Polish Farmer’s Cheese {Twaróg}

4 kids ages 5-7 standing around a milk can filled with “farm fresh” milk, straight from the source. This was early 80s, so no farm automation yet. Great aunt did it all by hand. 3 of the 4 kids couldn’t wait to get their share, extending their arms with a metal cup to be filled with still warm milk. I’m the 4th of 4. I could go without, and only took a few sips. Foamy milk was poured with a huge ladle through a cheese cloth that would catch any impurities that accidentally ended up in the can. This process was repeated daily through my stay in the country.

We’re in a small village outside Sieradz, my grandma grew up here and would take us to her childhood home every summer to help her family with the crops. My brother and I loved it even though it wasn’t all fun and games. We worked out in the field gathering potatoes that fell through the combine’s combs, jumped on hey, sneaked sausages from the basement cellar, ate potatoes from a huge peeler boiler intended for the pigs, climbed cherry trees and ate until our bellies hurt, walked the cow out to the field and moved its chain every few hours so “she” had access to a fresh grass, ran from a young bull and cried out loud until an adult came and shooed it away, ate pigeon soup and slept under duck feather blankets so thick you could hardly see us in bed. I was memorable and awesome. I have not been back there as an adult, but I’m planning a trip sometime in the near future.

Back to milk. Fresh milk was then partially sold to the local dairy processing plant, and some of it kept for the family to use. Making farmer’s cheese would be then easy. Unpasteurized milk + time = farmer’s cheese. Big pots would be filled with milk, covered with cloth and set aside to “mature”. When ready, pots would be heated until curds form, strained and cooled. Farmer’s cheese was/is a great breakfast food, ingredient for pierogi filling or dessert. When I moved to the US I had to make my own, as I did not live close to a Polish deli. Unpasteurized milk was hard to come by so I found a way to “help” it wish some bacteria and started making my own. Nothing was going to hold me back from eating cheese filled pierogi, lazy pierogi or cheese cake.

Polish Farmer's Cheese {Twaróg}

  • Yields: About 1 lb = 500 g
  • Prep Time: 72 hrs
  • Cook Time: 1 hr

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon / 4 liters of full fat milk
  • 1 cup of buttermilk*
  • Additionally:
  • Cheese cloth

Instructions

  1. Disinfect a glass or ceramic container big enough to fit 1 gallon of milk + 1 cup of buttermilk by pouring hot water into it. Pour milk and buttermilk into in and set on the counter for 72 hours (or more). When milk becomes solid (and is no longer "slimy") to where you can slice it and it will stay separated, it is ready. Consistency should resemble sour cream or Greek yoghurt.

  2. Pour into a large boiling pot, cover and heat on the lowest heat setting until whey separates from curds and the curds start hardening. Don't stir. I "cooked" mine for about 1 hour. Curds should be a bit hard, kind of like cottage cheese. If still mushy, keep heating.

  3. When "cooked" place cheese cloth over a strainer and pour liquid through. Let sit for about 10 min to drain. To get rid of extra liquid, twist cheese cloth to squeeze it out. Leave some moisture though, you don't want it too dry.

  4. When satisfied with the moisture level, transfer into a container and refrigerate.

Notes

* If using unpasteurized milk, skip adding buttermilk.

Farmer’s cheese has a taste tangy taste of buttermilk but shouldn’t be bitter. If it is, it sat on the counter too long.

Good luck! Let me know if you have any questions!

Smacznego!

Anna

WANT TO GET MY NEXT RECIPE VIA EMAIL? TYPE IN YOUR EMAIL BELOW:

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave