Farmers Cheese Tvorog Recipe

This is my mom's method of making farmers cheese. Grandma made this cheese in Ukraine. Steps are easy and the results are wonderful!

This is my mom’s method of making farmer’s cheese. Grandma made this cheese in Ukraine. It takes a few days, but the steps are easy and the results are wonderful. Not to mention you will feel like a ninja after you’ve made your own cheese.

You end up with a good amount of farmers cheese and whey. Use organic milk for the best tasting cheese (I buy discounted organic milk that is about to expire just for this!). You can use the cheese to make syrniki  or cheese crepes (nalesniki). Keep the whey (yellowish juice) to make bread.

Substitute water for whey and your bread will always taste better and it will be healthier since whey contains protein that is easy to digest. Are you a cheese ninja? How do you make your farmer’s cheese?

Ingredients for Farmers Cheese:

1 gallon whole milk (get the best quality you can; organic is best), At room temperature.
1/2 gallon Cultured low fat buttermilk, at room temp

What you will need:

4 layers of cheese cloth

Time to make:

3 days

Day 1:

1. Allow the milk gallon and buttermilk to come to room temperature on the counter (about 7 hours).

2. Pour milk and buttermilk into a large soup pot. Cover and place in a warm (100 ˚ F) oven for 1 hour or until mixture feels luke warm.

3. Remove from oven and place in a warm room (I put mine on the floor next to the heating vent in the laundry room)  and let it sit for 24 hours. When it’s done, it should become the consistency of sweetened condensed milk. It pulls when you lift it up with a spoon and should not really stick to your spoon if you insert it vertically and remove it straight out. Do not stir.

Day 2:

4. Place on the stove again over medium/low heat for 40 minutes or until it is warm. Do Not Stir. You have to heat it up slowly, since high temperatures destroy the nutritious protein.

5. Remove from stove and place in a warm room for another 24 hours (again, next to the heating vent on the floor).

Day 3:

6. Place on the stove over medium heat for 40 minutes or until hot. The cheese will separate from the whey. Turn off the heat and let it sit covered for an hour (this helps for the curds to separate as well).

7. Place 4 layers of cheesecloth over a large colander set inside a large bowl.

8. Pour cheese mixture over the cheesecloth.

Here’s the Leftover whey. Refrigerate this stuff and use it for bread. There will be some settling on the bottom

9. You can tie a knot with your cheesecloth and hang it over your kitchen faucet for 8-10 hours OR place a cutting board either in a baking dish or in the sink. Put bag of cheese on top. Cover with another cutting board and place a heavy weight over the top (i.e. dutch oven filled with water or a large jug of water).

10. Remove cheese after 10 hours and make something tasty or refrigerate. You can let it sit longer if you want a drier cheese.

This is my mom's method of making farmers cheese. Grandma made this cheese in Ukraine. Steps are easy and the results are wonderful!

So, how do you make your cheese?

Farmer's Cheese Tvorog Recipe

4.9 from 12 reviews
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Buy organic milk that is nearly expired and deeply discounted. I've found that organic milk tastes best.
Author:
Skill Level: Medium
Cost To Make: $5-$6
Serving: 2½ to 3 lbs of cheese and about 3 Liters of whey

Ingredients

  • 1 gal whole milk at room temperature (organic is best)
  • ½ gallon Cultured lowfat buttermilk

What you will need:

  • 4 layers of cheese cloth

Instructions

Time to make: 3 days

Day 1:

  1. Allow the milk gallon and buttermilk to come to room temperature on the counter (about 7 hours).
  2. Pour milk and buttermilk into a large soup pot. Cover and place in a warm (100˚ F) oven for 1 hour or until mixture feels luke warm.
  3. Remove from oven and place in a warm room and let it sit for 24 hours. When it's done, it should become the consistency of sweetened condensed milk. It pulls when you lift it up with a spoon and should not really stick to your spoon if you insert it vertically and remove it straight out. Do not stir.

Day 2:

  1. Place on the stove again over medium/low heat for 40 minutes or until it is warm. Do Not Stir. You have to heat it up slowly, since high temperatures destroy the nutritious protein.
  2. Remove from stove and place in a warm room for another 24 hours (again, next to the heating vent on the floor).

Day 3:

  1. Place on the stove over medium heat for 40 minutes or until hot. The cheese will separate from the whey. Turn off the heat and let it sit covered for an hour (this helps for the curds to separate as well).
  2. Place 4 layers of cheesecloth over a large colander inside a large bowl.
  3. Pour cheese mixture over the cheesecloth. Tie the top of the cheesecloth and hang it over your kitchen faucet for 8-10 hours OR place a cutting board either in a baking dish or in the sink. Put bag of cheese on top. Cover with another cutting board and place a heavy weight over the top.
  4. Remove cheese after 12 hours and make something tasty or refrigerate. You can let it sit longer if you want a drier cheese.

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Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review

  • Nicole
    August 24, 2017

    We have a Ukrainian exchange student for the year so this recipe is very important to us. As the first day is ending, it looks like milk with a layer on top but not the consistency of condensed milk. Should we wait another 24 hours or proceed to the next step? We did have room temperature ingredients at the start. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 24, 2017

      Hi Nicole, did you warm it at the temp and time stated in the recipe? How is the texture right now? Does it pull when you lift it up with a spoon and when you put a spoon into it vertically and remove it straight out does it stick to the spoon or slide right off? That is the consistency you should get. If it’s close to the way I described, it should be safe to proceed 🙂 Reply

      • Nicole Alioto
        August 25, 2017

        Yes we warmed it up and then let it rest. Right now, when I stick in a spoon, there is a decent layer of thickness on the surface but under is still liquid. Should I just proceed with the warming of it as listed on day 2? Reply

        • Natasha
          natashaskitchen
          August 25, 2017

          Hi Nicole, you should proceed as listed for day 2 🙂 Reply

  • Mariya
    August 18, 2017

    Help!! I started making this recipe yesterday and, today (Day 2), accidentally let the mixture get to boiling after getting distracted. Who knows how long it’s been simmering?! I basically plan on treating this as if it were Day 3, where you bring the mixture to “hot” lol. Do you think I still have a chance of salvaging this, or is it, “Kaput”? 🙂 Reply

    • Mariya
      August 18, 2017

      *First name! ugh; sorry! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 18, 2017

      Hi Mariya, I think you could treat it like it was day 2 unless it was really strongly boiling and changed color. That happened to us once after forgetting about it (we have a second stove top in the garage so it’s easy to forget!), and it changed to an orangy color and was kaput at that point. If it looks white and separates well from the whey, it is still salvageable and useable. Reply

      • Mariya
        August 20, 2017

        It definitely separated and turned out pretty well for the first try! Thank you for sharing this and I will certainly try it again, and this time with the leftover whey instead of butttermilk. I hope that it works! Thank you again. 🙂 Reply

        • Natasha
          natashaskitchen
          August 20, 2017

          Hi Mariya, I’m so glad to hear that! I have never tried it with leftover whey – not sure if that will have the correct properties to help form the cheese though. Have you seen anyone else try with success? I just haven’t seen it before. Reply

          • Olga
            August 20, 2017

            I have tried it on someone else’s advise, and I used the outside method since I live in AZ too. It works! I saved 1/2 gal of whey in the buttermilk container and keep reusing it! (Sort of)

          • Mariya
            August 25, 2017

            It worked with the whey, like Olga said! I thought it wouldn’t, since it was coming out much more liquid-y (but still separated), but that’s only because I’d messed it up the first time and this was a big contrast to the drier curds from that batch. Since I thought the curds were too loose, I ended up throwing away the whey in frustration, but then it strained great overnight. I will start again with the buttermilk, but then will keep on re-using the whey from the subsequent batches. 🙂 Same 2-to-1 milk-to-whey ratio. 🙂

          • Natasha
            natashaskitchen
            August 26, 2017

            Thank you for sharing!!

  • July 26, 2017

    Hi Natasha,

    My way of making tvorog is very simple because I’m fortunate to live in Arizona)) With our summer heat I just place my pot with the milk on the patio for 2 days! (Of course, it is properly sealed with the plastic wrap). When I take it out, I just need to use a simple mesh strainer (the thickness of cheese is good enough for not using a cheese cloth). If I want my tvorog to be more tender I only have it outside for 1 day (24 hrs), and I do 72 hrs if I want it to be more sour and hard. Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      July 26, 2017

      Oh wow! That’s a great benefit of living in extreme heat! Thanks for sharing your tips/suggestions with other readers! Reply

      • Olga
        July 30, 2017

        Masha, do you mix the milk with the buttermilk or just leave the milk itself outside without it? I have found before that “American” milk spoils and smells bad rather than becomes the way it used to be when we were little (the whey separating from the rest), and I don’t know if its because it was homogenized? Any thoughts? Thank you! Reply

        • July 31, 2017

          Olga, yes, for the very first batch I do use buttermilk, but when I already have the milk whey separated from tvorog, I use some of this whey to run a new batch instead of buttermilk. And yes, I agree, “American” milk do smells and tastes different from “Russian” milk (and not only when it spoils). I’m not sure if it is because it was homogenized or if it’s because the cows were fed differently… Reply

    • Olga
      July 30, 2017

      wow, i live in AZ too! I need to try this since its summer now Reply

  • Kristina
    July 12, 2017

    Hey Natasha! I am excited to try out this recipe, but before I do, you mention using the leftover whey for bread. Do you have a recipe for this type of bread? Just curious because I wouldn’t want to waste anything 🙂 Thank you in advance! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      July 12, 2017

      You can use it in my no knead or my Dutch oven bread. You simply replace the water with the whey and it works great! You can use whey in many different bread recipes replacing water equally. Reply

      • Kristina
        July 12, 2017

        Thank you Natasha! Really appreciate you getting back to me so quickly! Excited to try both recipes out! Thanks again!! Reply

        • Natasha's Kitchen
          July 13, 2017

          My pleasure Kristina! Reply

  • Marilyn
    March 25, 2017

    If it is difficult to find a warm spot to let the cheese sit, would placing it in the oven with the oven light left on work? I used this method to make yogurt and it worked well.
    I made your blueberry cake with the bluberries in the centre and on top. It was wonderful–nice and moist. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 25, 2017

      Hi Marilyn, yes that would work fine to leave it in the oven with the light on. I’m so glad you enjoyed the blueberry cake! It’s quickly become one of the most popular desserts on my blog 🙂 Reply

  • Lori FM
    February 23, 2017

    Hi, Natasha, Thank you so much for posting your clear directions for farmer’s cheese; the photos are very helpful!

    A question – I have noticed that your recipe differs from the many others I have seen online by your Step 2, where after the milk has cultured, you warm it again and leave it for an Additional 24 hours. If you have any insight as to the difference the extra day makes, I would appreciate learning about it. Thanks very much!!! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      February 24, 2017

      Hi Lori, allowing the cheese to form slowly, rather than speeding through the process, makes for a sweeter cheese. The flavor is better when you given more time 🙂 Reply

  • Ksenia
    January 10, 2017

    Hi Natasha,
    I am in the process of making the tvorog using organic milk and kefir (I didn’t have buttermilk). I have done the 1st heating in the oven and it has sat for almost 24 hours in a warm room. It is already sepating and looks nothing like your picture or sweetened condensed milk. Should I continue? Do you have any thoughts on what I did wrong? Thanks! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      January 10, 2017

      Were your two ingredients at room temperature? If not, you may just need to let it sit a little longer until it reaches the right consistency. It won’t hurt to let it rest longer until it reaches the consistency I described in the recipe. Reply

      • Ksenia
        January 11, 2017

        Thank you for responding! Yes, I did have the 2 ingredients at room temperature. I didn’t stir them together when I first poured them into the pot though. Should I have? Perhaps that is where I went wrong? Also, I should have waited for your response before I did anything, but I was afraid that the tvorog would go bad, so I went ahead and heated it for 40 minutes last night. It’s resting again now, but still looks about the same. Reply

        • Natasha
          natashaskitchen
          January 11, 2017

          It should still be ok to continue, even if you left the cheese an extra day, it would still be fine :). Reply

  • Wendy
    January 7, 2017

    Amazon sells Nut Milk bags for making almond milk etc. They are a very fine mesh fabric that works much better than muslin, cheese cloth, pillowcases or even jelly bags used for home canning. Nut Milk bags are durable, don’t stain and are really easy to clean. I don’t work for the company, I just wanted to share a really good product. Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      January 7, 2017

      Good to know Wendy, thank you for sharing! Reply

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