Homemade Cottage Cheese


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Finished cottage cheese. Photo by Renee Benoit.

Over the years I’ve written a lot about my wonderful Gramma E and how she inspired me in the kitchen and beyond. She could sew, bake, cook, can and everything in between. After all she came from a self- sufficient farm family. They were from a time when going to the store for every little thing was simply not in the cards.

She made corn relish, bread, sewed without patterns, canned everything including meat and vegetables, baked the lightest angel food cakes on the planet and quilted up a storm.

One thing she made that I wish she had shared with me was how to make cottage cheese. When we had lunch or dinner at her house oftentimes there was a bowl of homemade cottage cheese on the table. I was too young to appreciate it but now that I am older I think back on those days with fondness and wish I had learned how she did it.

Recently, I discovered a local dairy with excellent milk so I did a little internet research on how to make cottage cheese. I came away confused because there are so many ways to make it! The only thing the recipes had in common was that they all started with the best milk you can get, never ultra-pasteurized and hopefully certified raw. But where they diverged was sometimes you heat the milk, sometimes not. Then to make the milk curdle sometimes you use rennet, sometimes you use lemon juice, or sometimes you use white vinegar. One recipe said to set milk out on the counter and let it curdle by adding buttermilk. I decided to try the buttermilk route because I guessed that might be the way my Gramma made it. My aunt said she remembered that it had a slight “bite” to it which I would think resulted from a fermentation process.

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