As a Polish woman living abroad, I sometimes find myself craving Polish products. One of my very favourite products is Polish curd cheese, or twaróg (pronounced in Polish, “tvaroog”). Obviously, I could buy it in the Polish store near my house, and sometimes I do. But I’ve always wanted to try making it myself, and inspired by Anne, I finally did.
It is super easy. It, however, requires one step that sometimes raises eyebrows: you have to let milk go sour. Yes, on purpose. It’s either that, or you have to use rennet. It is also extremely delicious. It works perfectly well with pretty much anything, can be added to salads, can be served with fruit or honey. It is also great on bread. In Poland, it is used for pierogi or pancakes (both savoury and sweet) fillings, and as bread spread- mix the curd with sour cream to create a spreadable mix, add thinly sliced radish and cucumber, salt and pepper.
The twaróg can be best made with fresh, unpasteurized milk. However, as this can be a problem, there is a way to make it with fresh, pasteurized milk. Alternatively, you can use kefir or buttermilk to make this cheese, but they’re expensive and I also enjoyed making the soured milk.
- Milk (for each 100g of cheese take 1 litre of milk)
- OR Kefir/buttermilk
Pour the milk and buttermilk into a big jar and wrap with a cloth and let it stand for a day or two, depending on how sour do you like the cheese. If you’re aiming for sweeter twaróg, use it the same day in the evening. If you want a more sour cheese, wait a day or two.
When you open the bottle, it should have a pleasant, fresh sour smell. If it doesn’t, toss it and start afresh. If using kefir or buttermilk, you can skip this step. Pour the sour milk or kefir in a pan and very slowly, begin to heat it up. Don’t let it boil since that would result in a rubbery, dry cheese. You will see little flocks of cheese forming in the milk. Remove from the heat as soon as the cheese begins to form into white clots and separate from the whey.
Then, put it into a cloth (cloth diapers are best as you can see in the picture), and bind the ends together. Let it hang over a bowl until the whole liquid is gone. Or, do what I do, and just squeeze the liquid out (although it is better to leave it hanging overnight).
I really enjoyed it on a slice of fresh homemade dark beer bread and honey. Mhm….
Olga Mecking is Polish woman living in the Netherlands with her German husband and 2 trilingual children. She blogs at The European Mama about life, being an expat, food, and parenting.