Country Lore: Make Your Own Cottage Cheese

Slowly cook milk and buttermilk to make old-fashioned tasting cottage cheese.
By Chris Long
December 2008/January 2009


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When I was growing up in central Kansas in the 1930s, we milked our own cows and made various dairy products, including cottage cheese. Many meals were meatless in those days, and a typical evening meal was fried potatoes, cottage cheese, coleslaw or wilted lettuce, and homemade bread and butter.

Mom made her cottage cheese on the back “burner” of our wood-burning range and you had to be careful not to get it too hot or it would get stringy. She used separated milk to make the cottage cheese, then added some fresh cream before serving. Here’s how I make it today:

In a crockpot, stir a half cup of buttermilk into 1 gallon of milk. (Skim, 1 percent, 2 percent or whole will work, but do not use ultra-pasteurized.) Let stand at room temperature 12 to 18 hours until set (clabbered). Cut the clabber into large cubes. Cook in a slow cooker at about 300 degrees Fahrenheit until whey separates from curds, stirring occasionally (will take eight to 12 hours). Drain in strainer or cheese cloth. Add cream, salt and pepper.

Chris Long                               
Red Cloud, Nebraska







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