Kefir Cottage Cheese

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I have this genius friend (actually, I have several) and her name is Carrie. If I want to know something about nature or herbs, I ask Carrie. She’s a wealth of information. She used to work with my dad and now she’s retired….which excites me because it means she has more time to answer all my questions. Carrie uses kefir and she sent me her recipe for homemade kefir cottage cheese. I was STOKED! (Do people still say stoked?) I love cottage cheese – but Barry and Annie are not fans. Tons of my recipes call for cottage cheese…..and both of them will eat it if it’s IN something. Pansies. I love knowing I can make things with my kefir instead of buying it at the store. So, come along with me and see how easy it is to make your own cottage cheese. Thanks Carrie!

You’ll need one pint of dairy kefir, one quart of whole milk, and apple cider vinegar. That’s it. Carrie actually says you can use any kind of milk, but I’m an advocate of full fat dairy. I really have to get a cow…..and some chickens……and a new food processor. But anyway, on to the cottage cheese!

You’ll need to let your kefir sit out of the fridge until it’s room temperature. That took a couple hours for me. I put it out after breakfast and then went about my morning chores – ironing, washing, cleaning up milk splatters on the window, etc.

We’re using our thermometer again, just like with the homemade yogurt. Heat your milk slowly to 140 degrees. Okay, so I went a little faster than slowly…..I used the medium setting. Mainly, don’t let the milk boil. Just warm it up until it’s 140.

When your temp reaches 140 degrees, slowly pour in the pint of kefir. DO NOT STIR IT. I know, I know. I have this stirring issue. I have to restrain myself. And for me, stirring usually = mess.

After you’ve poured all the kefir in, also pour in two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Again, don’t stir it. What’s your rush? Magic is happening here y’all.

Now, after the vinegar is in you will want to push it in and around the pot with a wooden spoon. Don’t stir it, just push it around. Be a bully.

Your curds will start to form as you push the vinegar around in the milk mixture. If you don’t see the curds start to form, heat the milk back up to 130 degrees and then you should see the curds forming.

You should see the whey start to form around the outside edges of the pot. It looks yellow…..like chicken broth, Carrie says. The whey and curds will all separate. How does it happen? Well, I don’t know…..and I don’t really care because I just made cottage cheese and I’m clucking around like a proud hen. When you see the whey separate, turn off the heat and let it set about 5 minutes.

Just like we lined the colander with cheesecloth for Greek yogurt, we’re going to do the same here for the cottage cheese. Make sure you wet the cloth and then ring it out. Pour your liquid into the colander and let it start to strain. Don’t press it. Just let it do it’s thang….it might take 30 minutes or so…..or you might accidentally forget about it because you’re dancing to Ezekiel Saw The Wheel with your 2 year old and it might sit for about an hour. Uh, oops?

It will look like this when all your liquid is gone. WOOHOO! Am I the only one excited around here? I mean, we just made COTTAGE CHEESE! That deserves a bit of excitement I think.

Turn the cheese out into a storage bowl. Break the curds apart with a fork while they are still warm. You might want to add salt to taste. I don’t because I usually just use it in a recipe. Carrie says to store the whey in the bowl in the fridge….you can use it for bread or anything else that calls for liquid. I find that it makes bread really tender and flaky.

Did you know this would be so stinking easy? I mean, really? I get excited every time I make it. Curds and whey. Just call me Little Miss Muffet. I’ll put the directions below exactly like Carrie worded them.

This post is linked to What’s On Your Plate at Good Cheap Eats, at Under the Big Top Friday on Savannah’s Savory Bites, at Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS, at Sunday School on Butter Believer, at Monday Mania on The Healthy Home Economist, and Real Food Wednesday on Kelly The Kitchen Kop, at Frugal Days Sustainable Ways on Frugally Sustainable, and at Hearth and Soul Blog Hop at Penniless Parenting.

Comment Policy: I love hearing your thoughts and input on what I write. Since I write about what works at my house, what pleases my handsome hubby and darling children; I'm sure we'll disagree sometimes. In those cases, do what's right for you and yours. As with any form of communication, please only post comments that move the discussion in a positive direction.

About Stacy

Stacy is the author of Crock On: A Semi-Whole Foods Slow Cooker Cookbook and Keep Crockin': A Poorganic Slow Cooker Cookbook, and a stay-at-home and homeschooling mom to her two children, Annie (June 2009) and Andy (August 2012). After an “awakening” in March 2011, her family switched to a more natural, whole foods diet. She likes to blog about how to live on less than you make and how to eat good food while doing it. Her passion is teaching others how to save money and she tag teams with her husband in this endeavor. At Stacy Makes Cents you’ll find information on how to save money in the kitchen, how to have fun with your kids, and how to be thrifty in all areas of life. Her passion is teaching others how to live debt free. Make sure to follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more to keep up with her daily antics.

  • http://impossibleway.livejournal.com Brandy

    I love Carrie’s cottage cheese. I’ve used it in lasagna with great success. Can you share how you use leftover whey in a post? I don’t often have it from cottage cheese, but I do strain a lot of yogurt and it just goes down the drain.

    • Stacy

      Mostly I just use it in my bread recipes. If something calls for water, I just use the whey that I have in the fridge. I substitute it cup for cup. Don’t pour it out! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! :-) You can use it for anything you bake instead of water.
      I used it in lasagna too. Delish! Carrie rocks.

  • Jenny

    My favorite way to eat cottage cheese (and one of my favorite breakfasts in general) is with raspberries on waffles. I just stir some raspberries (that have been frozen and then thawed so they are kind of mushy and juicy) in cottage cheese with a little sugar (or other kind of sweetener) then plop that all on top of a waffle. A few drops of lemon juice in the cottage cheese raspberry mixture is good too.

    It makes for a really tasty, filling breakfast, and pretty darn good late night snack too.

    • Stacy

      That sounds great to me Jenny! You might have a little talking to do with Barry and Annie though. ;-)

  • sherrie

    we have lazy day lasagna here often. place a cup of cottage cheese in a microwave safe bowl. top w/a cup of spaghetti sauce. sprinkle w/shredded mozzarella and microwave about 2 min until heated through. yum!

  • Areta

    This is sort of on topic…..I’m looking for grains to make goat milk kefir. I’m a breastfeeding mom and my son has a dairy allergy. The kefir grains I have contain skim milk in the ingredients. Do you have a good source to purchase goat milk kefir grains or is this even an option? I’m new to kefiring and would really like to start soon.

    • Stacy

      Areta, I’m not entirely sure……do you think if you rinsed them in filtered water that it would take care of most of the skim? I make mine with whole milk….and I don’t know anyone who makes it with goat milk.
      BUT, I do know who will have answers for you. Try contacting Cultures for Health. They are a GREAT company with awesome customer service. If there are goat milk grains available, they’ll know it. :-)
      http://www.culturesforhealth.com/

  • Brandi Lynch

    Can you use yogurt instead of kefir?

    • Stacy

      Brandi, I’m not sure. Yogurt is a lot thicker than kefir. You MIGHT be able to try buttermilk instead? But I’ve not tried that though. If you do, please keep me posted!

  • http://quickeasycheaphealthy.com Anne @ Quick and Easy Cheap and Healthy

    Awesome! I can’t wait to try this now that I’m eating dairy again (woohoo!) And thanks for joining our Flu fighting blog hop:)

    • Stacy

      So, here’s the booboo I made. I was trying to link to Rachel’s Healthy2Day Wednesday……and I somehow entered the Flu hop instead. Sorry that cottage cheese isn’t really for breakfast. Uh, oops?

      • http://quickeasycheaphealthy.com Anne @ Quick and Easy Cheap and Healthy

        I’ve eaten cottage cheese for breakfast before, and I’m a very normal breakfast food person, (ahem), so no worries!

        • Stacy

          Well, I’m not sure about you – but I’m serving fudge and borscht for breakfast tomorrow.

  • http://www.thehumbledhomemaker.com Erin@TheHumbledHomemaker

    Stacy, your comments have me rolling on the floor laughing! LOL!! I wish I could try this now–dairy free for now but I love me some cottage cheese so I will be back on this page one day! You instructions make everything sound easy peasy!

    • Stacy

      Well, I hope so. If I can do it, ANYONE can do it.

  • http://intentionalbygrace.com Leigh Ann @ Intentional By Grace

    I agree with Erin! You make everything seem so easy. I’m pinning for later reference. :) Plus, what a great way to use Kefir!

    • Stacy

      I <3 my kefir!

  • Charity

    It looks easy, and delicious, but my question would be – doesn’t the heat kill any good bacteria/probiotics in the kefir? If so, what is the point of using it in the cottage cheese? I have seen cottage cheese recipes that use vinegar in just milk, no kefir added. Does the kefir add better flavor, or do you think some good bugs survive the 140º temps? Just wondering! :)

    • Stacy

      Well, I’m not 100% sure. :-) I’m just always looking for ways to use my kefir – because it’s something that I have versus something that I have to buy at the store. So, even if it doesn’t keep all the good bacteria, I feel better making it because I know what’s in it.
      From what I read, most bacteria doesn’t die until it reaches around 165 degrees F. I only heat this mixture to 140. Great question! :-)

  • http://scentyoursoul.scentsy.us Becca C

    Does it matter if you use white vinegar instead? And, uh, I thought you didn’t clean windows?!

    • Stacy

      I’m not sure. Carrie said apple cider, so I don’t want to mess with that. lol And I don’t……in fact, Barry just cleaned mine. :-)

  • http://premeditatedleftovers.com Alea Milham

    Thank you for sharing your tutorial with the Hearth and Soul Hop.

  • Jeanne

    I am definitely going to try this recipe! I use cottage cheese to make dips for my family. Just blend the cottage cheese up until it is smooth and use instead of sour cream. I my children never know the difference.

    • Stacy

      What they don’t know, won’t hurt them. ;-)

  • Yolanda

    I just made some using your recipe with raw goat milk. It turned out very nice, thank you. There really isn’t much of a “curd”, it is more creamy, but I imagine that is the nature of the goat milk. Anyway, we like it!

    • Stacy

      Good to know! Yes, must be the milk – mine was very “curdy.” :)

  • Ryan

    Is ACV really needed? I’ve just started making it without the ACV and it seems to be coming out perfect. Thank you for posting your recipe! Seems like a 1:2 kefir:milk ratio is about right.

    Maybe ACV just helps coagulate faster?

    We love it with honey

    • Stacy

      I’m not sure – it was the recipe of a friend so I didn’t mess with it…I didn’t want to mess up the recipe. :-) I’m glad to know it works good without it!

  • Janette

    So how does the taste compare to storebought cottage cheese or do you eat it plain like that? I haven’t made cottage cheese with kefir before but find this info very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

    • Stacy

      It’s got the kefir-twang to it. I don’t eat it plain, I almost always use it in something like lasagna.

  • Rachel

    I have a question about the cottage cheese. What should the texture be like? Mine is very rubbery. Also how much cottage cheese does your recipe make? Thanks!

    • Stacy

      Mine is not rubbery. It’s like the texture of ricotta. It yields about 3 cups, give or take. :-)

      • Rachel

        wow ok i definenlty must have done something wrong because I only got maybe 1 cup! and it was very rubbery. I will have to try again! I want to master this!

        • Stacy

          The container pictured in the photos is a 4 cup container if that gives you a bit of an idea how much I get. :-)

          • Rachel

            ok I made this recipe again! and it turned out much much better! I still only got 1 cup of cottage cheese maybe because I take the cream off of mine? But the texture was lovely! I added cream to it and some salt and it is delicious! I cant wait to make it again!!

          • Stacy

            Hmmmm. Not sure. I’ve been using my kefir really fast lately so I haven’t made it again to measure. But I need to!

  • Katharine

    Hi,

    This is awesome! I get just as excited as you do about these things!!!!

    I’m wondering, are we killing the probiotics in the kefir when we heat it up?

    Thanks for the great info!

    • Stacy

      Probably – but I still feel good about making it. :-) I think it’s around 110 degrees when things start to die.

      • Katharine

        Thank you again, that’s so good to know.