Crock-pot Cottage Cheese
1 gallon milk (I used whole but you can use any kind, even powered milk but don't use milk that has been ultra-pasteurized.)
1 small carton (1/2 pint or 1 c.) fresh buttermilk (not ultra-pasteurized and not one that has been sitting in your fridge for days or weeks)
1 small carton (1/2 pint or 1 c.) of creme, (not ultra-pasteurized is the best)
Pour milk into large crock-pot. Add buttermilk and stir for one minute to mix well. Turn crock-pot to warm and heat milk to 72 degrees, stirring occasionally from the bottom. Use an instant read thermometer. (Sam's Club has great cheap ones in the restaurant section.) Turn off crock-pot.
Cover and let sit undisturbed for 24 hours. Except couple of hours check the temperature, if convenient. If below 72 degrees turn on crock-pot to warm and heat milk to 72 degrees. Do not stir during this step. And don't get up in the middle of the night to do it. :)
Cut the clabber (the curdled milk) into 1/4 inch cubes in 4 directions: top to bottom, side to side, and on both diagonals.
Turn the crock-pot on high and cook until the curds become separated from the whey, stirring occasionally. This will take about 8-12 hours. The curds will be small rubbery bits floating in a sea of water (whey). Watch this as to not overcook the curds. But it is still good if you do. :)
Line a strainer/colander with cheesecloth. Dampen the cheesecloth so it will stay in place. Pour the curds and whey into the colander to drain. Rinse the curds with cold water to remove all of the whey. Rinse until the curds are completely cool.
Alternative method: Turn crock-pot on low. Leave on until the curds have just separated from the whey. Line a strainer/colander with cheesecloth. Let it overhang. Pour the curds and whey into the colander to drain. Do not rinse. Stir gently to drain the whey. Bring up the side of the cheesecloth to wrap the curds, making a bag or pouch. Place a bowl under the strainer and refrigerate allowing the whey to drain for about an hour, stirring a couple of times.
Place curds into bowl. Salt to taste. Add 1/2 pint ( one cup) of cream or buttermilk (or any kind of milk) and mix. Add more if desired.
This will keep 7-10 days and as always, cottage cheese will keep longer if it is stored upside down.