separates into solids and liquid, forming the famous curds and whey mentioned in a certain nursery rhyme!

The finished product is called paneer in India, queso fresco in Spain/Portugal and much of Latin America; some parts of the US call it farmers cheese and others ricotta (but that is a misnomer). And not to forget, it is called wara by the Yoruba people in Nigeria!

Curds and whey

Cottage cheese is really the most basic of all cheeses and does not require any intricate knowledge of cheese-making! To the contrary, it is so easy to make that you will ask yourself why you have never done it before.

Regular cheeses like Parmesan, Cheddar or Emmentaler, to name a few, are produced using rennet, an enzyme produced in the stomachs of young calves to help them digest their mothers' milk. But our cottage cheese only requires a little acid to get the desired result.

I have tried various recipes successfully using different types of milk and different types of acid as well as the quick method and the slow one. Today I want to share the method which I prefer over all others!

Ingredients:                                     Equipment:

3 l milk, full cream                                                         a large pot, stainless steel preferably
1 Tbsp citric acid                                                            a colander and bowl of same size
1 tsp salt                                                                          a cheesecloth or a piece of muslin
                                                                                        a whisk


Start in the morning. Pour milk into pot and bring almost to the boil but not quite. Turn off the heat, add the acid and the salt and whisk briskly. The milk will separate right away, but this is where I prefer to go the slow way. Cover the pot with a clean dishtowel and keep it out of the way, so it can cool gradually and undisturbed.

 Cooling time depends on your weather or climate. Where I live the average day temperature is about 33℃, so it takes rather a long time to cool. Which in this case is an advantage because the longer it stays the more intense the flavour.

 In the evening you place the cheesecloth into the colander and put the colander on top of the bowl. Carefully empty the contents of the pot into the colander, tie up the corners of the cloth and hang up to drain.

 You can save the whey for cooking pasta or baking bread and preparing many other things, so consider well before discarding it. Let your freshly made cottage cheese drain overnight and in the morning it will be ready for use.

The cottage cheese after draining overnight

Now you can decide what to use your cottage cheese for. Sweet or savoury? I used this particular batch to make very yummy little mango cheese cakes for which I shall post the recipe next time.

This recipe using 3 litres of milk yielded a total of 475 g of cottage cheese, but it could be a little less or a little more depending on how much liquid has drained off.

Ready to be used

Mixed with some yoghurt and fresh fruit it is great for breakfast. Adding a little cream, salt, pepper, garlic and some fresh herbs the cottage cheese will make a very tasty spread for bread. So I urge you to experiment with adding flavours to make dips and spreads and even use it in sauces.

In my next post I will publish my recipe for mango cheese cakes as promised. Here is just a little preview:


  1. Nice and simple. I really must try it. I remember you used to add home grown chives to yours some times. Can this cottage cheese be used for cream cheese frosting? Would it also work on pizza?

  2. Thanks for stopping by. Definitely this cottage cheese can be used for cream cheese frosting. It could be used on pizza if well seasoned, but it will not melt. Instead it might get a crust which is quite yummy.


Latest Post


There are many different types of commercial pineapple jams to be had, some good, some bad and others terrible. Most contain preservatives a...