Irish Farmer Cheese

28 Jun 2011

That is my mother in law’s butter knife….isn’t it darling? She is originally from Cork and has various sets of  beautiful and very old Cork cutlery at the farm.

So, this week I learned how to make cheese! I have been wanted to attempt this for quite some time and it just so happened that right before my butter demo at Totally Tipperary, a lovely woman was teaching the crowd how to make easy ricotta and paneer cheeses. I cannot believe how simple the process is and how delicious the cheese tastes…so fresh and delicate.

With a dairy full of milk at our fingertips at all times, there is no reason why I shouldn’t make this “farmer cheese” on a regular basis to have on hand in the fridge. I paired the cheese with some salty capers and a few moon-blushed cherry tomatoes tossed in olive oil, garlic & thyme and it was the perfect lunch!

All you’ll need is milk, lemons, sea salt and a large square of cheesecloth or muslin

Place the milk and salt into a saucepan over medium heat until it starts to froth.

Then, spoon in your lemon juice a little at a time until the milk begins to curdle like this

Pour into a cheesecloth-lined sieve

Squeeze out all of the excess whey, tie the cloth around a wooden spoon, and leave to hang for a further 15-20 mins

After the cheese is fully strained, you can either eat it straight away

or you can flatten & shape it by placing a heavy pan on top for an hour.

Then, just break it apart and enjoy!

Irish Farmhouse Cheese

Makes 8-10 Ounces

1/2 Gallon/ 2 litres Full Fat Milk

Juice of 3 lemons (1/2 cup) or you can use 1tbsp White wine vinegar

A few pinches of sea salt finely ground

Heat milk and salt over medium heat until frothy

Add in lemon or vinegar a little at a time until milk is completely curdled (if the milk is not curdling, you’ll need more of your acid-lemon or vinegar..add in a little at a time until curdled)

Pour into cloth-lined sieve to strain

Squeeze excess whey through cloth

Tie up and let hang for further 15-20 minutes

Flatten and shape or just dig in!

Slan Abhaile,


Photos and Styling by Imen McDonnell

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30 Responses to “Irish Farmer Cheese”

  1. […] am teaming up with Cliodhna Prendergast of Breaking Eggs  and Ballyvolane House to present a very special Lens & Larder Spring 2015, a unique opportunity to learn the art of […]

  2. […] I couldn’t resist making some fresh cheese. (see my fresh farmer cheese method here, just swap raw goats milk for cow’s milk and use a tbsp of lemon juice instead of vinegar for […]

  3. Helen says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I couldn’t believe how easy it was and how quickly it worked. And it’s delicious. I’m excited to try it again with different amounts of salt, seasonings, and trying white vinegar instead of lemon juice. Thank you Imen!

  4. […] I have performed my fair share of indulgent dairy experiments. I’ve churned butter. Strained farmer cheese. Clouted clotted cream. Creamed curd cheese. Condensed milk and evaporated milk. Dairy-ed fudge. […]

  5. […] of all, make the mascarpone using this recipe for farmer cheese substituting cream for whole milk. After that, make your chocolate filling. Lick the spoon. Lick it […]

  6. […] prepared the homemade cheese with the morning milk from our dairy. The baked filling tastes like a wonderful childhood memory […]

  7. Can’t wait to try this. It looks wonderful and much easier than Mozzarella. Thanks so much for the recipe. Oh! I tried to sign up on the link for Rss at the bottom of the post, but got only code jibberish. Hope it can be fixed.

  8. louise roden says:

    HI Imen

    Really enjoy your blog….your display and photographs really set off your writing….

    Thank you,


  9. […] have this fantasy of making my own cheese one day (soon). Here are some easy to follow instructions in case I find the courage (and time) to make cheese one day […]

  10. Aoife Mc says:

    This is amazing! And your photos are as gorgeous as ever.

    Congratulations on making your own cheese, thanks for posting the recipe. I might see if I can make some City Centre Apartment Cheese myself 🙂

  11. nessa robins says:

    I actually missed that demo at Totally Tipp but your photos have given me the encouragement to give it a go! I love all types of cheese so it would be very satisfying to be tucking into my own homemade version! I will let you know how it turns out. Thanks, Nessa.

  12. Stasty says:

    Wow, this looks so great. I have always wanted to make my own cheese but was too scared as I thought it would be a massive process. Thanks for sharing this, and making it look so approachable. I am definitely going to give it a bash (squeeze!) now 🙂

  13. Lisa O'Dwyer says:

    I never knew it was this easy! I’m going to do this with my nearly 5 year-old son today 🙂 Thanks!

  14. Wow, delicious, and such gorgeous photos! I’m a writer who lives half in Corca Dhuibhne, at the end of the Dingle Peninsula (where bread and cheese are still made at home), and half in Bermondsey, in inner-city London (where, mostly, they aren’t!) Dynamic differences. But fascinating similarities too. Do you know a wonderful book called Good Things In England, by Florence White? It was compiled in the 1920s to ‘capture the charm of England’s regional cookery before it is completely crushed out of existence’. It also captures the charm of life for newly-emerging 1920’s career women, working nine to six in offices, and living in city flats. “In small flats and houses where there is no larder or dairy accomodation any household milk that may be left over and turns sour can be at once put in a perfectly clean aluminium saucepan, stood on an asbestos mat over a low gas ring (or on the hob of a coal fire ), or anywhere where it is subjected to a very moderate heat. It must on no accound boil or even simmer. Gradually the whey will separate from the curds; when this happens a coarse linen cloth or fourfold cheese muslin must be put into and over a colander … ‘ The curds must then be ‘ hung up to drain for two or three days, until they cease to drip. Then take out, season with a little salt, and put in another clean cloth, tying it in the centre close to the cheese, so as, in pressing, the cheese will be round and flat. Then put it between two boards with a weight on top for 24 hours, when it will be fit for use.’ Apparently after a day’s work at their typewriters, the same woment would ‘ … make soap to wash out their own stockings, and contrive pleasant rinses to keep their hair shining, from the gleanings of their weekend country walks.’ No pressure, then!

  15. This looks so wonderful and I am sure is not as easy as you make it sound?How clever to make your own cheese, I have always been fascinated by it but never been brave enough. This one looks exactly as I love cheese – salty and not too heavy. Would you mind if I put a link to it on my blog, I recipe test chutneys and pickles and mustards for a company and I am always looking for ideas to go with the things that I make. Your photos are beautiful by the way.

  16. Krista says:

    What a scrumptious way to serve the cheese!! 🙂 Just looking at your plate makes me happy. I will be moving to Australia this fall (after a few months in Europe) and I’m so excited because one of my dear Aussie friends is going to teach me to make cheese. 🙂

    • imen says:

      How lovely Krista…I would love to learn more…use the rennet etc. Let us know how you get on. Looking forward to hearing about your travels in Europe as well! xx

  17. Alissa says:

    Never knew that cheese could be this easy! I used to live on a dairy farm, but we never made cheese. I think this might make it’s way into my schedule this evening! Thanks for sharing your adventures with us!!

  18. Lorilee says:

    Oops. I forgot to say that I made your Strawberry Shortcakes. They were wonderful!

  19. Lorilee says:

    Sounds delicious. I just finished a batch of Texas Wild Mustang grape jelly. I really should go pick more grapes. Right now is is 98 degrees F. (38 C) Way too hot! Does the milk have to be farm fresh or will pasteurized/store-bought work just as well? Sadly, I don’t have dairy cows. My Dad has cattle for beef though. I also have chickens in my backyard.
    Blessings from South Texas,

  20. shayma says:

    darling and delicious photos. love the last one w the tommies. x shayma

  21. Marilyn says:

    Please send me some fresh Irish cheese……OMG I am going to have to come for a visit soon all this yummy stuff you are learning to make!

  22. Móna Wise says:

    Hot diggity! Wow. It seems so easy and looks so yummy.
    We made a mozzarella last year and it was very very tasty ….
    Gorgeous photos as always Imen. Have fun on your holidays…
    Hope to see you when you get back.

  23. Kristin says:

    Wow, this looks like it couldn’t be easier! Can’t wait to give this a try sooner rather than later, thanks for sharing.

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