Monday, December 13, 2010

Miss Muffet's Curds and Whey

Little Miss Muffet, sat on a tuffet,
Eating her curds and whey;
Along came a spider, who sat down beside her
And frightened Miss Muffet away.

To clarify . . . a tuffet is nothing more than a low seat  . . . mystery solved.

What, then, are curds and whey?  You’ve probably eaten them without even knowing what that you have.  The proteins in milk that clump are curds . . . milk proteins that do not clump are whey.  Curds and whey are simply the lumps and liquid found in cottage cheese.

If you’re familiar with cottage cheese – also called paneer -  you probably know that it generally comes in two variaties . . . large curd and small curd.  The major difference between these two types is the use of rennet in large curd cottage cheese – the rennet is used to keep the large chunks from breaking apart. 

Mmm, cottage cheese; a healthful and delicious with fruit or in a salad or drizzled with honey or all by itself.    Like most commercially available foods, cottage cheese is much tastier when prepared fresh at home. It is easy to prepare and has more flavor and a better texture when compared to the kind available in supermarkets.

The cost savings of making your own cottage cheese is a bonus.  Milk is cheaper when you buy it by the gallon, but if you end up having to throw away a partial container all that savings is literally going down the drain.  Homemade cottage cheese is a great way to use up leftover milk. 

Making your own Small Curd Cottage Cheese is easy-peasy.  

(Note: Although you can adjust this recipe for the amount of milk you have leftover this recipe is for a full gallon.)

What you need:

  • 1 Gallon Fat-Free Milk
  • 3/4 Cup White Vinegar

You’ll also need a:

  • Pot
    Cheesecloth Or Any Other Porous Towel
  • Colander

Pour the milk into a pan

Using a thermometer, position it so that is it touching the milk but not the pan. Heat the milk up to 120 degrees.

When it reaches that temperature, turn off the heat. 

Add the vinegar and let sit for a half hour.

Don’t be alarmed . . . the milk will begin to curdle and separate into curds and whey.  The whey is a green/gray liquid and not particularly appetizing, although it’s excellent when used to bake or cook with as a liquid substitute and it’s an excellent form of protein.

Place a cheesecloth across a colander and pour the mixture into it.  Let the whey drain away for 3 minutes. Wrap the cottage cheese in the cheesecloth and run under cool tap water for about 3 more minutes. While you do this, knead the cheese with your fingers.

Finally, pour the cheese into a bowl. You have just made cottage cheese.

One gallon of milk will make approximately 3 cups of cottage cheese.

(1)   Rennet is a natural complex of enzymes produced in any mammalian stomach to digest the mother's milk, and is often used in the production of cheese. Rennet contains many enzymes that coagulate the milk, causing it to separate into solids (curds) and liquid (whey). There are non-animal sources for rennet that are suitable for vegetarian consumption.


  1. I am going to try this Cher. Thanks for posting.

  2. Mmmmm, fresh pineapple, chuncked. The kids can have water in their cereal, I'll need the milk. Looks great, thanks.