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Tvarog (cottage cheese) recipe

Tvarog (cottage cheese) recipe

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Breakfast

Tvarog is a cottage cheese popular in Russia, Poland and other east European countries. It can easily be made at home, all you need is milk, buttermilk, cheesecloth and time.

3 people made this

IngredientsServes: 6

  • 2L full fat milk
  • 500ml buttermilk
  • For optional garnish
  • 100g dried figs
  • 100g chopped or ground almonds

MethodPrep:1day ›Cook:1hr ›Extra time:1day resting › Ready in:2days1hr

  1. Combine milk and buttermilk in an ovenproof dish. Cover and place the mixture in a warm location for 24 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 100 to 120 C / Gas 1 (the lowest possible oven setting).
  3. Place the mixture in the oven for 1 hour until the whey separates. Make sure the temperature is not too high as it will make the tvarog rubbery.
  4. Leave in the oven to cool completely.
  5. Strain the mixture through a triple layer of cheesecloth. Tightly wrap it in the cheesecloth and tie the top into a knot. Let the whey run off overnight by attaching by hanging it over your kitchen faucet so it can drain.
  6. The fresh tvarog will be ready in the morning. Add some dried figs and sprinkle with almonds, or add other toppings of your choice.


Use fresh organic milk and whole buttermilk to make cottage cheese.

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9 Farmer’s Cheese Substitutes

Farmer's cheese is one of the easier kinds of cheeses to make and has a variety of uses in the kitchen. However, if you've run out of farmer's cheese or simply want to try something new, maybe it's time you try out the 9 alternatives we're providing in this Tastessence article.

Farmer’s cheese is one of the easier kinds of cheeses to make and has a variety of uses in the kitchen. However, if you’ve run out of farmer’s cheese or simply want to try something new, maybe it’s time you try out the 9 alternatives we’re providing in this Tastessence article.

Sometimes, it so happens that you’ve run out of farmer’s cheese right when you need it. Or maybe, you’re bored of farmer’s cheese and want something else for your yummy dishes. Whatever may be your reason, if you’re looking for some farmer’s cheese substitutes, you’ve definitely come to the right page. Before we get into those, however, allow us to tell you a little something about farmer’s cheese, so you know exactly what kind of cheese you’re going to be dealing with.

Farmer’s cheese is a fresh cheese type that can be consumed almost immediately after it is made and dried, and as the name suggests, is popularly made on farms all over the world, especially in the Middle Eastern and European countries. Farmer’s cheese is made from cow’s milk, goat’s milk, or sheep’s milk, and is one of the easiest cheeses for a beginner to make. Being soft in nature, it can be sliced as well as used as a spread. Some popular food items that use farmer’s cheese as an important ingredient are blintzes, pierogi, smoked meat, some sandwich spreads, ravioli, and lasagna, among others.

Now that you know some basic information about farmer’s cheese and where it’s used, let us look at the cheeses that are used as substitutes for it, all over the world.

There you go! You now have 9 really good farmer’s cheese substitutes, and we’re pretty sure you’re going to like them. Choose a substitute that goes really well with your recipe and make sure that nobody in your family, as well as you, is intolerant to any of these cheeses. Enjoy!


Such complexity, much ingredients.

Get a big pot, one that is about as tall as the milk carton.

This is where my version seems to differentiate itself from everyone else on the internet. What you do here is just split the top of the carton wide open.

Next up, put the carton directly into the pot, fill the pot with water as high as you feel comfortable filling it without spilling. Ideally to the top of the liquid in the milk carton. Dont let any water actually get INSIDE the carton.

Next just put it on a burner/stove and let it heat up. You want it on medium at first to get it warmed up, then as it gets near boiling crank it back to a low-medium. You don’t want the water to be boiling, you basically want it as hot as you can get it without it boiling. It should be steaming well, you should see bubbles forming on the sides of the pot, but you just don’t want full ripple.

You’re going to let it sit at that temperature for about 90 minutes. If you’re using the smaller containers of milk (my family would put like 5 of the smaller ones in one pot) then it can probably be done in 60 minutes.

After that time it should look like a solid piece of miscellaneous inside.

Get a colander out and pour it into the strainer. Most people will tell you you need a cheese cloth here. If you want to use a cheese cloth, go ahead. I’ve never been able to tell the difference between cheese-cloth vs colander cheese so I don’t even bother anymore. The only thing that might be different is that the cheese cloth will kind of force the cheese into a particular shape as it firms and it might be more convenient because you can just hang it somewhere with a small pot under it.

I like to give it a soft push here and there to get some of the juices out of it. This is the part where the debate is real. My mother liked it juicy so if she was making it she wouldn’t want it to drain too long and put no pressure on it at all, my father likes it dry so he would ring it out. I like it in the middle (no Goldilocks intended) so I’ve found a little bit of pressure at first to drain out the liquid, then letting it sit around 5 hours is my perfect spot.

You should be able to slice it almost like a piece of cheese but it should be soft with the cottage-cheese characteristic. I apologize, its hard take a pic of home made cheese and make it look sexy so this is about as good as its going to get. I recommend grabbing some sugar free raspberry jelly and putting some on top.

I really do wish I could get a more detailed analysis on the nutrition of this stuff. If you google it you will come up with so many different numbers. I was quoted $750 by a lab to have them test it for me so I don’t think that’s high on my list of stupid shit to spend money on right now. If anyone can tell me of a way to test this to get a real nutrition label out let me know.

Farmers Cheese consists of 60 &ndash 80 % water.

Dry mass has 1 to 40 % fat most of the rest is protein (80% of which is casein), calcium, and phosphate.

It is filled with lots of Protein and therefore is a perfect breakfast choice to start your day.

Lots of body-builders are relyingg on the consumption of unbelievable amount of Farmers Cheese daily for their natural Protein intake.


In Europe this type of curd cheese is very common, kind of like cream cheese in the US. However unlike cream cheese, curd cheese is really easy to prepare at home. Today I made my own Curd Cheese using only 3 ingredients : whole milk, vinegar and salt.


This soft curd cheese is made from whole milk.



Though not necessary it’s helpful to use a candy thermometer to measure temperature of milk. You’ll also need a fine mesh sieve.

Also, in the recipe card you’ll find a recipe for a Small Batch and Large Batch. My picture tutorial shows a large batch from 1 gallon of whole milk (about 4 liters)


Into a pot pour whole milk, add salt and heat milk on medium heat. Stirring occasionally. If you are using a pot that you know will burn the milk on the bottom be sure to stir frequently so milk doesn’t bunt.

Heat milk until it reaches 180F, or about there. Then pour in vinegar or lemon juice if using it, or combination of both is fine too. Turn off the heat and gently stir with a wooden spoon till you see curds forming.

If you don’t have a candy thermometer you can still make this cheese. Here is what you to do if don’t have a candy thermometer. Heat milk and watch milk carefully. When you see thin foam like layer on the top and lots of steam raising from the surface of the milk. And you’ll notice that surface looks like it’s moving. Milk is very hot, almost boiling. It’s time to add the vinegar or lemon juice.

You should see curds forming in a few seconds. Gently stir 2-3 times to make sure vinegar is combined well with all the milk. Remove pot from the heat and let sit for 10-15 minutes.


Place a large fine mesh sieve over a large bowl. Slowly pour hot curdled cheese into the sieve. Use ladle or a measuring cup to pick up curdled milk from the pot. If your sieve is nearly full with curdled cheese, wait for couple moment for the whey to drain and then pour more curdled milk into the sieve.

Cover with a plate or a kitchen towel and let curdled milk drain for 6 hours on the counter, or in the fridge overnight.

As a result of draining curd cheese will solidify and shrink in volume.

With a spatula scrape out cheese from the sieve into an airtight container. Cover with a lid and store in the fridge until ready to use. For up to 2 weeks.


This recipe lasts in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.


Low fat and Fat free milk, both produce rubbery curd cheese. I don’t recommend using low fat and fat free milk.


No, this curd cheese will not melt like mozzarella.


Most of the European store carry curd cheeses, though not all are the same. Friendship Farmer Cheese is the closest to my curd cheese recipe. It is sold at most grocery stores here in the United States.


Absolutely. I bake with it all the time. It’s my go to cheese to make Kolache, Layered Grated Cheese Cake.



Process 1 cup of farmer’s cheese with 1-3 tbsp milk in a food processor.


Though very similar and interchangeable ricotta is made from whey, whereas Farmer’s cheese is made from milk.


If I don’t have time to make this delicious curd cheese from scratch I use store bought Ricotta instead. And for some recipes with small adjustments I also use cream cheese.

Make German Quark from Buttermilk

  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • Bring the buttermilk to room temperature (68-77°F 20-25°C) on the stove or in the microwave.
  • Do not over heat or your quark will have a gritty texture.
  • Incubate in your yogurt maker or other heat source (100°F/38°C) for about 8-9 hours.

This yogurt/quark maker has very good reviews and comes with a thermometer and a cloth to strain.
I am using a yogurt maker since many years and it works just fine. The yogurt is fantastic!
I must admit that I have not tried out to make quark with such a machine. Will let you know when I did.

See recipe above for quark.

Another Way to make Quark (a traditional German recipe)
1 liter milk makes 300-350g quark
2 liter Milk that needs to get sour – the fast way is to add 1 tbsp lemon juice to the milk and let it rest over night normally it takes at least 16 hours until the milk is sour.

Heat the sour milk (66-77 F) don’t over heat it. In this process the whey will be separated from the cheese.
Let it cool off and strain in a sieve for 12 hours.
You can use a linen or cotton cloth which is placed in the sieve.
For cakes or desserts squeeze the cheese through a sieve so it gets very smooth.

Tvarog (cottage cheese) recipe - Recipes

Buttermilk Cheese (Tvarog) (D, TNT)
Source: "MealLeaniYUMM!" by Norene Gilletz
Yield: Approximately 2 cups

2 litres (quarts) of buttermilk

Place 2 litres (quarts) of buttermilk in a large covered ovenproof casserole. (I use a Corning Ware casserole.) Place in a preheated 375ºF oven for 15 to 20 minutes. It will separate into curds and whey.

Pour warm liquid into a cheesecloth-lined colander. Tie ends of cheesecloth and let drain for several hours. (Hang it over the faucet of the sink put a bowl underneath to catch the whey, which can be used to replace sour milk or buttermilk in baking.) For a firmer cheese, squeeze out most of the liquid. Wrap well and refrigerate. It will keep about a week.

Poster's Notes:
This is so easy! My mother now makes this all the time, especially for blintzes, but it can be used in any recipe calling for cottage cheese or just spread on bagel instead of cream cheese. It's so creamy, very mild and is guilt-free! Enjoy!

It's an old Russian recipe which I got from Marina Tagger of Winnipeg when I did a cooking demonstration there for their Jewish Book Fair a few years ago.

Baking Obsession

All you need to make a delicious fresh cheese is a large pot, instant-read thermometer (or a candy thermometer) and the buttermilk. The best cheese is usually made from full-fat buttermilk but it can be substituted for low-fat variety. Don’t use no-fat buttermilk though.

The tvorog is used in numerous ways in Russian cuisine. That’s why I often double or triple the quantity of the buttermilk. This fresh cheese also makes a suitable substitute for Italian ricotta.

Makes about 1 lb of cheese



Pour the buttermilk in a large pot. Heat the buttermilk over medium heat until it reaches 160 F, stirring occasionally. Do not let the buttermilk boil or the curd cheese will be very tough. The whole process usually takes about 20-25 minutes depending on the heat you are giving. Check the temperature frequently after 15 minutes. Right after the buttermilk heated to the desired temperature take it from the heat, cover the pot with a lid and let it cool to room temperature.

Put a damp cheesecloth in a strainer and drain the curd cheese. The longer it sits in the strainer the drier it gets. So, don’t drain the cheese for too long (unless the recipe you need it for specifies so). Drain it until the weigh stops dripping, for about 1 hour. Put the cheese in an air tight container and refrigerate or eat it right away.

Czech Fruit Dumplings

Although the traditional recipe calls for filling these dumplings with whole plums, whatever fruit is in season will do.
By Sara Clevering

  • 2T butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup “pot cheese” (farmer’s cheese, quark, tvaroh, tvarog).
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups cake flour or a combination of cake and regular flour. (I used 240g cake and 30g regular flour).
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 – 1½ pounds fruit (prunes, apricots, cherries, apples or other firm fruit I used 16 plums)
  • melted butter, poppy seeds, additional quark, and powdered sugar for serving
  1. Cream butter, egg and cheese together. It’s OK if it’s a bit lumpy. Add the salt, flour, and milk to make a medium firm dough. Depending on the firmness of your cheese, you may have to add more milk. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil while you make the dumplings.
  3. Break off pieces and form into balls–you’ll want 16 or so. Let rest 15 minutes to allow the gluten to relax. On a floured surface, roll dough out into rounds and place a pierced fruit in the center. Dab the edges of the dough to create an adhesive edge, wrap around the fruit, and pinch together, sealing the edges well. Set aside on a floured surface, sealed side down, while you make the other dumplings.
  4. Gently slip into boiling water one at a time but as quickly as possible. Cook for 5-8 minutes turning once. Remove with a skimmer or slotted spoon.
  5. To serve, tear open a dumpling with two forks, and drizzle with melted butter, more cheese, poppy seeds, and powdered sugar

Sara sees cooking and baking as a delicious way to connect with the past and travel the world from her kitchen. She is commited to preparing homemade, unprocessed meals for her family and is always looking for tricks to fit this into a busy schedule. Sara is currently in the Boston area after several years living in London, Spain, and the Czech Republic, and travelling extensively in Eastern and Western Europe, always making sure to experience local culture through food. She also blogs with her sisters at

Grandma made these with plums and they were so good. Not that easy to make in this hurry up and do it time. Best tried on a weekend when you have more time on your hands. Can’t eat them anymore but sure wish that I could.

In a book that I read recently that was set in Prague there was a mention of ginger dumplings. Sounds like a good accompaniment for pork roast. However, I can not find a recipe for them. Can you help?

My mother was Czech. She made these dumplings with two 450g packages of farmer’s cottage cheese (also called pressed cottage cheese… you can buy these at the President’s Choice or Independent Grocer’s stores in Canada).

We use just the egg yolk. I don’t add salt. I mix and add in the flour by hand right at the very end to ensure the right consistency. The dough is stiff. I leave the prune plums whole and do not prick them because the juice can destroy the seal during cooking.

To make the dumpling, I lop off a chunk of dough and press it flat in my floured hand. Then I press the dried off prune plum into the dough and mold the rest of the dough around it. I seal the edges by pinch the dough along the seam. When sealed, I roll the dumpling in flour to shape it into a round ball .. in the end, there is no evidence of a sealed edge.

After dropping my dumpling into boiling water, I stir it with a wooden spoon to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the large pot. The dumplings are cooked when they have risen to the top. I probably boil them another minute or so and then remove them from the water.

We cut open the dumplings and drizzle with several spoons of browned plain breadcrumbs (browned in a cast iron pan over slow heat with unsalted butter), then icing sugar (either by the spoonful to individual taste or by straining through a tea strainer), and we top it off by drizzling melted unsalted butter.

I love to mush up all the toppings on my plate to blend all the flavors.

We eat this as a main dish .. probably 2-3 dumplings per person. It’s decadent … very rich … huge amount of calories… probably really bad for cholesterol.. but my whole family looks forward to this meal all year. Prune plums are available in the fall… so it’s a once per year treat.

You can reheat the dumplings in a double boiler over water. I put the dumplings in a metal strainer inside the top pot and water in the bottom pot. Basically you can steam them. But don’t overheat and they will fall apart. You can also freeze them.

Roger … try looking for “knedliky”. Recipe is not sweet. It is not bread. It is a big dumpling. The dough is heavy and shaped like loaves of bread which are boiled. My mother put browned bread cubes into them. You need strength because you need to “lift” the dough for about 20 minutes to turn it from lumpy to smooth while making the loaves. To cut the dough you used white thread … put the thread under the cooked loaf and then bring it to the top and crossed the two ends of the thread and pull to create slices…

We eat these knedliky with sweet and sour white cabbage and roast pork with cranberries … a very traditional Czech dish.

With the leftovers on another day … You can reheat the slices in a double boiler. Or …But my favorite is to take the cold slices and cube them … and then brown them in butter in a pan… when they are crispy, you scramble eggs into them… oh my God they are so awesome!

Twarog as a sweet ingredient in Polish cuisine

Another way of eating twarog is to make it sweet. This is absolutely not less important than spicy-vegetable twarozek! I tell you that with full responsibility - especially since I'm great sweets & desserts lover (see: list of Polish desserts & sweets) :) Hence, it is possible (and recommended:) to sweeten farmer's cheese to obtain a wonderful ingredient of one of some Polish desserts. The number of the combinations and applications is reasonable - let me describe three or four most notable.

The first thing, and probably most important one, is a sweetened white cheese as a basic element of Polish cheesecakes, called 'sernik' in Poland. I frankly recommend this dessert, if you would ever have an opportunity to try - do not hesitate. Usually vanilla sugar is used as an addition. Raisins are added too. Baking cheese in high temperature changes its structure and the taste more delicate (no tart aftertaste). Polish cheesecake is a real delicacy.

Cheesecakes in Polish grocery: chocolate, poppy and pure.
(photo by douglemoine)

Similar application is using twarog to make nalesniki (very popular in Poland) and sweet pierogi. Pierogi with sweet curd cheese are probably quite well known for most of you (of course there are also these spicy ones, with curd cheese, onion and potato filling, called ruthenian pierogi in Poland). Sweet cheese crepes are made analogously. Usually refried after filling with white cheese and poured with something tasty (e.g. fruit or chocolate sauce, or some sweet cream).

Nalesniki with sweet white cheese.

One other, completely simple way to make a dessert out from twarog is to simply sweeten it and use to make sandwiches. Put some favorite jam or powidl on it to make this simple food even more delicious:

Sweetened twarog sandwiches with jam

I won't be original now but have to add, that the same sweetened farmer's cheese can be served with pasta instead of bread. Poles call this dish 'kluski z serem'. On the picture below I have additionally used some brown sugar to sprinkle this food:

Pasta with twarog mixed with cream and sugar,
sprinkled with brown sugar and decorated with a morello cherry jam.

What interesting can I write about eggs in Polish food recipes? Well, not much because in is respect the Polish cuisine does not differ from cuisines of other, European countries. Indeed Polish table won't shock you with something so unusual as Chinese Century egg. Hard and soft-boiled eggs, scrambled eggs and fried eggs are eaten. More unique is simple dessert made of raw yolk and sugar. It's called kogiel-mogiel or kogel-mogel. The dessert is known in Poland since 17th century (origins are probably Jewish). It became popular in the interwar period and in communist years when sweets weren't readily available. In Germany it is called Zuckerei, while in Russia - gogol-mogol. Apart from that eggs are of course one of basic elements of cakes. They are also an ingredient of coatings, creams, pancakes etc.

Polish kogel-mogel aka kogiel-mogiel. Photo from Wikipedia.

In Poland most oftentimes chicken, as well as duck's, goose's and quail eggs are eaten (lately a popularity of ostrich eggs grows).

Just like in many other countries a tradition of Easter eggs exists in Poland - these are known as 'pisanki'. As Wikipedia says:

Polish "pisanki" (1, 2) and "swieconka" (3, 4),
which are one of the most important traditions during Easter.