Curds & Whey….Making Soft Cheese From Scratch



When my little duck Coco Chanel needed extra calcium we started feeding her cottage cheese.  This set me out to learn how to make it at home.  I was absolutely shocked when I found out how east it was, just 2 ingredients.  Milk and white vinegar is all you need.


Large Bowl

Candy Thermometer

Cheesecloth or Thin Dishtowel

Large Strainer

Large Saucepan

Cotton String (optional, see below)



1 Gallon Milk

3/4 c White Vinegar



Heat milk in a large saucepan to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remove pan from burner.  Remove thermometer, set aside.

Pour in vinegar and wait about 30 minutes.

Stir the mixture slowly, just a few strokes.

Cradle the strainer in the large bowl and line it with the cheesecloth or thin dishtowel.

Slowly pour the mixture through the cheesecloth.

At this point you have a couple of options, the first being, let it sit and drain. I usually do this first.  If you want you can gather the edges of the cheesecloth and allow it to drain while you hold it or you can tie it up and let it hang over the bowl. I usually use the hanging method once enough of the water is drained.

Once all the moisture is out dump the cheese in the bowl.  You will be left with two products, curds and whey.

If you want to take a cue from Little Miss Muffet or my duck Coco, you can mix the two and eat together. I personally don’t like cottage cheese, but I was just making this for the ducks.  This cottage cheese tastes a little different then store bought obviously because it is homemade.  I actually enjoyed it.

Now what to do with the whey?  I personally don’t enjoy the taste of it.  I have heard that it is a great additive to smoothies. I’m sure that some people just drink it on its own.  I usually add some to my dogs’ food or to the water.  I also feed it to the flock (ducks, chickens, geese and turkeys).  I know I should be enjoying the health benefits myself but the animals just don’t seem to mind the taste while I have a very finicky pallete.

Now here is a little variation.  The first time I  made this cheese I twisted and squeezed the cheesecloth to get as much moisture out as possible.  This is not necessary if you want cottage cheese.  My first batch was a little more like mozzarella and had i kept at the pulling and twisting that is what I would have had.  After I let a bowl of the cheese sit and covered for a couple days without touching it was very cream cheese like.  I find this to be a very versatile recipe.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

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