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Course: Breakfast, Sides & Salads
Keyword: Cheese, curds

Cottage Cheese- Reloaded

ACTIVE TIME: 5 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 40 minutes
Yield: 5 cups
I've always been a cottage cheese fan. Back in the 60's my Mom kept it around because it was always featured (typically in lettuce leaf bowls with canned pears), in the "ladies" diets of the day. Diet fodder perhaps, but I really came to dig the texture and tangy acidity. Although there are some good commercial brands available today, especially those that are fermented, I don't think anything beats homemade.
We've "reloaded" the old Good Eats cottage cheeses from a decade ago by making the curds more distinct and less ricotta-like, and by finishing with a mixture of cream, buttermilk, and lemon zest. If you need any more reason to get curdling, consider this: the finished concoction is the key ingredient in our new, personal cheesecakes.
You're Welcome.
Photo by Lynne Calamia
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  • 1 gallon whole milk (not ultra-pasteurized)
  • 3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream or half and half
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest

Specialized Hardware

8-quart pot with fitted lid
kitchen tea towel or "flour sack" towel (needs to be smooth, not terrycloth)
ACTIVE TIME: 5 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 40 minutes
Yield: 5 cups


  • Add the milk to the pot and stir over medium heat until it reaches 185 F-190 F, about 20 minutes then remove from heat.
  • Stir in the vinegar with a large wooden spoon then as soon as the milk proteins start to coagulate gently herd them toward the middle of the pot for about 30 seconds. Lid the pot and leave undisturbed for 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile, line a colander with the clean kitchen towel or flour sack towel and place inside a large bowl. Scoop the curds gently into the lined colander and leave to drain for 15 minutes.
  • Rinse the curds under gently running cool water for 2 minutes, then gather the edges of the towel together and twist to wring out as much liquid as possible.
  • Line a half sheet pan with another clean towel (or paper towels), and spread out the curds evenly, breaking them apart with your fingers. Season with the salt and toss to evenly distribute.
  • Place curds in a lidded container and refrigerate for up to a week. To serve, stir in the cream, buttermilk, and lemon zest.
Note: Once the cream and buttermilk have been added, the cottage cheese will absorb some of the liquid after refrigeration so you may want to adjust the consistency after about 12 hours by adding a bit more of the buttermilk/cream combo.
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