Homemade Fresh Farmer’s Cheese
I know I said I wasn’t doing dairy anymore, but this is different!
My primary reason for wanting to eliminate dairy from my diet is that it’s really hard to come across high quality, well sourced, unprocessed dairy products in my part of the world.
But I was recently privileged enough to get my hands on some fresh raw milk which came directly from my son-in-law’s grandpa’s farm. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I was when he and my daughter handed me the precious glass jar! I felt just like I’d just been offered some kind of a long lost treasure. Yes, raw milk is THAT hard to come across around here.
I really wish it wasn’t the case though, and hopefully, I’ll be able to get some of that precious elixir more often. I’d forgotten just how much I LOVE cheese! And now that I got a chance to try my hand at making my very own Fresh Farmer’s Cheese, and realized just how easy it is to make, I dream of being able to whip up a fresh batch every week.
I’d also love to try my hand at making homemade yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream and more complex cheeses, like cheddar and mozzarella, too!
Maybe I should look into buying my very own cow… HA! If only it was that easy!
Alright, so theoretically, I was supposed to start with a full gallon of fresh milk, but I couldn’t resist drinking a little bit from the jug before I got started making the cheese. Oh, and I also indulged in a couple of spoonfuls of cream before I mixed it all in. O.M.G. is that stuff ever good.
Oh, and before we go any further, I feel I should specify that, according to all the information I read on the art of making Fresh Farmer’s Cheese, you absolutely HAVE to use fresh, raw milk for this. The process will not work if your milk has been pasteurized or homogenized.
So you really need to get your hands on the real deal, which might very well be the toughest part, for seriously, you will not believe how stupid easy this stuff is to make…
First, you need to bring your fresh farm milk to a simmer over low heat. You’ll want to stir it pretty much constantly to make sure it doesn’t scorch (to be honest, though, mine did a little, and my cheese was still excellent, so don’t fret too much if it happens to you…)
As soon as your milk starts to simmer, pour in the lemon juice and apple cider vinegar and stir well.
Almost instantly, you’ll see the milk start to curdle. If it doesn’t, add a little bit more vinegar, one teaspoon at a time, until the milk separates into whey and curds.
Kill the heat and let the milk rest for at least 10 minutes, undisturbed.
Line a colander with a layer of cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl to collect the whey (if you wish to save it, that is, but honestly, you really should!).
Pour the curdled milk into the lined colander…
… then tie up the cheesecloth and hang it do drip for one or two hours.
You can just hang it over a bowl to collect the whey, or use a large glass jar or pitcher. Just make sure that your cheesecloth doesn’t come in contact with the bottom of the recipient.
While that’s dripping away, let’s deal with all that whey that got left behind!
If you wish to save it (which again, I really think you should), transfer it to several mason type glass jars and keep refrigerated for up to a week of freeze it for up to 3 months.
You can then use this whey in your favorite recipes, pretty much like you would milk or buttermilk:
- use it instead of milk in baked goods or pancakes;
- make delicious marinades that will not only impart lots of flavor to your meat but will also help tenderize it;
- add some to your favorite soups, stews and even smoothies to give them a bit of a zing
- if you do white potatoes, whey is apparently a fantastic liquid to cook them in and is absolutely delicious when added to mashed potatoes (Now THAT, I can definitely imagine… I might have to try it someday! A few white potatoes won’t kill me, will they? Hey, I mean, the starchy tuber’s even Whole30 approved now…)
Alright, enough about white potatoes and whey already, let’s get back to the pièce de résistance, shall we?
Once your cheese is done dripping, cut the cheesecloth open and roughly break up that yummy cheese between your fingers.
Transfer it to a plate, drizzle with a generous amount of extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with fresh herbs, salt and pepper.
This cheese is delicious as is, mounded on top of Rosemary and Sesame Paleo Crackers, but it’s also absolutely magical to use in creamy, cheesy dishes. It melts in the most delicious way and it’s mild yet slightly tangy flavor will transform an ordinary dish into a true gustatory celebration.
Just wait ’til you see the delicious casserole that this batch of fresh cheese went into…
Homemade Fresh Farmer’s Cheese
- 3.75 liters 1 gallon fresh raw milk from the farm
- 1 tablespoon Himalayan salt
- the juice from one large lemon
- 2-3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- Bring the milk and salt to a simmer over low heat, stirring almost constantly to prevent the milk from scorching.
- As soon as the milk starts to simmer, pour the lemon juice and apple cider vinegar right in and stir for a few seconds. The milk should start to curdle immediately; if it doesn't, add a little bit more vinegar, one teaspoon at a time, until the milk separates into whey and curds.
- Kill the heat and let the milk rest for at least 10 minutes, undisturbed.
- Line a colander with cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl to collect the whey (if you wish to save it). Pour the curdled milk into the lined colander then tie up the cheesecloth and hang it do drip for one or two hours.
- Once the cheese is done dripping, open the cheesecloth and roughly break up the cheese with your finger. Transfer to a plate, drizzle with a generous amount of extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with fresh herbs, salt and pepper.
- Keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week.
- If you chose to save the whey, transfer it to several mason type glass jar and keep refrigerated for up to a week of freeze for up to 3 months.*
If you’ve tried this recipe, please take a minute to rate the recipe and let me know how things went for you in the comments below. It’s always such a pleasure to hear from you!
You can also FOLLOW ME on PINTEREST, FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM and TWITTER for more delicious, healthy recipes!
36 Comments on “Homemade Fresh Farmer’s Cheese”
OMG, cheese was my absolute favorite. I miss it so! (said with quite the whiny tone, did you hear it?) Hmm, this sounds so delicious especially on the crunchy crackers. Now that is something I miss, creamy cheese with the resistance of a cracker, mmmm.
Well its gonna have to be a while before I try this. I still have weight to lose. Oops, just saw its keto friendly, hmm.
I know what you’re talking about with raw milk. not much of anything is better than that. Can you tell I’m a dairy ho. 🙂
I’m right with you on that one, Beth. I too used to LOOOOOVE my dairy and I really do miss it, especially now that I’m doing this keto thing! Hopefully I will eventually find a good source for raw milk that isn’t hundreds of kilometers away from home…
I never would have thought to make cottage cheese from scratch before. What a great idea.. you definitely have inspired me to try to make the recipe, hopefully I have some success!
Actually, Thalia, Fresh Farmer’s Cheese is a lot closer to ricotta than it is to cottage. Soooo much better, too, and it’s so easy to make, you seriously can’t mess this up! I really hope that you give it a try! 🙂
HA! to your cow comment too! It really made me laugh out loud in front of my computer screen. Hope you enjoyed that delish cheese! 🙂
HAHA! Glad to have made you laughed, Sophia! Laughter is the best medicine. 😀
Thanks for stopping by and have yourself a great day, my dear!
Just an FYI, the whey will actually keep in the fridge for up to 6 months! I
Also, I believe you are in Quebec though I don’t know what part…. if you are in the Montreal, South Shore, or even Vaudreuil/Hudson areas, I have access to raw milk every two weeks and we are currently accepting new members!
Feel free to contact me if you’d like!
6 months for real??? That long??? I’ll definitely have to put that to the test.
And yes, you are right, I am in Quebec, though I am located in the Laurentians… still, I’d be very interested in getting more details about your raw milk offering, so I will definitely be in touch! 🙂
You think I could get that through amazon prime….? 😉
I am on my knees. ON. MY. KNEES. Begging you to make cottage cheese. Oh please oh please. It is my absolute favorite and if I can make it with raw milk then I will be the happiest girl on earth. Also, I will totally go in on a cow with you… Just sayin.
HAHAHA! On your knees, really? Well, in that case… I’ll see what I can do. Next time I get access to raw milk, I’ll definitely consider giving it a go, if only just for you!
Shall I start shopping for a cow? Think they sell those on Amazon? 😉
Anddd I replied on the wrong comment. It’s almost Friday…
HAHAHAHA! Oh, Jordan. This place just wouldn’t be the same without you! 🙂
YES!! So happy for you!
Hello, I combined your recipe with another my mother-in-law uses and it turned out fantastic. In my neck of the woods there are very few dairy farms so I tried using store bought whole milk and added a half gallon of buttermilk. I wish I had access to raw milk to try it, but it’s just not possible for the time being…
I hear your pain, Josh. I wish it was as easy to buy raw milk as it is to buy the processed stuff. Hopefully it will happen eventually. So you’re saying the cheese turned out using the store bought milk and buttermilk combined? That’s good to know…
I just made farmers cheese using ….
1 gallon whole milk
1/2 gallon buttermilk
And 1/2 cup vinegar
All from my local grocery store it’s an excellent pierogi filling
Since I prefer savory to sweet I added a pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper it’s currently draining in a muslin bag I bought tamales in from same local grocers freezer section
Hi Sonia, I live on an Island where it is impossible to get anything “fresh”!”, very sad for anyone like me, The only milk we get here is the cartons of long-life stuff. I have been making my own farmers cheese with it for over a year now and it is delicious! I have to use powdered citric acid instead of fresh lemon juice. The cheese is really yummy when baked with herbs and then served with crackers or vege chips.
Good to know! Thanks for the info, Felicity!
i would like to know if anyone has used an applesauce reamer instead of cheese cloth ???
i’ve made farm cheese using cheese cloth … but i ran out & my closest store is 72 miles away … my grandmother’s applesauce reamer actually has smaller “holes” than the cheese cloth does!!!
Had you heard about way to make cheese with almost no heat involved? I use home made kefir for starter, milk ferments for 48 hours on countertop, then I put glass jug with fermented milk in bigger pot and slow bring water just to simmering and turn it off after few minuts ,leave jug with milk in the water till it cools,rest is same as with any cheese making- cheese clouth and all….
I am from eastern Europe ,raw milk was coming there…. I think that this way you would keep milk enzymes less damaged and would get more rich probiotic qoulitiies to the cheese
Yes, and use dense cheese clouth ,I got mine on website Art of fermentation
This sounds wonderful! I’ll try it ????
You can reheat the whey to make richotta cheese. Richotta means twice cooked. On low heat bring the whey to 190 degrees and add 1/4 cup of white vinegar and stir. The remaining milk protein that separates will be in very small curds. There will not be as much as the first cooking. Let is set for at least 10 minutes and then strain through 4 layers or more of cheese cloth to catch it all. I place a few heavy cans on top of the folded cheese cloth to press out as much of the whey as possible. I like it on the dry side. You can leave it plain to use in sweet recipes like cheese filled crepes or add salt to make it savory. I like to add chopped sun dried tomatoes, dried thyme and basil and spread it on crackers or toasted bread. It keeps in the refrigerator for a week if not eaten before then. I dump the leftover whey in the garden as it is too sour to use in cooking.
I make farmer cheese using regular milk, not raw. For 1/2 gallon I add 1 cup of buttermilk , and let it sit on the counter for ~ 48 hrs. The longer it stays the more sour it is, instead of bland flavor. The result is a yogurt looking texture, and tastes like yogurt or kefir. This also allows the resulting farmer cheese to be almost lactose free and it’s easier on digestion anyway. Afterwards I cook it on low setting (electric stove setting 2) for 3 hrs. Here too the longer it cooks, the drier the cheese. This also depends on the brand of buttermilk. Some cause the milk to sour into thicker consistency, some thinner. So you can adjust cooking to your preferred result ( spreadable or thicker cheese) by increasing time by 1/2 intervals or slight temperatures increase. Afterwards leave the cheese to cool to room temperature ( leave in the pot). After the cooling time elapsed I use a pot with colander ( small steamer pot works great), place cheesecloth into colander and drain the cheese. The resulting whey cannot be used for ricotta. It’s sour and you’ll get at most 1-2 tbspn. You can use it to water roses and there are other uses like making bread, etc. Once most of the whey drains and it discarded, you can place the pot into the fridge to continue to drain and cook overnight. The cheese will keep in an airtight , preferably glass not plastic, or enameled container for up to 5 days in the fridge. I mix it with a bit of sour cream, a bit of warmed milk and some sugar, and make breakfast for my kids. It’s enough for 4 large soup bowl size portions. You can also use it to stuff tomatoes ( mix farmer cheese, the insides of tomatoes, mayo, salt, crushed garlic, dill or parsley) . Use for cheesecake instead of cream cheese. Stuffed crepes , etc.
Just more information on the raw versus pasteurized – You absolutely can make this cheese from store bought regular milk. I follow this same recipe, heat a gallon of regular whole milk Up to 200° with a candy thermometer – that’s right below boil and prevents the scorch issue while being hot enough. Then pull it off the burner, mixing quarter cup of white vinegar or a little more if it doesn’t look like it’s separating. White vinegar leave some more neutral flavor than lemon juice or cider vinegar. It usually mix and some herbs and salt at this stage, after it separates and before I drain it, so it’s mixed evenly and I don’t have to disturb my beautiful cheese ball To flavor it. It is very consistent and this method turns out every time
Amazing cheese! My kids loved it so much! I’ve made it several times and everyone loves it!
Thanks Ellianna! Real happy to hear! 🙂
Looks great!! When is the tablespoon of salt added to the recipe? I know it says to sprinkle seasonings on at the end but do you add the tablespoon of salt earlier on?
Right at the beginning, Kelsey, as described under step 1: “Bring the milk and salt to a simmer over low heat…” 😉
This cheese was SO good! I added a rosemary garlic salt a friend had given me. Yum!! This is a keeper!!
Happy to hear, Chrissy! Thanks for the great feedback! 🙂
Thanks for the fun, interesting easy to comprehend style!! I just started getting raw milk from my Amish neighbors. The milk is sooo delicious. Making your cheese w herbs today!!
Just as a comment, I do make Farmer Cheese from pasteurized or homogenized milk. I start with 1 Gallon of Organic Whole Milk, add a cup of Kefer as culture agent (could also use cultured buttermilk). Cover and let sit for 2-3 days on counter until consistency of sour cream or yougurt. Thre should be no foul smell. Heat on low (about 50-55 degrees) for an hour as the whey seperates. Drain with cheese cloth and pop in the refrigerator. Just wanted to share that there is a way without raw milk.
I’m not sure what happened. I used milk that normally curdles when I boil for yogurt but this time it did not curdle even after adding the lemon and apple cider acids. I got very little curds. If I boil and it remains liquid I usually cool and make yogurt but I seasoned this so I went ahead but it didn’t do what it normally does. Perplexed. I did add some more acid but it didn’t appear to be doing any curdling. My milk is raw and it’s not kid drinkable according to my teens but didn’t smell bad. Suggestions?
Our cheese came out like rubber. Looks right, but pretty stiff.
I don’t get the need for raw milk if it’s heated, isn’t that pasteurization? I do buy non homogenized.