It's curious that cultured buttermilk used to be a home staple but somehow has fallen out of favor. I took a gut health test a while back and it recommended buttermilk for more bacterial diversity so I added it to my variety of fermented dairy and other foods. The usual things are great; pancakes, biscuits, waffles, even smoothies and of course, cheese!
While you can use cultured buttermilk as a mesophilic starter in cheesemaking, you can also just make cheese out of store-bought or homemade cultured buttermilk itself. Important note, I am talking about thick cultured milk called buttermilk, not the clear buttermilk you get when you make butter. You can find great uses for that original buttermilk in my whey book though, Cooking with Whey!
I use cultured buttermilk lots in my book Instant Pot Cheese and as I researched recipes I ran across this simple recipe for a cheese called Tvarog. The process calls for baking buttermilk for a unique creamy, thick, low fat and high protein cheese. The baking process was intriguingly different so I had to try it! So easy and delicious.
Buttermilk Cheese Recipe (Tvarog)
Source: “MealLeaniYUMM!” by Norene Gilletz
- 2 liters (quarts) of cultured buttermilk (thick cultured milk, not the clear buttermilk from making butter)
- Oven proof casserole dish
- Fine mesh cheesecloth (included in our cheese kits)
- Large Bowl
- Approx 6 cups of cheese
Place 2 liters (quarts) of buttermilk in a large covered ovenproof casserole dish (I use a Corning Ware casserole.)
Place in a preheated 375ºF oven for 15 to 20 minutes. It will separate into curds and whey.
Pour warm liquid into a cheesecloth-lined colander.
Tie ends of cheesecloth and let drain for several hours. (Hang it over the faucet of the sink placing a bowl underneath to catch the whey. This can be used to replace sour milk or buttermilk in baking.)
NOTE: For a firmer cheese, squeeze out most of the liquid. Wrap well and refrigerate. It will keep about a week.
The cheese is super creamy and tangy, kind of like a mix between cream cheese and sour cream but ever so slightly crumbly. It's great as a filling, both sweet and savory. I have also made cheesecake out of it. The yield is great!
- Cover and store in the refrigerator
- Use within 1 week