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Side by side comparison….

Nom Nom!

Nom Nom!

Kelly and I are preppers, if nothing else. Now that doesn’t mean we buy into every conspiracy going, but it means we believe in being prepared. Prepared for what? Anything!

Eventually, our plan is to go completely off the grid and thrive with only those items that we can grow, cultivate, and create ourselves. In preparation for this, we are starting to play with recipes, as well as come up with our own.

Our first attempt at home made cottage cheese happened yesterday!

Kelly thought that Alton Brown’s recipe sounded pretty easy and was a good place to start. Below is the process at each stage – hope you enjoy!

The initial recipe calls for bringing a gallon of skim milk up to 120 degrees F. We opted for whole milk (I know, more fattening, but oh so good!)

Cottage Cheese 1

Once temp has reached 120 degrees (be sure and use a candy thermometer to get accurate temp), remove it from heat source and slowly add 3/4 cup vinegar. This is the process by which you will curdle the milk and create the curd.

Cottage Cheese 2

Cottage Cheese 3Keep in mind, the more you stir after adding the vinegar, the smaller your curd will be. We stirred it a bit, just until we could see curds beginning to form. This allows the curd to separate from the whey. Cover and allow to sit for about 30 minutes. While it’s cooling, prepare a colander and a tea towel or cheese cloth – you will be pouring the mixture into the cloth.

After cooling, Kelly poured the mixture into the colander and allowed it to drain for 4 or 5 minutes. Cottage Cheese 4

Cottage Cheese 5

After it has drained, wash the curds with cold water. Start gathering up the edges of the towel and twist to form a ball. Slowly work the curds in the towel and squeeze – this will help remove moisture from the curd.

Now, transfer the curd to a small bowl – and season to your liking! We added salt and a bit of pepper. If you stir the curd around, it will break it up a bit. When you are ready to serve it, you can add a little heavy cream. Kelly and I do like runny cottage cheese, so we opted for just a touch of heavy cream.cottage Cheese 6

I am an eternal skeptic… so I was a bit leary of how homemade cottage cheese would taste. I swear, I will probably never eat store bought again! This was so much better! You could actually taste the cheesiness of the curd, not additives and bizarre flavorings!

So, again, I ask you – which one would you rather eat?

Nom Nom!

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2007