Making Cottage Cheese.







Cheesemaking is arguably not the most photogenic kitchen project. Especially when photographed in an orange and purple kitchen, after dark, under fluorescent light. But that's how it goes. I couldn't wait to share our latest passion with you so you get the ugly pics.

Last week we picked up an extra gallon of milk from the farm for cheese making. Our intention was mozzarella but somehow we shifted our plans and went for cottage cheese instead. We made the recipe for large curd cottage cheese from the book The Home Creamery. And while the recipes in this book are designed for pasteurized milk, it worked perfectly with raw milk.

The process was so simple that the kids did most of the work. (Okay, Lupine did most of the work, but Sage jumped in to measure ingredients and stir a bit too.) And I would profess that if my five year old can do it – very nearly on her own – you posses the skills to make it too.

One gallon of milk made around four cups of cheese. Then I cooked the whey again and was able to get a 1/4 C or so of ricotta. The rest of the whey went to my dogs as a treat. Nothing was wasted. Even the jars get washed and refilled. I love that.

Before I dig in and tell you about the cheese, let's talk milk quality for a moment. (No, not raw-vs-pasteurized, but if you want to have that chat we can.) I mean vitamins. We get milk from two different friends. Both farm organically, but one has their cows out on pasture already and the other does not. If you look at the top photo, can you see the difference in their milk? It's not a lighting trick. There is a reflection on that jar, but the color is dramatically different in person. The bottle on the right has a golden hue to it. That's what you are looking for. The white milk most of us grew up on is lacking the nutrients that we need. It's from a cow that wasn't fed it proper diet and is vitamin deficient. The more yellow or golden your milk or butter, the better it is for you.

As an aside, I taught a neighbor how to make butter for a school project. We had raw summer cream, skimmed from our pastured cow's milk. They had a pint of conventional heavy cream from Walmart. When we were done our butter was bright golden yellow, theirs was almost pure white. And pretty much devoid of nutrients. Grass-fed dairy was a part of Lupine's healing protocol for early childhood tooth decay. The white milk had no place in that protocol. What color is your butter?

Okay. Enough milk talk. Back to the cheese.

A basic cottage cheese recipe is so simple. All you need for the batch we crafted is milk (raw or otherwise), rennet (we buy ours at the coop but a cheese supply store would work too), and a splash of cultured buttermilk.

And how did it taste? Well, my intention was to photograph the final product in a lovely bail-top jar the next morning. By the time I got my camera, the entire batch was gone. In Sage's words (my cottage cheese addict), "That was the best cottage cheese I've had in my entire life!"

If you are looking for more homemade dairy recipes, I've shared simple tutorials for butter, yogurt, and ricotta cheese. And while I don't feel right about sharing the recipe from the book we used, this one looks pretty darn close. (And he got the pretty "after" shot of the cheese in a bowl.)

Here's to making your own!

17 thoughts on “Making Cottage Cheese.

  1. Danielle says:

    Did you use liquid rennet or tablets? Do you know, by chance, whether they are interchangeable? Thanks! Agree 100% on the grassfed raw milk. We are loving ours too. I do have to strain my yogurt after I make it, but that is a small price to pay, I would say!

  2. Sheila says:

    Hey Rachel,
    I don’t want to have the raw vs. pasteurized talk – as we are on the same page – but can we talk about cultured buttermilk? I make cultured buttermilk by clabbering a half a gallon of milk with about a cup of the liquid leftover from making butter. Is this the substance you mean?

    I have the worst time talking about “buttermilk” with my neighbor that I get my (raw, grass-fed) milk from. He insists the only TRUE buttermilk is the liquid leftover from making butter. He is in his 70s, has been milking a cow since he was 10, so I am not inclined to disagree with him, but I would like your opinion.

    I love your blog. We are waldorf-inspired homeschoolers who live in western NC. I don’t remember how I found your blog, but I have been reading it for months. This is the first time I’ve felt compelled to comment.

    Hope you are having a great day. I really need to get back on cheese making – we have fallen off the wagon with this. You have re-inspired me. Thanks!


  3. ZingDay says:

    Thank you for this educational post! I’ve been wanting to get into cheese making as well but I’m taking one thing at a time. I recently started making homemade bread and this past week I made my first loaves that didn’t crumble when I cut into them! As I planted my tomato and basil seeds this past week I was also imagining making homemade mozzarella to go with them too! A completely homemade calabrese salad…yum! I just may start out with your cottage cheese first though since it sounds so simple. Thanks!

  4. Rachel Wolf says:

    We used liquid because that was what we had. In a previous cheese-making adventure (cream cheese I think) I googled the conversion and found an answer. You can exchange the two. As for your yogurt, check out my tutorial above. I can flip a jar upside down and not lose a drop of yogurt. From raw milk, heated. So good.

  5. Rachel Wolf says:

    Eeek! I’ve been having this internal debate for some time. I get my milk (and my cream) from an Amish family with no refrigeration. They clabber (IE: leave out) my cream for a day before I get it. That being said, I prefer the flavor of buttermilk made with an actual culture vs the bacteria naturally found in the milk. It’s just me. I think both are totally ligit, but I prefer the flavor when using a culture.

    Thanks for commenting by the way. Welcome to this space.

  6. Rachel Wolf says:

    There is so much to be said for one step at a time. Enjoy your fresh bread and your glorious garden! Mozzarella is pretty straightforward when you’re ready for the leap.

  7. Mikaela says:

    A few weeks back I made mozzarella with my food science class–in under an hour! It made me think of you, as I know you’re enchanted with the process of cheesemaking. I was too! I thought it was totally cool; very tasty too. I look forward to hearing more about your cheese adventures.

  8. Kristin Fooshee says:

    Hi! I was wondering if you would mind sharing some of your food recommendations for healing cavities? I just made my first bone broth the other day and we took our first dose of the Dental Essentials liquid this morning….now i would like to focus on the calcium intake. I live in Louisiana and there is not an option that i have found for raw milk. 🙁 I have a 5 year old daughter and a 10 month old as well. The 5 year old has had enamel breakdown and cavities as well as staining. I am now on a mission! Thanks for your wonderful blog. I love reading it and would like to think that we would be friends if we lived near one another. 😉

  9. Rachel Wolf says:

    Hi Kristin,
    A great place to start is this Mothering thread.

    It took me days to read but changed my life. Start there. Then I found a second thread but havent read it all yet. The first post looks awesome and is a great starting point.

    As far as what we do, we eat almost zero grains and few legumes and nuts, focus on meats and veggies, limit sweets or combine them with protein to keep blood sugar stable (to protect teeth), and eat traditional food (any grains, beans, and nuts are soaked and dehydrated or soaked and sprouted), lots of raw dairy, fish, and bone broth. The bone broth is key. We eat it every day if possible.

    Good luck, mama. Its a long road but so worth while. Wish we were closer and could have tea to talk!


    Rachel Wolf
    Owner and Founder, LuSa Organics
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  10. Lori says:

    Hey Rachel, since we are on the teeth talk here give me your educated opinion. Does night nursing cause decay? I’ve heard both ways.

  11. fluorescent lights says:

    This looks so good. I remember the old times when we would go to the province at my grandparents house and just eat these. It’s really a pretty great experience, we would make it ourselves most of the time and the time spent doing that is really worth all the trouble.

  12. Rachel Wolf says:

    In Nagels book Heal Tooth Decay he argues that it is not. Night nursing is biologically normal. Like co-sleeping, weve done it forever. I kept right on night nursing through Lupines decay and when we corrected our diet her decay stopped – despite continued nursing at any hour.

  13. Sarah says:

    This is exciting! I’m just now catching up on my blogs. I haven’t made cheese in a while, I took a class to make fromage blanc and chevre. I love that it really is this easy to make cheese. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. My girls were just asking if we could make cottage cheese. It is their favorite and finding a “good” one isn’t easy. So we will be making our own this week when we pick up milk. ~ Elizabeth

  15. Trish says:

    Rachel, I’ve got two kids who can’t eat cow dairy, but are thriving on local sheep milk (so cream-filled and such high calcium!). If I don’t make my own butter, how would I mimic the cultured buttermilk? Any ideas? Could I use a spoon-full of yogurt or am I looking at a different kind of culture there?
    Thanks – I think my kids will love this cheese. We’re on dental repair as well, so we’re always glad for more ideas with dairy!

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