Monday, August 31, 2009

Alternate Cooking Method Homemade Cottage Cheese

This is the official follow up on the original posting for Homemade cottage cheese . Brace yourselves people. I, Stephanie Petersen, am now letting everyone know that there may be an easier way to make cottage cheese from powdered milk. I'm almost embarrassed to admit this. It's just hurting my cute little ego. Sigh...alas, I think it's very healthy to admit when something this cool happens to me. It was quite by accident that I came across this method. There. It's out there. I'm not as sharp as I pretend to be. Is anyone? Really? Except for Ace. He is as cool as he pretends to be (think on that one...). On this occasion, I literally just forgot to add all the water to my powdered milk. I was using powdered because we where out of fresh milk. The irony? I was shocked at how quickly it set and how much easier it was. I think I actually find more success. Scary isn't it? First, I followed the instructions for Homemade cottage cheese except I used:

1/4 Junket Rennet Tablet (
1/2 cup water
1 quart water, 70 degrees
4 cups powdered milk
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cream

Dissolve Rennet Tablet in 1/2 cup water by crushing. Set aside. In a large (8 cup capacity) sterile microwave safe dish with a fitting lid, heat water to 70º F. Add the milk powder and dissolve. 70 degrees is important. It will not feel warm to the touch. (Use a thermometer folks!) Stir in buttermilk and Rennet Tablet solution, mixing well. Cover with towel and let stand at room temperature 12 to 18 hours until firm curd forms. To test for firm curd, remove a milk sample at a point near the edge of the pan or bowl with a spoon. The curd is ready when the coagulated milk sample holds its shape and the edges are sharply defined.
Now here's the difference in cooking method. I took the curd and placed it in the microwave for 1 minute on high heat, then stirred it. Allowing it to sit for 5 minutes.
If you are against the microwave cooking, by all means, do the double boiler spoken of in the original post.
Make sure you are Checking that the curd doesn't get above 115 degrees. 110 degrees is optimal. Mine did get slightly warmer and I stirred it. Even a few degrees hotter and it will turn to more of a soft fresh mozzarella. This batch actually ended up okay because I caught it in time. I have found this method to be easier at allowing it to stay at this temperature for about 20 minutes.
Stir ever few minutes and heat 20-30 seconds if it gets below 100 degrees. After 20 minutes, drain the whey. It takes a lot less space to do this one and yields about one pound of cottage cheese with excellent flavor. Not a hint of dry milk taste. Transfer to a clean bowl and mix in the salt and cream. Enjoy as you would cottage cheese.

See, and now you can sleep at night knowing that even I can admit when I find a better way. I'm not opposed to seeking out bold better and brighter futures. I think we can all agree on that.
There you go...
Hey, does anyone else wonder why I end all my posts "There you go"?
It's my way of saying, "Now you go do it." I want to hear all your joys and despairs on this journey. I'm here learning everyday right along with you.
So...There you go.


Goob said...

ok, this is a LOT less intimidating. I just may go buy a food thermometer and a package of junket today. I've been wanting cottage cheese and can't bring myself to spend the 8 bucks on the large package, and the small package is just, well, too small.

Chef Tess said...

Do it! Everyone should buy junket. I'm a big fan. Let me know how it goes Lisa!

Unknown said...

i am going to try cottage cheese..
we are picky about our cottage cheese, haven't found a brand in arizona we like as much as the one we used to get in utah!

Rhona McAdam said...

Thanks for the helpful photo of what a good set looks like! Just making cottage cheese for the first time, so much appreciated.

One question: your simplified recipe calls for 1 quart of water to 4c powdered, but the original says 1 gallon skim milk. Is it truly 1 quart water or should it be 1 gallon water?

Chef Tess said...

Rhona, actually you did read it correctly with the 1 quart of water instead of a gallon. I've found it takes a lot less time to drain with the lower amount of water so it's a much faster process. Wonderful question and thank you for the great feedback. It's much appreciated! God bless.