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How To Make Farmer Cheese At Home

How to make farmer cheese at home– call it farmer cheese or cottage cheese, this cheese is really easy to make and very economical.

The only ingredients you need are good quality milk and some vinegar or lemon juice. Just follow the instructions and you get the most delicious homemade cheese to use in your favorite recipes.

how to make farmer cheese at home- Pinterest picture

The Romanian cuisine has a lot of delicious recipes that make a good use of the farmer cheese. From appetizers to desserts, the recipes are easy to make and use basic ingredients that people have in their pantry.

I don’t always have access to this cheese in the store, therefore I make it at home from scratch. It is such an easy recipe to make and the cheese can be used right away.

Like most things home made, this cheese is tasty, creamier and healthier than any farmer cheese you find at the grocery store. I call it farmer cheese, but in some parts of the country you will probably find it as cottage cheese.

It is not ricotta cheese, ricotta has a smaller curd with a drier texture and it is produced differently.

Many of you asked me what farmer cheese is or where you can find it, therefore I decided that it would be a good idea to share a simple recipe with you.

what is farmer cheese and how is it made traditionally?

Farmer cheese is a form of cottage cheese made originally from raw milk that is curdled using a bacterial culture or an acid such as vinegar. 

Traditionally, raw milk is allowed to clabber(or curdle) for 24 – 48 hours until becomes pleasantly sour and has the consistency of yogurt.

Then, the milk is warmed up slowly, on low heat, until it reaches a temperature between 100 and 110°F (38 – 43°C).

As the milk gets warmer, curds begin to separate from the whey and form the farmer cheese. Once the curds are separated, they are removed from the pot and allow to drain through a cheesecloth.

Now, we do not have access to raw milk, so what do we do?

We will use milk from the store. The recipe is so simple, that I am embarrassed to call it a recipe.The only ingredients we need are whole milk and some vinegar or lemon juice. Also, a cheesecloth to strain the cheese.

How To Make Farmer Cheese At Home:

There are two different types of cottage cheese, one is a small curd cheese, that is made by adding some sort of an acid to the whole milk, usually vinegar or lemon juice.

Sometimes yogurt, cream or buttermilk is added to the milk.

The other type is a large-curd cheese, that is made by adding Rennet to the milk, an enzyme that helps milk curdle and creates bigger cheese curds, like the cottage cheese you buy in the store and it is a little bit salty.

We are going to make today the small curd cheese, that is very easy to make at home and does not require any fancy equipment.

What are you going to need:

  • 1 gallon whole milk
  • 1/4 cup  white vinegar(or lemon juice)
  • Cheese cloth
  • Strainer
  • Sauce pan- about 4 quarts
  • Thermometer

Note: I do not recommend using ultra-pasteurized milk for cheesemaking because the curd will not set.

Ultra-pasteurized milk is not always labeled as such, but you can tell because the expiration date is very long.

Regular pasteurized milk, however, works fine for cheesemaking. From 1 gallon whole milk, you should obtain about 2 cups of farmer cheese.

Also, you can use any kind of milk you like, 2%, 1% etc. However,  when you use whole milk, you will get a bigger yield of cheese and the texture will be creamier.

Conclusion: You will get a lot more farmer cheese from a gallon of whole milk than you will from a gallon of skim milk.

These being said, let’s make the cheese.

In a large pot, heat the milk to about 185-190F/85-87C. Use a thermometer if you have, otherwise, the milk should be heated close to the boiling point.

Remove it from the heat and add the vinegar or the lemon juice. Stir the milk slowly in a circular motion. 

How To Make Farmers Cheese- curdled milk in a blue pot

If the milk has already started to cool and the curds still did not separate from the whey, return it back on the stove and reheat  for another few minutes.

That should do the trick. Put a cheesecloth over a strainer and set it over a large mixing bowl. Scoop out the curds with a slotted spoon and transfer them to the cheesecloth.

How To Make Farmers Cheese- cheese draining in a cheese cloth

Tie the cheesecloth up using the corners and weigh it down to drain. Move it to the refrigerator for few hours or overnight.

When ready, remove the cheesecloth and add a little bit of salt to your taste. The cheese is ready to be used for your favorite recipes.

How To Make Farmers Cheese- Farmer cheese in a bowl

DO NOT THROW AWAY THE WHEY! You can use it to make a delicious whey bread with it. It is really easy.

Just replace the water for the dough with whey. Whey has lots of nutrients and is especially rich in proteins, so you get a wonderful benefit if you use it in the bread. Here is my favorite recipe for the whey bread.

Whey Bread Recipe With Sprouted Spelt
Whey Bread Recipe With Sprouted Spelt

is ricotta the same as farmer cheese or cottage cheese?

No, it is not. The process for making ricotta is quite different than the process for making farmer cheese.

As I was telling you before, when the milk curdles, the whey is left behind.

The whey goes back on the stove and is warmed up again to a certain temperature at which point coagulation begins. The mixture is then removed from the heat, cooled, and drained through a fine sieve or cheesecloth, leaving behind mildly sweet, creamy ricotta. 

Other Recipe Ideas To Make With Farmer Cheese:

I make pastries with it, like this Romanian Farmer Cheese Sweet Pastries that are popular on the blog. There is a reason for that: they are absolutely delicious!

Romanian Farmers Cheese Sweet Pastries
Romanian Farmer Cheese Sweet Pastries

Or you can try these Sweet Cheese Pastries(Branzoaice) that are also Romanian and extremely loved by many Romanians.

Romanian Traditional Sweet Cheese Pastries- Poale in Brau(Branzoaice)
Romanian Traditional Sweet Cheese Pastries Poale In Brau-Branzoaice

Besides pastries, I make cakes and bars with the Farmer cheese. Take a look at this Meringue Farmer Cheese Cake .

Meringue Farmer Cheese Cake
Meringue Farmers Cheese Cake

Or these delicious cookies, where the dough is actually made with farmer cheese.

Jam And Walnuts Rugelach Cornulete Cu Gem
Jam And Walnuts Rugelach Cornulete Cu Gem
How To Make Farmer Cheese At Home- featured picture

What are your favorite ways to use farmer cheese? Feel free to share it with us on the comments

Yield: 2 cups

HOW TO MAKE FARMER CHEESE AT HOME

How To Make Farmers Cheese1

How to make farmer cheese at home– call it farmer cheese or cottage cheese, this cheese is really easy to make and cheap. The only ingredients you need is good quality milk and some vinegar or lemon juice. Just follow the instructions and you get the most delicious homemade cheese to use in your favorite recipes.

Cook Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon whole milk
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar(or lemon juice)
  • Cheese cloth
  • Strainer
  • Sauce pan- about 4 quarts
  • Thermometer

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, heat the milk to about 185-190F/85-87C. Use a thermometer if you have, otherwise, the milk should be heated close to the boiling point.
  2. Remove it from the heat and add the vinegar or the lemon juice.
  3. Stir the milk slowly in a circular motion.
  4. If the milk has already started to cool and the curds still did not separate from the whey, return it back on the stove and reheat for another few minutes. That should do the trick.
  5. Put a cheesecloth over a strainer and set it over a large mixing bowl. Scoop out the curds with a slotted spoon and transfer them to the cheesecloth.
  6. Tie the cheesecloth up using the corners and weigh it down to drain.
  7. Move it to the refrigerator for few hours or overnight.
  8. Remove the cheesecloth and add a little bit of salt to your taste.
  9. The cheese is ready to be used for your favorite recipes.
  10. DO NOT THROW AWAY THE WHEY! You can use it to make a delicious whey bread with it. Here is a recipe.

Notes

  • I do not recommend using ultra-pasteurized milk for cheesemaking because the curd will not set. Ultra-pasteurized milk is not always labeled as such, but you can tell because the expiration date is very long. Regular pasteurized milk, however, works fine for cheesemaking.
  • You can use any kind of milk you like, 2%, 1% etc. However, when you use whole milk, you will get a bigger yield of cheese and the texture will be creamier. You will get a lot more farmer cheese from a gallon of whole milk than you will from a gallon of skim milk.

From 1 gallon whole milk, you should obtain about 2 cups of farmer cheese.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 51Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 78mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 8g

Did you make this recipe?

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Carol Yonov

Friday 22nd of October 2021

I have always wanted to try making farmer cheese but wonder how long it lasts? At Pascha (Easter) we make a traditional sweet cheese dessert - it is made from the cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and eggs. It is all put through a food mill at least twice, then into a mold to drain for a couple days. We use at least 2# of cheese and 1# butter (down from when we used 5# cheese!). It makes alot to gift to friends. There are also cookie recipes I make which use the cheese as a filling and then baked. Again, how long does it last in such a baked cookie? Thanks for any info.

The Bossy Kitchen

Friday 22nd of October 2021

Hi Carol, this is a quick recipe for Farmer cheese made at home. I do not specialize in making cheese, but because I did not have access to fresh cheese in the US sometimes, I like to use this old recipe when I need cheese for a particular recipe. As far as I know, any fresh cheese should be kept in the refrigerator. If appropriately stored in an airtight container, it will last about a week. If you want to make cookies with this cheese, I would not keep them on the counter for more than two days. If you're going to keep them longer, you either refrigerate or freeze them.

Mello Wolf

Thursday 25th of February 2021

How long will this last in the fridge? I have plans to use it this weekend but made it last Thursday (one week already).

The Bossy Kitchen

Thursday 25th of February 2021

I would say, use it as soon as possible. Before that, taste it and see if it is still good.

Joanne Schultz

Thursday 7th of January 2021

Hello again..... I want to make the Whey milk sprouted spelt bread you suggested. How long can I keep the leftover whey in the frig since making the Farmers Cheese a couple days ago? thanks

The Bossy Kitchen

Thursday 7th of January 2021

I would say, you should use it this week sometime. If you don't think you will get to it soon, freeze and use it when you have more time for bread.

Joanne Schultz

Monday 4th of January 2021

thanks for your reply, but I did have a whole pot of the milk leftover... so, my main question is Do I skim off the curds that have formed and put into cheesecloth and then heat the milk up again , but add more lemon or vinegar? And do you use only 1 layer of cheesecloth?

The Bossy Kitchen

Monday 4th of January 2021

Yes, you can skim the curds that have formed and return the pot to the stove. Add some more lemon or vinegar. I would also add maybe 2 layers of cheesecloth, so you can catch as much curd as possible.

Joanne Schultz

Monday 4th of January 2021

Hello..... I just attempted my first batch of Farmers Cheese using only 1/2 G of whole milk. I'm pretty sure it was not Ultra pasteurized, but after I took it off the stove and stirred in about 1/8 c. of lemon, it started to form curds, but maybe only 1/4 cup of it. Shouldn't it make about 1 cup with 1/2 Gal of milk??

The Bossy Kitchen

Monday 4th of January 2021

Hi Joanne, Did you have a lot of leftover whey or it looked still like milk? Sometimes you need to increase the amount of lemon/vinegar in order to obtain more cheese. Also, the milk is so different from one brand to another that this might happen once in a while.

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