Tvorog (more known as cottage cheese or quark) is a very popular Russian soft cheese. It's very easy to make at home by warming soured milk until it curds and separates from whey, and then straining it.
There are many techniques of preparing tvorog (cottage cheese) at home: some use lemon juice, vinegar, or enzyme (rennet). However, these methods don't contain beneficial live probiotic bacteria. That's why I am using kefir grain as a starter culter in the fermentation process of cottage cheese making. In this case, tvorog (cottage cheese) contains good-for-you probiotic cultures.
Cottage cheese (tvorog) can be eaten as it is. Added into smoothies (check out this Supercharged Kiddy Smoothie recipe), used in desserts or in recipes instead of feta or ricotta. It also makes a perfect snack with the sour cream (check this link for a recipe) or kefir (Authentic Kefir recipe is here) with a drizzle of maple syrup or honey on top. Your digestive system will definitely like this combination!
Another thing I love about making tvorog at home is that I get to keep all the delicious whey which I can use in homemade baked goodies (pancakes, muffins, crepes, and etc). These fibre & protein pikelets are a great example of incorporation whey in baking (click here for the recipe).
Please note using low-fat milk will result in firmer curds and slightly higher output in comparison with the standard milk.
2L milk, blue top
Pour milk in a pot and warm it up slightly to around 25-30C.
Take the pouch with kefir grains and add it to the pot with milk. Mix it up with the spoon. NOTE: A couple of spoons of kefir added to the milk can help to accelerate the fermentation.
Cover pot loosely with the lid or a muslin cloth to allow oxygen access. Put it in the warm place to ferment for around 12-24 hours.
The curd is ready when it becomes much firmer and easily separates from the wall of the pot.
Remove kefir grains from the pot.
Mix the mixture with the spatula and place the pot on low heat on a stove for around 15 minutes.
Stir the curd gently with the spoon every so often. The curd will separate from whey and will be easy to strain.
Take the pot off the stove and using a large slotted ladle or a sieve separate the curd from the whey.
If you, like me, prefer soft cottage cheese (tvorog) scoop an extra whey in the container with the curd. The less whey you leave in the container the firmer the end product becomes.
Put it in the fridge for around 4-8 hours to cool down.
You can see from the photo below that there is much less liquid left in the container. When ready to eat give it a good mix with a spoon first.
Now, it's all done! Keep cottage cheese (tvorog) in an airtight container in a fridge. It can be stored for up to two weeks.
Someone is rather impassioned...
Wait a little bit, please. Let's plate it up first!
Here we go! Much better, isn't it?
Now, dig in!