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Homemade Farmer's Cheese (Tvorog)

Dry curd farmers cheese on a grey plate.
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Homemade farmer's cheese or tvorog is a white cheese made with basic ingredients with different variations. Use it for breakfast or to make sweet and savory dishes.

Ingredients

Scale

Base:

  • 4 1/4 cups (1 liter) milk

Farmer's cheese with vinegar:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

Farmer's cheese with apple cider vinegar:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Farmer's cheese with rice vinegar:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar

Farmer's cheese with white wine vinegar:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Farmer's cheese with lemon juice:

  • 1 1/2-2 lemons, juice

Farmer's cheese with kefir:

  • 4 1/4 cups (1 liter) kefir

Farmer's cheese with kefir and sour cream:

  • 2 cups + 2 tablespoons (1/2 liter) kefir
  • 3.5 oz. (100 g) sour cream

Instructions

  1. Pour milk into a heavy-bottomed pot (aluminum or stainless steel pot) and bring over medium heat. Heat milk almost to a boil.

    Pro tip: The milk should reach the temperature of 175-200°F (79-93°C), 205°F (96°C) at maximum if you check it with a candy thermometer. Omit this step; instead, look for multiple bubbles on the milk's surface.

    Use a metal tablespoon or a hand whisk to stir the milk occasionally to prevent it from scorching at the bottom of the pot.

  2. When the first bubbles appear, add distilled white vinegar or another acid ingredient combination and decrease the heat to a low medium. Gently stir the milk a few times. It will begin to curdle, and the flakes will start to separate from the whey. Finally, the milk will break into flakes floating in the yellowish-colored whey.

    Pro tip: Sometimes, you need to add more vinegar or lemon juice to get the right flakes and distinctive liquid color. It doesn't apply to using kefir and sour cream variations.

  3. Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, prepare a colander or a mesh-fine strainer lined with two layers of cheesecloth or a flour sack towel. Place a saucepan or a large bowl under the colander to trap the whey.

    Pro tip: Please ensure the bottom of the colander does not touch the bottom of the bowl; otherwise, the cheese will retain its moisture instead of draining it.

  4. Spoon the cooled cheese into the cheesecloth-lined sieve. Don't pour all the cheese at once to prevent the liquid from overflowing from the container. Gather the corners of the cloth and gently squeeze the cheese to let the whey drain. If you like wet-style farmer's cheese, let it stay over the colander for 2-3 minutes before use. If you prefer a dry product, tie the ends of the cloth and hang the knot over the sink or dish for 2-3 hours.

  5. Alternatively, place a heavy object, for example, a can of food, on top of the cheese wrapped in the cloth and bring it to the fridge overnight. The draining time depends on your preference: the longer the whey drains, the drier the curd. Keep the finished cheese refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Notes

  1. Avoid an enamel pot for making the recipe: milk tends to burn in such cookware.
  2. Drain the cheese by using a clean cotton towel or gauze folded in several layers. Use a few layers of sturdy paper towels if you don't have cloth.
  3. To speed up the drainage, scrape the cheese mixture at the sides of the cheese cloth to allow more liquid to be drained out.
  4. After draining, rinse the cloth in cold water and dry it before using it again.
  5. With regular cheesemaking, use a food-grade non-rinse sanitizer for cleaning the sink, refrigerator, and countertop.
  6. Save the whey, drained from the cheese, into a bowl. Store it in a closed glass bottle in the fridge for 4-5 days. Then, use it to make crepes, pancakes, etc.

Nutrition

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