Really, it’s easy! Here’s what you will need:
1 gallon milk (avoid ultra pasteurized if you can, sometimes the results aren’t so great)
1 packet direct set mesophilic starter (available here)
a curd knife (a knife long enough to reach the bottom of your pot will work in a pinch)
and a stainless steel pot.
Before we start I should note that I use raw milk from our cow and have not tried this recipe with pasteurized milk…I have no reason to believe it won’t work however.
Heat your milk to 72 degrees then add the starter packet.
Mix well then put the lid on your pot and let it sit at 72 degrees for 16-24 hours.
My house gets a bit cold at night so I wrap a couple of towels around the pot (away from the stove of course) and that seems to keep it at the right temperature pretty well.
Once the curd is set (it will be a rather soft albeit solid mass, if you put your thermometer it will stand up for a few seconds then begin to fall) it is time to cut it.
To cut the curds simply put your knife in the curd (while it is in the pot) all the way to the bottom and slice across in rows about 1/4 inch wide. Remove your knife and the cut rows again in the opposite direction so you end up with long cubes.
Let the cut curd set for about 15 minutes or so.
(I apologize for my crooked curd!)
Once the curd has set begin to heat the curd slowly until it reaches 110 degrees. Leave it at 110 degrees for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly heat it to 112 degrees and keep it at this temperature until the curds are firm. *
Once the curds are firm drain them in a colander with small holes. Taste them to see if they taste too sour, if they do rinse them in cold water. Add salt to taste.
That’s it! Your cottage cheese can keep covered in the refrigerator for 1 week.