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. It is also 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. It is not even a recipe, as the only ingredients you need is 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 you need:
1 gallon whole milk
1/4 cup white vinegar(or lemon juice)
Sauce pan- about 4 quarts
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Or you can try these Sweet Cheese Pastries(Branzoaice) that are also Romanian and extremely loved by many Romanians.
Besides pastries, I make cakes and bars with the Farmer cheese. Take a look at this Meringue Farmer Cheese Cake .
Or these delicious cookies, where the dough is actually made with farmer cheese.
What are your favorite ways to use farmer cheese? Feel free to share it with us on the comments.