This question goes out to all of you who make cottage cheese from clabbered raw milk. Often, I find the curd texture to be a bit softer than I'd like, which means that it's not as firm as commercially made cottage cheese, though the flavor is amazing. My procedure is as follows:
I use a splash of buttermilk to inoculate fresh cows milk in the stainless steel, sanitized pot in which it will be cooked.
Next, I cover it with a clean dishtowel and set it overnight in the food dehydrator set to 100 degrees.
In the morning voila, clabbered milk, ready to cut into curds.
After cutting, I let it sit for a little while and then gently heat to approx 115-120F to cook the curds.
With the next step I drain off most of the whey, replacing it with cold water or cold water and ice cubes to cool the curds.
Then I drain it, add salt to taste and then drain it in a fine mesh basket for a few hours to overnight to get the right dryness to the cottage cheese. i usually do add cream right before I serve the cheese to lengthen the time the cottage cheese stays fresh in the fridge.
The only problem that I encounter at times and not all the time, is that the curd can be quite soft and light. It is has soft, distinct curds of excellent flavor, but I wish I could get a little more structure to the curds. The cottage cheese flavor is really great, like the best store-purchased cottage cheese around, but if I could improve the texture to be about 30% more firm I would. All of the old-timers that I've talked to who recall making cheese with clabber haven't been able to make any other suggestions that might improve the texture as this seems to be a traditional way around here of making cottage cheese when most families kept a dairy cow. Would I need a dash of rennet? If so, how much and would I add it in the beginning when I stir in the splash of buttermilk as I set the milk to clabber? Any thoughts or ideas would be much appreciated, as the kids aren't to keen to eat stuff that isn't a close match to what I can purchase in the store. Thanks in advance:) Laurensinthegarden