Making Curds and Whey

I’ve always been a lover of cheese… every kind of cheese. From the stinky stuff in French restaurants to the most mild mozzarella. I found this recipe recently to make cheese at home and knew I had to try it. I didn’t even know you could make cheese at home with such simple ingredients. All you need for this recipe is buttermilk, milk and salt, no chemicals, rennet or anything else. I used organic whole milk, but you can also make it with 1% or 2%. So easy and amazingly delicious. To fancy it up, I browned the cheese in a dry non-stick pan and it made a perfect appetizer. It is also just as yummy eaten plain.

The recipe said salt was an optional item , but I think it is really necessary. I only added a generous pinch of fleur de sel and it was extremely bland before brining. It was fine after brining, but the exterior is definitely saltier than the interior when you brine. The texture is similar to Queso Blanco. It has a nice bite and mild flavor. Next time I’m going to experiment with some smoked sea salt and maybe even herbs. It was so easy, I see myself making fresh cheese at home on a regular basis.

Fresh Brined Cheese Recipe
(Adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman)

1/2 gallon milk (1%, 2% or whole)
1 quart buttermilk

1. Bring the milk to a boil in a large heavy bottom pot over medium-high heat. Stir often to keep from scorching, until the milk bubbles up the sides of the pot, 10-15 minutes.

2. Line a strainer with 3 layers of cheesecloth. Have a long piece of twine ready.

3. Add the buttermilk to the boiling milk all at once and stir constantly until the mixture separates into curds and whey. It will look like cooked egg whites suspended in a slightly thick yellowish liquid. Remove from the heat and stir in 1/2 to 1 tsp salt.

4. Carefully pour the mixture through the cloth and strainer so that the curds collect in the bottom and the whey drains off. Gather up the corners of the cloth and twist the top to start working the curds into a ball. Run the bundle under cold water until you can handle it. Keep twisting and squeezing out the whey until the bundle feels firm and dry. Don’t worry about handling it roughly, it can take it.

5. Tie the string around the top to hold it tight, then tie the string around a long spoon to suspend the cheese over the sink or a bowl to drain. Let it rest, undisturbed until cool and set, about 1 1/2 hours.

6. While the cheese is resting, bring 2 c water to a boil and add 2 tbsp salt. Stir to dissolve the salt. Let sit until completely cooled. Remove the cheese from the cheesecloth and submerge in the brine. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours. I prefer to rinse the cheese under cool water before eating as the outer part tends to taste salty.

Makes about 1 pound cheese



  • EglÄ— 9 YEARS AGO

    I’ve been looking for brined cheese recipe sooooo long. Cause one of the best salads I’ve ever tasted was bulgarian ‘Shopska’ salad and as I was born and still living in Lithuania, it’s so hard to find a brined cheese here.
    Lucky me, now I got THE RECIPE :)
    Thanks a lot.

    P.S. Never made to “comments” section just so say how MUCH I adore your blog. Thanks for being here :)

  • ashley 9 YEARS AGO

    i think you’re reading my mind. i was *just* thinking about making cheese! i love how simple this is!

  • VeggieGirl 9 YEARS AGO

    Stunning presentation of the dish, as always!!

  • BillJ 9 YEARS AGO

    Wow, that is easy! Definitely going on my to do recipe list. Any thoughts on how to use the whey?

  • elra 9 YEARS AGO

    Such an inspiring post and I really admire your effort on making this curds. I am not there yet, but I will….

  • Alicia 9 YEARS AGO

    What a great recipe!

  • Pam Arendall-Arnais 9 YEARS AGO

    That’s really neat…what, in comparison, does the cheese taste like?

  • gail shepherd 9 YEARS AGO

    beautiful, can’t wait to try it. cheese lovers should also try making fresh ricotta at home; it’s even easier than this and tastes absolutely delicious. check the site for the recipe.

  • Gregg L. 8 YEARS AGO

    You are basicly making a Queso Blanco or Indian Panir.
    Queso Blanco acidify with 1/4 cup of white vinagar.
    Panir 1/4 cup lemon juice.
    You can mix in any herb or even a teaspoon of salt after your initial straining and before the final squeeze.
    If you find a goat farm try with fresh goat milk.

Recent Comments

  • I visited your blog after a long time today and was so thrilled to see all these new posts and the new design. As always, your food looks gorgeous.
  • The best!
  • wow great pictures! the filling sounds really interesting.. I have lots of leftover egg whites that I've been wanting to use up...I'm definitely making them! thanks for the recipe : )
  • I did have this salad when we visited the Philippines! It was certainly delicious and very fulfilling. Although this dish is more Japanese in origin, that restaurant gave it its own twist. The Filipinos really have a good palate for excellent food! Anyway, thank you for the recipe. I will surely give this a try!
  • Absolutely mind-blowing. I tried doing spoons your spoons have a rounded bowl or a flat surface. Did many break if you were trying to push it in a little to make it have a little depth.

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