…you make cheese. Farmer cheese that is. It is impossible to buy farmer cheese in Peoria, Illinois. So I thaught myself how to make it at home. Thanks to the Internet and people that are willing to share almost everything with you, I mastered the recipe for homemade farmer cheese. Thanks to a simple but yet amazing process of fermentation and thanks to the amazing bacteria, you can now go back to your grandma’s kitchen and make authentic potato pierogi or pierogi ruskie. And no, you cannot use cream cheese or cheddar cheese. It needs to be farmer cheese! After all, I know; I am pierogi police.  And … you are welcome.

Farmer Cheese

1-gallon whole milk

2 cups buttermilk

Combine the buttermilk with milk. Let it stand at room temperature for 24-48 hours (don’t freak out; the “good” bacteria are going to kill the “bad” ones and milk will be safely transformed into sour milk).

Preheat oven to the lowest possible temperature, but no lower than 50-degree Celsius (122-degree Fahrenheit) and no higher than 77-degree Celsius (170-degree Fahrenheit). Heat the milk in the oven for about one hour or until an instant-read thermometer reads 50-degree Celsius or 122-degree Fahrenheit. At this point, you should see curds (solids) separating from the whey (liquid). Do not overheat the milk or you will get very grainy cheese.

Remove the milk from the oven and let it cool for about 30 minutes.

Lay the bottom of a large colander with two to three layers of cheesecloth. Pour the curds into the cheesecloth. Tie the cheesecloth up using the corners and weigh it down to drain. The whey will drain and the solids curds will remain in the cheesecloth. If you want to use cheese for pierogi, remove as much moisture as possible. You will have cheese that is dry and crumbly. If you want a creamier texture, do not remove all the moisture from the curds. Creamier cheese can be used as a spread or for cheesecake.

Move the curds to the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. The farmer cheese is now ready to be used in your favorite recipe.