All you need to make a delicious fresh cheese is a large pot, instant-read thermometer (or a candy thermometer) and the buttermilk. The best cheese is usually made from full-fat buttermilk but it can be substituted for low-fat variety. Don’t use no-fat buttermilk though.
The tvorog is used in numerous ways in Russian cuisine. That’s why I often double or triple the quantity of the buttermilk. This fresh cheese also makes a suitable substitute for Italian ricotta.
Makes about 1 lb of cheese
- ½ gallon buttermilk
Pour the buttermilk in a large pot. Heat the buttermilk over medium heat until it reaches 160 F, stirring occasionally. Do not let the buttermilk boil or the curd cheese will be very tough. The whole process usually takes about 20-25 minutes depending on the heat you are giving. Check the temperature frequently after 15 minutes. Right after the buttermilk heated to the desired temperature take it from the heat, cover the pot with a lid and let it cool to room temperature.
Put a damp cheesecloth in a strainer and drain the curd cheese. The longer it sits in the strainer the drier it gets. So, don’t drain the cheese for too long (unless the recipe you need it for specifies so). Drain it until the weigh stops dripping, for about 1 hour. Put the cheese in an air tight container and refrigerate or eat it right away.