For YEARS I have heard this story from my Mom about Dry Curd Cottage Cheese. By the time she is done telling me this story (and I've heard it DOZENS of times) I am licking my lips, trying to figure out how I can find some. I've been to cheese shops, small Artisans, the internet, and even asked a few farmers where I can get some. NO LUCK!
Now I've mentioned that I get milk from a great friend each week and that I've been making cheese. I have also been unsuccessfully trying to make Cottage Cheese for the past month. I've accidentally made ricotta, mozzarella curds, and some freaky looking cheddarish cheese. I am determined to re-create the childhood sensation that my Mother so fondly speaks of.
I've tried a recipe that calls for vinegar, one that calls for buttermilk, and one that calls for extreme heat. All have failed or tasted like vinegar. I was going over all of these recipes when I decided to try something different. I put the milk out at room temperature for about 8 hours with 5 drops of rennet. I checked it and sure enough, I had curd. Now the tricky part of cottage cheese is finding that perfect moment when the curd is not too soft and not too tough. If it is too soft then you might as well use it as a ricotta. If it is too tough then it's like chewing on miniature pieces of squeaky mozzarella.
I broke up the curd and bathed it in slightly warm water for about half an hour. After it looked fairly firm, I drained it and soaked it again for about 5 minutes in slightly warmer water. (100-110 degrees) I drained it again and rinsed it in cold water. A little salt and, WHOOT WHOOT, Dry Curd Cottage Cheese. I was so pleased with myself that I made more. And more...and more :)
So now my Mom has about 4 pounds and I have 2. Yep! It was a eureka MOMENT!