Real Polish Farmer’s Cheese {Twaróg}

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Real 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. We 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.

We also ate pigeon soup and slept under duck feather blankets so thick you could hardly see us in bed. It 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 real Polish cheesecake, pierogi leniwe {“lazy pierogi”} or a delicious no-bake cheesecake

Real Polish Farmer’s Cheese {Twaróg}

Real Polish Farmer's Cheese {Twaróg}

Real Polish Farmer’s Cheese Real Polish Farmer’s Cheese Real Polish Farmer’s Cheese

Polish Homemade Farmer's Cheese {Twaróg}

  • Yields: 1 lb / 500 g
  • Prep Time: 72 hours
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 gal / 4 l of full fat milk
  • 1 c / 250 ml of buttermilk*
  • ADDITIONALLY:
  • Cheesecloth
  • Strainer

Instructions

  1. Disinfect a glass or ceramic container big enough to fit 1 gallon / 4 liters of milk + 1 cup / 250 ml of buttermilk using hot water. Pour milk and buttermilk into in and set on the counter covered with a clean kitchen towel for 72 hours (or more).

  2. 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 yogurt.

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

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

  5. 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

Real Polish Farmer’s Cheese {Twaróg}

Real Polish Farmer’s Cheese {Twaróg}


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My new cookbook is out now!

Polish cookbook


All donations will now be forwarded to the Polish Red Cross in support of Ukraine and war refugees. 

 


Visit my YouTube channel


Support us by shopping in our merch store!!


polishyourkitchen.com


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My new cookbook is out now!

Polish cookbook


All donations will now be forwarded to the Polish Red Cross in support of Ukraine and war refugees. 

 


Visit my YouTube channel


Support us by shopping in our merch store!!


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52 Comments

  1. Most of the farmer’s cheese I’ve had in pirogis is slightly sweet. Can this recipe be modified for this taste?

    1. When I make farmers cheese from ricotta or cottage cheese I always added sugar to the mix because the real farmers cheese does have a sweetness to it which I love and can’t do without. Try it everyone … you’ll like it !!!!

  2. I am Canadian with a Polish background on my dads side. So, I decided that I would go on a quick little trip to Krakow alone. I had a fabulous time. It turned into a food trip. I went in early June, so I was able to wrap my lips around some strawberry pierogi. I couldn’t even believe how good they were. I ate pierogi everyday. I also had a giant piece of rye bread with lard spread on it with dill pickle slices. Sounds strange but was so so good. They serve vodka properly, iced cold, and the beer was divine. I also had a stew of some sort, and it was the best thing I had there. Everything was so delicious and cheap. Poland is so affordable. I will be going back when I retire, for however long I want to stay. I am going to make pierogi today just because. Get yourself a ticket and go.
    Have a fabulous day and thank you for all the wonderful recipes.
    God bless you.

  3. HI Ania,
    I love all of your recipes and am planning on making every single on, like I used to eat when I was a child. Question on the farmer’s cheese- can I use a cup of room temp milk and tablespoon of vinegar to make buttermilk before mixing with regular milk? Or, use only store bought buttermilk?

    1. Hi Alicia! Thanks for visiting my site! Definitely use store bought buttermilk instead of vinegar. You want the tangy flavor of it to take over the milk. Vinegar will just make it sour. Good luck!

  4. Hi Anna, today I completed the 3-day process of making twaróg. It sure felt amazing to be making my own. It’s so hard to find, and the Friendship brand in grocery is just not worthy. During the aging process, I loved the aroma coming from the milk and cultured buttermilk sitting on the counter. Tonight I “cooked” the mixture until curds formed and separated from the whey. I then strained it through cheesecloth. Since there is quite a bit of whey, is it beneficial to drink or use it in any recipes? With my newly made twaróg, I can’t wait to make ruskie pierogi and also the sweet variety which you were so gracious to recently post. Thank you for sharing your knowledge of Polish food that I love and dearly connect with and all your memories. Your blog and recipes are a God send. Not having my parents alive anymore, or any Polish people around me, finds me craving for my heritage and roots. Food I grew up with seems to bring me back to the place I need to be. It feels like “home.” I have been to Poland once, but feel the need to go back, possibly this coming summer. Dziękuje for your presence and I’m SO HAPPY I found Polish Your Home. I’m Home!!!

    1. Good job Lucyna!! Now, that you’ve done it once, it will be a lot easier to make again. I completely understand that food makes you feel like you’re home. That’s why I kept cooking it in my Polish-American home! Smacznego! Anna

  5. I put the ingredients into a sterilized jar, and tightened the lid. I am getting leakage…it’s slowly getting less, but down two sides of the jar. Will this turn into Farmer’s cheese, spoil or blow up?? LOLOL

      1. THANKS SO MUCH. I took the lid off …after two and a half days…I let it set for around 80-82 hours…and did the draining. It turned out just like my Busia used to make… It was a hit. I did add a couple ounces more of buttermilk…I mixed it before I put it in the jar. Thanks again, Anna. It was an awesome Wigilia.

        How long can it stay in the fridge…can I freeze it??

        1. Good job Jan! It will stay in the fridge for about a week. You can freeze it but it will change consistency a bit, it will become more grainy. If you don’t mind, feel free to freeze.

  6. I use these ingredients
    1 gal milk
    1/2 gal butter milk
    2 T vinegar
    Heat the milk, pour in the buttermilk and wait 10 min or so and skim the kurds off.

  7. Wow Anna, reading your intro story made my eyes water. We lived a similar childhood. I grew up in Starachowice before we moved to Canada in ’92 I was age 10. My dads side of the family mostly concentrated in Wonchock and Rataje. The minute school was out my brothers and I were sent to my grand mom’s farm, I don’t think I ever met my grandpa so she needed extra hands. Being the youngest my jobs were getting up with the sun, letting out and feeding the hens and ducks and collecting their eggs, kaczki and koguty were the worst they always chased me to attack, bringing water in from studnja, sweeping the yard etc the simpler stuff. My older brothers had their share, the oldest priority was getting the wood and coal or wengiel and starting the fire in the piece or kuchnja kaflowa. Ofcourse our extra hands were welcome in picking the agrest, porzeczki, maliny, truskawki, and ofcourse often trips to the woods where we were tasked with picking jagody -blueberries- while the older experienced were mushroom picking. I remember the potatoe planting than harvest, helping with the hay building snopki. Milking the cows, and we did not do all this just for our grandma, we were hired out to the neighbours as well where for example for every basket of their porzeczki I collected I got a basket of strawberries or cherries in trade. Helping in their harvest or other chores they would bring my grandma a big bag of flour among other various trade things. When I tell my friends about my growing up they can’t imagine what life was like for me growing up with a black and white tv and only 2 channels to pick from. I don’t think I ever missed the “wieczorynka” I could be way across the field playing but somehow just looking at the clouds and the sky in general I knew when it was time to run home and not miss wieczorynka. Ahh ” mis uszatek”
    You have a great channel, the cooking vids are traditional, authentic, and from the heart.
    I’m so glad you popped up in a search and since than I’v watched all your vids.
    Ps excuse my polish spelling, i was in grade 2 when we moved and I don’t really know how or where to use the extra funny/weird letters. I substitute to try mimic their sound though even in speech I don’t always make their sound.
    All the best, and wishing you a very bright future and all the success.

    1. Hi Greg, I think many Polish kids share our stories. Even though times were tough for our parents sometimes, I think of my childhood fondly. I’m glad you were able to connect to your inner child and enjoy my stories and recipes. I hope you stay around 😉

  8. Do you know of any buttermilk substitutes (it is hard to come by in Dubai)? Do you think you could use kefir, regular yogurt, laban (drinkable, fermented dairy drink)?

    1. Hi Mary, yes. You can use anything that will introduce natural yoghurt cultures to your milk mixture… kefir, Greek yoghurt, plain yoghurt.

      1. I used 300ml of Activia laban with the gallon of milk and got 900g of cheese (I drained it a lot too)! Froze some of the cheese to make piróg biłgorajski łysy in the near future.

  9. Hello Anna! I love your blog and videos. Could you please do a video on Tripe Soup? My mother made it. But when I went to a Polish Restaurant, it was different…most likely the spices. My mom’s was good because I love it, but I want to make it correctly…the Polish way! She was 2nd generation born in the USA and lost some of the Polish steps. Both my Busias made the yeast Babka bread. One taught me how. I miss them. Thank you!

  10. I have a gallon on fresh raw milk. When setting it on the counter should it be covered with a lid or just a cloth?

  11. So…I had my gallon of raw milk on the counter for three days. I checked the consistency to find it was still slimy so I left it. A few hours later I noticed it was overflowing my jar and towards the middle of the jar it was separating and total liquid. Now what? Do I leave it or “cook” it?

  12. Hi Anna, I’m new to your blog. In your favorite things area you have a tofu press for making farmers cheese. Is this needed or can I drain in a nut milk bag?

  13. Thanks for this – our Polish Dad passed 3 years ago and now Mom in June so we are trying to make some sort of normal Polish Christmas in separate households this year due to Covid. Can’t find the good cheese but have the raw milk but no buttermilk . Will make pierogi, golumbki, and babka bread and find some kielbasa for starters ! Hope it works and that our parents and grandparents will approve from heaven ! Thanks for the recipe and Merry Christmas.

    1. Kate! Just enjoy it, it will come out as it does. If it isn’t perfect that just means it’s homemade. Next time will be better. Happy cooking and Merry Christmas!

  14. I’m trying to make this , it’s been setting almost 4 days now and still hasn’t firmed up yet. Have I messed it up ? Room temp is around 65 ,should I wait or start over?
    Tks charlie

  15. After our visit to my husband’s home town, and his mother spoiling him with all of his childhood favorites (and me getting politely shamed for not feeding her baby with any polish meals), I’ve been on the hunt for farmers cheese. I’ve called every deli in the U.S. that would ship to us, but have not managed to find what my husband says is true polish farmers cheese. By chance do you have a video instructional for the farmers cheese recipe?

  16. Hi Anna, I am new to Polish Your Kitchen as of this year, and am loving it! I have access to fresh (unpasteurized) milk — so if I understand right, does that mean I should skip the buttermilk and just do all the other steps? Thank you!

  17. What kind of pot do you cook in? I would be afraid it would stick to the bottom of the pan. We need to start making our own to keep up with our Pierogi Ruskie habit.

    Thanks fo all the great videos.

  18. Anna, I’m in the process of making Farmer’s Cheese for the first time. It has been 72 hours, and it’s definitely not ready. I will not be able to work with it until late afternoon tomorrow if it’s not ready soon.Will that affect the outcome? Can it sit for too long?

    1. It will be ok. Keep it out and let it go. In cool months (not sure where you are in the world) it may take a bit longer. You can do it! It’s simpler than you think.

      1. What are the chances of you making a video for Farmer’s Cheese so we can see what the different stages are supposed to look like? I gave up after six days of sitting on the counter, and now it’s “cooking!” Been over an hour and no separation yet. Never got to yogurt or sour cream consistency. Very frustrating. I think this is the cheese my great-grandmother made when I was a child. Sooooo want this to work in hope that it is. I loved it, and nothing compares today.

  19. What are the chances of you making a video for Farmer’s Cheese so we can see what the different stages are supposed to look like? I gave up after six days of sitting on the counter, and now it’s “cooking!” Been over an hour and no separation yet. Never got to yogurt or sour cream consistency. Very frustrating. I think this is the cheese my great-grandmother made when I was a child. Sooooo want this to work in hope that it is. I loved it, and nothing compares today.

    1. she has one on her Youtube channel “Polish your kitchen”,that’s where I found out about how to make farmers cheese.

  20. In some states it is illegal to sell raw milk for human consumption but you can get from farm or farmers market for your dog. I love to use the left over whey for the liquid in bread recipes. It makes your bread so soft on the inside.

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