I'm new to Homegrown and so excited to have found this online community. I might as well jump right in!
I'm still new to cooking from scratch, and I can't believe how pleasurable and easy it can be. I feel like a schmuck for having eaten so poorly for so much of my life. The post below is just taken from my blog
Most Polish families are likely familiar with farmer's cheese, a mild and soft cheese that resembles ricotta or firm cottage cheese. My mom has made it for years, using it as filling for pierogies and cheesecake and as a base for tomato sandwiches. After years of completely not paying attention to her technique, I decided to try it myself. It was surprisingly easy and yielded a delicious result.
I started with a half gallon of high-quality (local and organic) milk that was pasteurized, NOT ultra-pasteurized (a totally unnecessary process, in my opinion), and let it sit until it reached room temperature. I heated the milk, stirring often to prevent scorching, until it simmered.
(start with high-quality milk)
Once the milk began to bubble slightly, I added about 3 tablespoons of sour cream and a splash of white vinegar. My mom uses buttermilk, but I didn't have any on hand, and she said sour cream would do the trick. I've read that you can forgo the sour cream or buttermilk and just use lemon juice or vinegar (1/2 a cup or so), but I like the idea of adding dairy rather than going heavy on either of the latter.
After adding my sour cream and vinegar, I turned off the heat and began slowly stirring. The curds and whey began to separate almost instantaneously. After stirring for another minute or so, I let the mixture sit for 10 minutes.
(curds and whey)
The final step was to strain it. Although most sources suggest that you use a cheesecloth, my mom usually uses only a strainer, and that worked out just fine, though I would have benefited from a finer mesh. The outcome was about a 1/2 lb of cheese. Not bad for my first try!
(farmer's cheese - voila!)