A couple of years ago I made farmer cheese from this recipe. It turned out great: creamy and delicious. Today I made the same recipe, and it turned out dry and crumbly instead. What would explain the inconsistency? The only thing I did differently is halve the recipe this time, but I can't see why that would alter the texture of the finished product.

  • Years ago ... there can be many different factors. Have you tried doing a full recipe to see if it works the same as before?
    – Max
    Apr 14 '18 at 23:14

Based on lots of experience making farmer's cheese (and backed up by the book One Hour Cheese), there are three factors which control the scale of creamy to dry & crumbly:

  • the degree of acidity at which you set the curd;
  • the length of time you cook it (keep it at 180F+)
  • the length of time you drain it

So my guess would be that you increased two out of three of the above, or all three, without intending to. For example, you might have added the whole amount of vinegar instead of halving it, or, because you were draining half as much, it could have dried faster. Note that all textures from gloopy to sawdust are "legitimate" farmer's cheeses, and in Russian delis you can buy cheeses with the whole range of textures, for different applications.

Also, your cheese is not unsalvageable. Depending on what you're using it for, you can add a little cream, sour cream, or full-fat yogurt to make it creamier. And for that matter, dry and crumbly is perfect for making blintzes.

  • Interesting. I did halve the vinegar, so that's not it, but I also drained it for the full time. I suspect the draining time is the culprit. And, as luck would have it, my spouse did put in a request for blintzes...
    – crmdgn
    Apr 15 '18 at 12:47

Most likely a critical mass is required. I would recommend the full recipe.

  • Nope; a half-gallon is a perfectly reasonably sized batch of cheese. Now, if he'd cut it to 1 quart or less, it would have been hard to control the ingredient ratios, but a half-gallon is still pretty easy to measure things.
    – FuzzyChef
    Apr 15 '18 at 4:25
  • Could you explain what ingredient contributes to the "critical mass" (presumably some sort of reaction?) and what that means?
    – Erica
    Apr 15 '18 at 11:44

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