Two-Ingredient Rennet-Free Farmer’s Cheese

August 19, 2016 , In: Cooking, DIY , With: No Comments

If you’ve never tried farmer’s cheese, it’s essentially a very simple white cheese with a soft consistency, and not a ton of cheesy flavour, similar to a ricotta cheese. It’s a great substitute for ricotta or cream cheese, and can be made really simply.

Most cheese is made with rennet, which is an enzyme that makes milk curdle. This allows the milk to separate into curds (the thickened milk solids) and whey (the milk liquids). However rennet is not something that’s always easy to find, so farmer’s cheese does without it.


  • 2 L of whole milk (homogenized, or 3.25% milk). In Canada we call it homo milk… don’t judge
  • Juice of 1 lemon (or 1-2 tbsp lemon juice)
Gently bubbling milk

Gently bubbling milk

Step 1: Heat the Milk

Pour the milk into a deep pan, and heat gently on medium, stirring regularly. Milk is really, really easy to scald and burn, so watch this carefully, stirring the bottom to prevent burninating. You don’t want to bring the milk to a boil, just heat it until bubbles start appearing on the surface.

Step 2: Lemon Juice

Curds and Whey

Curds and Whey

When the milk is heated, remove it from the element and add the lemon juice, stirring gently. It can take 5-10 minutes for curds to form, so be patient, and give it a stir every minute or so. Wait until all the milk has curdled, and you have a semi-transparent whey.


Step 3: Strain

IMG_5954In a strainer lined with cheesecloth, pour off the whey. You can save they whey and use it as a tomato fertilizer. The milk solids should all stay together. Don’t mind the brown bits in the photo, the milk scalded a little, and I picked them out. If it happens to you, it’s fine, and won’t affect the flavour, just remove the discoloured bits.


IMG_5957Step 4: Squeeze

Gently gather up all the curds into a ball and squeeze them to get rid of any whey, and to press the curds into a firm-ish ball. You’ll want a few layers of cheesecloth so you don’t squeeze the curds out.


And that’s it! The cheese will taste basically like milk at this point, so you’ll want to add some salt, or you can add other seasonings, garlic, fruits, whatever you like. Because there’s very little flavour, you can add just about anything to it.

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