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What Is Farmer's Cheese?
Farmer's cheese is a fresh or unaged cheese. It is also known as dry curd cheese or peasant cheese. This type of cheese is used in countless European recipes.
Farmer's cheese goes by many names in different languages: twaróg in Polish, surutka in Croatian and Serbian, tvaroh in Czech and Slovak, túró in Hungarian, varškės in Lithuanian, lapte covăsit in Romanian, tvorog in Russian, skuta in Slovenian, and syr in Ukrainian.
You can make farmer's cheese easily at home with basic ingredients. You need only about an hour to make it.Continue to 2 of 12 below.
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Ingredients for One Pound of Farmer's Cheese
A simple recipe for farmer's cheese requires only a few ingredients: 2 quarts of milk (whole; use pasteurized, instead of ultra-pasteurized, if available); 2 cups of buttermilk; 1 tablespoon of white vinegar; and 1.5 teaspoons of salt.
You will also need a butter muslin or fine cheesecloth as well as butcher's twine.Continue to 3 of 12 below.
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Heat the Milk
In a heavy-bottomed pot, over low heat, slowly heat up 2 quarts of milk to 180 F, stirring often, until it is just about to simmer.Continue to 4 of 12 below.
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Add Buttermilk and Vinegar
Once the temperature of the milk reaches 180 F, stir in 2 cups of buttermilk. Then, stir in the vinegar.Continue to 5 of 12 below.
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Stir Until the Mixture Separates
With the addition of the buttermilk and vinegar, the milk will begin to curdle. Turn off the heat and, very slowly, stir until the milk begins to separate into curds (solids) and whey (liquid). Then, leave the mixture undisturbed for 10 minutes.Continue to 6 of 12 below.
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Skim the Curds
Meanwhile, wet the butter muslin or two layers of fine cheesecloth. Make sure that it is large enough to line a colander and hang over the sides. Place the lined colander over a bowl to catch any whey. After the milk-buttermilk-vinegar mixture has sat undisturbed for 10 minutes, use a skimmer or slotted spoon to ladle the curds into the cheesecloth. Allow the curds to drain for 10 minutes.Continue to 7 of 12 below.
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Wrap the Curds
Gather up the edges of the muslin or cheesecloth to form a bundle around the curds. Drain away as much whey as possible from the curds.Continue to 8 of 12 below.
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Tie up the Bundle
Use a length of butcher's twine to tie the muslin or cheesecloth containing the curds tightly into a neat bundle. Press on the cheesecloth to help the whey drain off.Continue to 9 of 12 below.
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Hang the Bundle
Tie the butcher's twine to a wooden spoon or dowel, and hang the curd bundle over a pot or container to collect any remaining whey. Continue draining for 30 minutes.Continue to 10 of 12 below.
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Remove the Wrapper
After 30 minutes of draining, remove the curds from the muslin or cheesecloth, and transfer it to a nonmetallic bowl or container.Continue to 11 of 12 below.
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Stir in Salt
Stir the curds. Add 1.5 teaspoons of salt into the curds as you stir. This will break up the cheese into dry curds. You now have farmer's cheese.
You can form it into a solid piece by molding it by hand, or you can leave it crumbly. Store it in a nonmetallic container, cover, and refrigerate. Use the cheese within five days.Continue to 12 of 12 below.
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Use the Whey
The whey or liquid byproduct of the cheesemaking process is excellent to use when making bread—use the whey in place of water or milk. Also, whey can be used as a soup base.