Controlled Spoilage: Cottage Cheese (& Granola is Delicious With It)

March 25, 2011 at 7:33 am

One of my favorite snacks is cottage cheese and granola. Not yogurt but cottage cheese. There was this salad buffet near my house when I was a kid. It was one of my favorite restaurants. There was a dessert section where you could make your own sundae. There was also cottage cheese right next to the granola. I assumed they went together.  It turns out they do! And it”s oh so delicious.

Cottage cheese, named after you guessed it, cottages, is a very common homemade cheese. Traditionally made with raw milk, this cheese was made by pouring a gallon into a pot and letting it sit in a warm place for a few days. The enzymes in the raw milk get so concentrated that it starts to curdle. Because after all cheese making is just controlled spoilage.

Yay, history! But that”s enough. On to our cheese!

You will need:

1 gallon milk

1/8 tsp calcium chloride (if you”re using store bought milk. if you”re using raw milk omit it)

1/4 tsp liquid rennet dilute in 1/4 cup cool water

cheese salt

1/2 cup half and half (optional)

butter muslin

Heat the milk to 72 degrees (room temp).


Add the calcium chloride and mix thoroughly.

Add the rennet and stir with an up and down motion.

Cover the pot and let it sit for 4-8 hours. Check on it after 4 hours, mine was ready at about 4 and a half. The curd will be pretty soft but you should be able to cut it and it will hold the line.

Cut the curd into one inch cubes.

Let them rest for 10 minutes.

Heat the curds to 80 degrees, by 3 degrees every 5 minutes.

Heat the curds to 90 degrees by 3 degrees every 5 minutes.

Heat the curds to 110 degrees and keep it there for 20 minutes. All the while stirring occasionally to avoid matting.

- Those last three steps sound kind of confusing but really what you should do it keep your burner on low and keep checking the temperature every few minutes.

The curds need to cook through and they shouldn’t be custard like in the middle. You can squeeze one to test it.

cottage squeeze

After the curds are the right consistency, turn off the heat and let them sink to the bottom of the pot. Let them rest for 5 minutes.

Pour off the whey and ladle the curds into a butter muslin lined colander.

draining cottage

Tie the corners of the muslin and hang to dry for 10 minutes.

Place the curds into a bowl and break apart the bigger chunks. Add salt to taste.

Add the cream if you would like a creamier texture.

cottage end

Cottage cheese!

And here is my recipe for granola, just in case you want to try it!

2 cups oats (not instant)

2 tbs honey

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup sliced almonds (or whatever nuts you would like)

1/2 cup dried fruit

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Mix all the ingredients and spread on a greased sheet pan.

Bake for 10-15 minutes.

Let it cool for a second and then drop some on your new cottage cheese.

Enjoy enjoy!





  1. Dobra says:

    Where do you purchase the rennet and calcium chloride?

  2. Keighty says:

    I get all my cheese supplies from the new England cheese company. I order it all online at

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