There’s something about raw milk. For many of us, it was the first step in the real food journey. It tastes weird at first, like drinking ice cream. Then you grow to love it — especially the kids, then depend on it. Then it’s at every meal. And then…

THEN you find out the stuff never goes bad, really, it just sorta becomes another food. We found this startling. All our lives, we’d been warned about eating a food past its expiration date.

Except maybe a Goldfish®, which lasts forever. (Why didn’t THAT amaze us?) These days, we are getting 4 brand new foods out of what we used to call “spoiled” milk, starting with homemade cottage cheese.

A little backstory on how this non-cook got to making cottage cheese, which led to the other 3 foods. You’ve heard of the Budwig diet for healing cancer, yes? It’s main component is FOCC eaten twice a day, once in the am and once late afternoon. FOCC = Flaxseed Oil and lowfat Cottage Cheese, all organic. Well, I’m on the diet. I don’t have cancer, I have other issues 🙂 I explain all in an upcoming post focusing on the protocol.

I’m WILD about the FOCC. Not only delicious, but it alone heals cancer (scroll down to the video under “About”). And, while it alone might not heal everything, it certainly helps one along the path because of the way it affects cells.

So I’m on this diet that has me eating 6 Tbsp of FO blended into 12 Tbsp of CC everyday (half am, half pm). That’s 84T of cottage cheese a week, roughly 5.25 containers. I was eating Nancy’s Organic Cultured Cottage Cheese which is delicious, btw, no additives and Non-GMO Project verified.

At the same time, I get this clean, delicious, A2 raw milk every Saturday. (So clean, I’ve had jars last me 4 weeks. That’s clean raw milk!)

Then I accidentally left a jar out for two days. If you saw my kitchen, you’d see how that could happen. The milk wasn’t bad, just too far gone to drink. I knew that spoiled milk was the first step to making cottage cheese, so thought I’d try. “How hard could it be?” I asked myself. Usually that’s my prelude to certain disaster. Not this time! It is truly so simple.

How to Make Homemade Cottage Cheese from Raw Milk

Yield: 4 C homemade cottage cheese and 1/2 gallon of whey


  • 1 gallon raw milk


  • 1 container to hold the cream, at least 2 cups
  • 1 ladle or dipper
  • 1 large nut bag for straining (I love this one from Amazon, $11.60)
  • 1 large bowl to catch the whey
  • 1 container to store the cottage cheese
  • 1/2 gallon Ball jar to store the whey

INSTRUCTIONS – Please read all the way through before starting.

STEP ONE You want to take most of the cream off the top of the milk, leaving a thin layer, like 1/4 to 1/2 inch. If you take too much off, the milk takes much longer to curdle.

We get our milk in Ball jars and I found a small ladle that just fits inside the opening. If your milk doesn’t come in Ball jars, pour it into a similar container with a wide mouth. Loosen the top and let the milk sit out for at least a day — my last batch sat out 3 days which was perfect in this weather. The cream settles at the top and “gels” (cultures) so it’s much easier to remove.

In the picture below, the cream has been removed from the two jars on the left and put in the quart jar on the right. I’m just getting ready to remove the cultured cream on the top of the middle jar.

homemade cottage cheese how-to

Color alert: the bowl on the left has some homemade butter — notice the color? The glass dish on the right has store-bought butter… notice the color!!! What a difference, eh?

Save that cream, it’s all ready to make cultured butter! Go ahead and put the cream in the fridge.

homemade cottage cheese how-to

This cultured cream is almost butter now!

STEP TWO Cover the skimmed milk lightly (I leave the cap barely screwed on) and leave on the counter till it separates: whey in the bottom, curdled milk solids in the top. It won’t curdle if it’s not warm enough, so it needs to be in a warmish spot.

homemade cottage cheese how-to

Skimmed milk just set out, lightly capped – no separation yet


homemade cottage cheese how-to

Completely separated and ready to strain

STEP THREE Once it’s separated, strain the whey out. I use a cotton bag hung on a cup hook over a glass bowl. If you don’t have a nut bag, you can use an old piece of cotton sheet. Cut a big square, tie the four corners up in a knot, hang from the hook and pour the separated milk in there. Straining usually takes 4 hours or so. You can let it sit overnight, then add some whey or milk back in if it gets too dry.

homemade cottage cheese how-to

The straining! The yellow liquid is the whey, the cottage cheese is in the bag.

Presto! Homemade cottage cheese! Both the whey and CC get stored in the fridge.

homemade cottage cheese how-to

Delicious homemade cottage cheese!

Yes, it’s that easy! I use all my homemade cottage cheese in the FOCC, but it’s delicious with tomatoes and peppers, or in any recipe calling for cottage cheese. It’s great on buttermilk pancakes, or as a base for a dip or a soup… Homemade raw milk cottage cheese is an all-around nutritious, versatile, nutrient-dense food. We LOVE having it on hand.

Homemade Cottage Cheese How-to

Btw, do not use this method with pasteurized milk, it won’t work. Check out youtube for how-tos on that!

And having fresh whey around is so useful! It can last 6 months in a cold fridge (although you probably won’t have it that long). Here’s how I use it:

  • Ferments – use it in beet kvass, sauerkraut and other homemade ferments
  • Smoothies (add to anything that needs a liquid thinner or healthful boost)
  • Cooking — use as a soup base, to cook oatmeal, rice, pastas, use as the liquid in breadmaking, muffins, pancakes, use for soaking grains, add a little to picnic salads (potato, pasta)… Just consider using whey anytime a recipe calls for water!
  • Mayo — my NT cookbook (available on Amazon, see picture below) mayo recipe calls for whey, fantastic and so easy! They whey makes it last longer. We eat that so fast, we usually don’t bother to refrigerate. (Mayo recipe tip: instead of mustard, add a little curry powder — OMG, you’ll put it on everything!!!)
  • Pet food — chickens, pigs and dogs love it, my cats not so much, although others say their cats go for it
  • Plants/garden — water your plants with it, tomatoes love it, may need to dilute for sensitive plants like lettuces, peppers
  • Freeze — freeze in ice cube trays, then store in a baggie or container for later use

Nourishing Traditions - more than a cookbook, it's a real food primer!

Ok, that’s TWO nutrient dense versatile foods from one gallon of raw milk!

But, wait, there’s more! What about all that yummy left-over cream? My herdshare cows give me a cup of cream in every half gallon. When we’re just drinking the milk, we shake up that goodness before drinking. But the slightly curdled cream leftover from the cottage cheese-making is PERFECT for butter and just as simple to make.

The very next post tells how to make raw milk butter and buttermilk from this yummy cream. Don’t worry, it will keep 🙂

In the meantime, do you make homemade cottage cheese and whey? Please share your tips and tricks with us below — thank you!Pin this post because sharing is good!

Homemade Cottage Cheese in 3 simple steps!
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