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Farmer’s Cheese

I’m going to show you how I make Farmer’s Cheese using only 3 ingredients. Farmer’s cheese is often called curd cheese, too. If you’ve never had this cheese I’d say it’s a cross between ricotta and cottage cheese.

Ricotta cheese is made from whey and Farmer’s cheese is made from milk. They are very similar to each other but I personally find Farmer’s cheese a little creamier. In a lot of recipes they are interchangeable.

This post was originally published in 2010, updated in 2019.

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HOW TO MAKE FARMER’S CHEESE

In Europe this type of curd cheese is very common, kind of like cream cheese in the US. However unlike cream cheese, curd cheese is really easy to prepare at home. Today I made my own Curd Cheese using only 3 ingredients : whole milk, vinegar and salt.

WHAT IS FARMER’S CHEESE ?

This soft curd cheese is made from whole milk.

INGREDIENTS

  • Whole Milk
  • Salt
  • Vinegar or Lemon Juice

TOOLS

Though not necessary it’s helpful to use a candy thermometer to measure temperature of milk. You’ll also need a fine mesh sieve.

Also, in the recipe card you’ll find a recipe for a Small Batch and Large Batch. My picture tutorial shows a large batch from 1 gallon of whole milk (about 4 liters)

MAKE CURDLED MILK

Into a pot pour whole milk, add salt and heat milk on medium heat. Stirring occasionally. If you are using a pot that you know will burn the milk on the bottom be sure to stir frequently so milk doesn’t bunt.

Heat milk until it reaches 180F, or about there. Then pour in vinegar or lemon juice if using it, or combination of both is fine too. Turn off the heat and gently stir with a wooden spoon till you see curds forming.

If you don’t have a candy thermometer you can still make this cheese. Here is what you to do if don’t have a candy thermometer. Heat milk and watch milk carefully. When you see thin foam like layer on the top and lots of steam raising from the surface of the milk. And you’ll notice that surface looks like it’s moving. Milk is very hot, almost boiling. It’s time to add the vinegar or lemon juice.

You should see curds forming in a few seconds. Gently stir 2-3 times to make sure vinegar is combined well with all the milk. Remove pot from the heat and let sit for 10-15 minutes.

DRAIN CHEESE

Place a large fine mesh sieve over a large bowl. Slowly pour hot curdled cheese into the sieve. Use ladle or a measuring cup to pick up curdled milk from the pot. If your sieve is nearly full with curdled cheese, wait for couple moment for the whey to drain and then pour more curdled milk into the sieve.

Cover with a plate or a kitchen towel and let curdled milk drain for 6 hours on the counter, or in the fridge overnight.

As a result of draining curd cheese will solidify and shrink in volume.

With a spatula scrape out cheese from the sieve into an airtight container. Cover with a lid and store in the fridge until ready to use. For up to 2 weeks.

HOW LONG DOES FARMER’S CHEESE LAST ?

This recipe lasts in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

CAN I USE LOW FAT OR FAT FREE MILK?

Low fat and Fat free milk, both produce rubbery curd cheese. I don’t recommend using low fat and fat free milk.

WILL FARMER’S CHEESE MELT?

No, this curd cheese will not melt like mozzarella.

WHERE CAN I BUY IT?

Most of the European store carry curd cheeses, though not all are the same. Friendship Farmer Cheese is the closest to my curd cheese recipe. It is sold at most grocery stores here in the United States.

CAN YOU BAKE WITH FARMER’S CHEESE?

Absolutely. I bake with it all the time. It’s my go to cheese to make Kolache, Layered Grated Cheese Cake.

HOW TO MAKE IT WITH YOGURT?

Here is a recipe how to make Farmer’s Cheese (tvarog) with Yogurt.

I’M NOT A FAN OF TEXTURE, CAN I MAKE IT SMOOTH?

Process 1 cup of farmer’s cheese with 1-3 tbsp milk in a food processor.

IS IT SAME AS RICOTTA CHEESE?

Though very similar and interchangeable; ricotta is made from whey, whereas Farmer’s cheese is made from milk.

IS THERE A SUBSTITUTE?

If I don’t have time to make this delicious curd cheese from scratch I use store bought Ricotta instead. And for some recipes with small adjustments I also use cream cheese.

TO MAKE HOMEMADE FARMER’S CHEESE YOU NEED

DELICIOUS RECIPES USING FARMER’S CHEESE :

Farmer’s Cheese
Prep Time
2 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Draining Time
6 hrs
 

Make delicious, easy to make home made Farmer's Cheese (tvarog)

Course: Appetizer, Breakfast, Dessert, Side Dish
Cuisine: German, polish, Slovak
Keyword: curd cheese, farmers cheese, homemade cheese
Servings: 4
Hanielas.com: Hani Bacova
Ingredients
Small Batch Farmer's Cheese
  • 1 quart full fat milk (4cups, 1liter)
  • 2 tbsp White Distilled Vinegar
  • pinch salt
Large Batch Farmer's Cheese
  • 1 gallon full fat milk 4 liters
  • 8 tbsp White Distilled Vinegar ( I can't stand vinegar, what else can I use – see the notes)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Instructions
Farmer's Cheese
  1. Into a pot pour full fat milk, add salt. Attach a candy thermometer on the inside of the pot. Don't have a candy thermometer? Check my notes for solutions on how to make farmer's cheese without it.

  2. Heat the milk on medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent burning on the bottom of the pot. If you are using a pot that is notoriously difficult to cook in and it burns food constantly be sure to stir frequently or use a different pot.

  3. When milk reaches 180F (around 82C) pour vinegar into the milk, Turn of the heat and gently stir milk with a wooden spoon. You should see curds forming pretty much immediately. Once you see curds forming, remove pot from the heat and let mixture sit for 10-15 minutes.

  4. Place a large fine mesh sieve over a large bowl or a pot. Then pour hot curdled milk through the fine mesh sieve. Let the liquid drain and sieve collect the curds. If your sieve is small you may need to wait a few moments for the liquid to drain before pouring in more curdled milk.

  5. Discard the drained liquid. Keep the sieve over a bowl. Cover with a plate and let drain further for 5-6 hours. This can be either done on the counter or in the fridge. After cheese had enough time to drain. Scrape out the cheese into a container and refrigerate until ready to use. Cheese stored in the fridge lasts 2 weeks.

  6. Farmer's Cheese is a popular ingredient in sweet and savory dishes.

Recipe Notes
NO CANDY THERMOMETER? NO PROBLEM.

Watch milk carefully, once you see foam on the top and lot of steam raising from the surface of the milk. And you’ll notice that surface looks like it’s moving. Milk is very hot. Milk is almost boiling. It’s time to add vinegar.

CAN I USE SOMETHING ELSE IN PLACE OF VINEGAR?

You can use lemon juice. I however prefer vinegar as it doesn’t lent any flavor to the cheese and therefore it’s more suitable for variety of dishes. If you don’t mine lemon flavor lemon juice a great substitute for vinegar. 

HOW LONG DOES THIS FARMER’S CHEESE LAST ?

Cheese stored in the fridge in an airtight container last 2 weeks. I often keep for even longer with no issues.

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I updated this post from 2010 with new process photos and written text and recipe card.

This post contains Amazon affiliate links that earn me a small commission, at no cost to you. I only recommend products that I use and love. Learn more about my affiliate policy here.

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14 Comments

  1. Hi there! I wanted to let you know that I tested a small batch of this using lactose free whole milk, and it worked wonderfully. I do have a question, however: What is the weight *approximately) of the finished cheese from using 1 gallon of milk? I have a recipe that calls for 1.5 pounds of farmers cheese, and I wonder if one gallon of milk will be enough? Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi Emily,
      this is so awesome. Thank you for sharing this with me. It never occurred to me try it with a different milk. What brand did you use? From regular cow’s milk – One gallon measure it usually yields to 4 cups of cheese, about 500 grams, which would equal to little over 1 pound. May I ask what is the recipe that calls for 1.5 pounds?

  2. I’m using this in a lasagna, what would happen if I didn’t drain all the whey? I’m liking the consistency with some left as it’s not solid. I’ll be adding a 3oz brick of farm cheese I made previously and then mixing in my chredded mozza, parm, egg, etc. .
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Taylor,
      I haven’t used it partially drained in lasagna so I’not 100 % sure. But I think it makes total sense, farmer’s cheese when drained is pretty dense so leaving some whey in makes it more pliable and easier to mix with other ingredients – cheese, egg etc. As long as the consistency is right when you mix it with all the other ingredients – moz. cheese, egg etc I think it should be fine. Keep me posted.
      Now I want to make lasagna myself. Yum.
      I love zucchini pasta rolls, those are so yummy with the cheese.

    1. Hi Jackie, you can also use lemon juice. I haven’t tried it with less vinegar but I’ve seen recipes that use less, so I’d say yes you can use less just be aware the curd formation maybe less productive. I need to test it with less vinegar. Have you made it before and did you find it too sour tasting? I’m just curious. Thank you.

  3. A million years ago, Weight Watchers used to list Farmer's cheese in their menu plans–I'm talking early 70's–and you could find it in the store, but it was dry and tasteless. This certainly seems like a good alternative–If you are using store bought buttermilk, do you only need the 9 Tbsp. ? Thanks. Ellen

  4. I have a Ukrainian recipe for making farmer's cheese but takes 3 days to make! This recipe is so much quicker! Thank you for your tutorial.

  5. Thank you! Farmers cheese is so hard to find around here and so expensive. I make vereniki (like perogi) with it. Now it's nice to know I can make my own!

  6. I've never seen farmers cheese before…it's a must try!! Does it taste like Labneh/Labna cheese? Thanks for sharing this 🙂

  7. Faithy, great to see you stopped by, well as for the liquid…it doesn't really smell that good, I suppose it is sour. I have never tasted it.
    As for the lemon, I have only tried this recipe with vinegar, and I read somewhere that lemon is not good for this, I haven't tested it yet, I might try that just to see if it really is true.I mentioned that only because I haven't used it and I'm not 100% it would work with lemon as well as with vinegar. I was reading more last night about cheese making and I have a feeling that article that stated that you can't use lemon was wrong, I'll let you know how it goes when I try lemon.

  8. This is very insightful! Looks like cottage cheese to me! I didn't know that's how you make farmer's cheese but now i know. I have always wondered what is farmer's cheese! Why is it that we can't use lemon juice to make farmer cheese but it is ok when making buttermilk? I wonder how the yellow liquid taste like though..is it sour?

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