Sunday, February 19, 2012

Homemade Farm Cheese or Dry Curd Cottage Cheese (SCD)

Last summer I spent a month road tripping with my three boys. My husband had to work for most of the month, but he flew to join us for several days in Cape Cod and then drove to TN to meet us in Gatlinburg for the last few days of our trip. I had a blast with my boys. It is so nice that they are older now and we can have conversations, make memories and laugh together. I love taking them to see new places and teaching them to have a spirit of adventure and learning to be curious about the world.

One of our key destinations on our road trip was Cape Cod where we spent time with my husband's parents. They immigrated from Russia about 30 years ago when my husband was six years old. They have taught me many great recipes and I love eating at their house! I love trying new things, which is a very lucky thing since I married into a Russian-Jewish family. Time at their house centers largely around the food we eat together. Each meal is a masterpiece with lots of appetizers & most of them are homemade.

One thing they eat every morning for breakfast is their homemade farm cheese, or 'tvorog'. I finally wrote down the recipe so I can make it myself. They eat it with some yummy granola, seeds or nuts on top, a drizzle of honey, and chunks of fresh fruit mixed in. Sometimes they mix in some creamy yogurt as well. It is so delicious and the perfect summer morning treat. It is also very healthy. The bacteria that forms during the fermentation process is good for the gut. And as a side note, my husband is lactose intolerant but it didn't seem to bother his stomach. According to my Nourishing Traditions book, during the process of letting it sit overnight the lactose is broken down and the casein is largely pre-digested.

FARM CHEESE (and whey)

Combine 1 gallon milk* & 1 quart buttermilk in an oven proof pot. Cover and let sit at room temperature overnight/24 hours.
*whole milk makes the creamiest farm cheese. less than 2% milk will make a crumbly, rubbery end product

The next day uncover it and place it in a 200 degree oven for about an hour and 15 minutes. When it's done it should get dry around the edges and have some cracks around the edges. The middle will still be soft. Let it cool completely.

Place a cheesecloth or a couple layers of paper towels in a strainer.
(My MIL told me that if you don't have "russian cheesecloth" then use a few layers of "american cheesecloth". Apparently the cheesecloth sold in Russian stores is very fine and American cheesecloth is more porous? I have some she gave me of the Russian cheesecloth)

Pour the cooled farm cheese into the cheesecloth in the strainer. At this point the cloudy-clear liquid will drain out of the farm cheese. This is whey. If you want to save the whey, put a larger bowl under the strainer to catch it. For suggestions on how to use the whey, check out this article about lacto-fermentation from the Weston A. Price website. 

Now, gather up the sides of the cheesecloth & tie it up somewhere with a bowl sitting underneath for the whey to drip out of it. Leave it hanging there for a few hours for the whey to drain out. (My MIL has a hook screwed into the cabinet by the sink so that she can tie her cheesecloth to this hook. She used to tie it to the cabinet knob) The remaining cheese inside the cloth should be soft with a consistency somewhere in between sour cream and cream cheese. It should be covered and refrigerated.

My father-in-law puts the whey in a glass jar in the fridge and drinks a cup of it every morning. It's supposed to be very good for you. My Nourishing Traditions book says it's good for keeping muscles young, joints limber and is good for digestion.


  1. Thank you for the recipe. And I am so glad you mentioned Nourishing Traditions. I just found out about Sally Fallon and Weston A. Price.

  2. Once it's to the point of seperating from the way, do you cut it at all? How much does this make and how long can it be refridgerated? Can it be frozen? I was raised on "cheese buttons" and DCCC was the main ingredient. It was sold in the grocery stores in North Dakota, but I can't find it anywhere in southern Alabama

    1. It is very soft when it separates from the whey. I just pour it into the cheesecloth and let it strain. Once you strain off the whey it is soft like cream cheese, but not smooth. It makes about a pint and a half and can be refrigerated about a week. I'm sure it can be frozen too. It becomes smoother if you mix it with a dollop of yogurt.

  3. Does anyone know if the is SCD legal?

  4. thanks for the recipe. Im from mosocow myself came here when I was 6 years old. Im making tvorog for the first time. My mom didn't really have a recipe per say cause she would just eyeball it. Going to try your method thanks:)

  5. Your MIL is correct, the "cheesecloth" found in US grocery stores is not true cheese cloth. The cloth used to drain soft cheese is referred to as "Butter Muslin". It is 100% cotton and has a thread count of 90 threads per inch. Cloth used to line cheese molds is "Cheese cloth" and has a thread count of 60 threads per inch. I'm sure the 60 count fabric would work for this recipe as well as the butter muslin.

    The nice thing about using the cotton muslin is that it's washable and reusable!

    THANK you for posting this recipe. My family is Polish and this cheese is wonderful in pierogies and crepes, but it isn't easy to find in grocery stores.