Tvorog (Russian-Style Farmer’s Cheese)
This cheese was a large part of the Veitzman diet in Ukraine, but there was no need to make it regularly, since it was readily available. Unable to buy the kind of Farmer’s Cheese they were accustomed to once the Veitzman family came to the United States, making it has become a staple around the family household.
Resembling ricotta in texture, it can be used in a similar fashion. You can whip it into a smooth paste with a food processor, or use it as a stuffing for blintzes, pastas or pastries. It keeps a week in the refrigerator, but it tastes most special right after it has been made.
- 1 gallon milk (we prefer 2% organic milk, but any kind is fine)
- 1-2 quarts buttermilk
- one 5-6 gallon enamel pot
Mix milk and buttermilk together in the enamel pot. If you have enough volume in your pot, you may use more than 1 quart of buttermilk–the resulting flavor will be a little more sour. Cover with lid and sit at room temperature for up to 24 hours, or until thickened into a yogurt-like consistency.
Place mixture in pot on stove covered on very low heat. After 15-20 minutes, the curds will start to separate from the whey. Once it starts to separate, stir mixture once to remove any hot spots. Continue to cook another 15 minutes, and stir once more. Cook another 15 minutes or so until the curds float to the top in a mass.
Place cheesecloth in a single layer on the inside of a colander. Pour the mixture into the colander slowly, trying to pour the whey out before the curds. If you like, you can save the whey as it’s quite healthy to use in other recipes. The liquid at this point should be yellowish and clear. If it’s still cloudy, leave the pot covered on the stove 20 minutes or until the mixture reaches room temperature and then resume the procedure.
Cover the mixture in the colander and let drain at room temperature for four or more hours, up to overnight. The cheese is now ready. You can invert the colander onto a plate and peel off the cheesecloth to remove the cheese.
This cheese is great served savory or sweet, mixed with source cream, yogurt or berries. It can be spread on bread with a topping of herbs. It’s also great as a filling for peroshkis or blintzes. It is similar to ricotta and can be used as a substitute.