Fermented Milk Products from All Over the World • Twaróg (Poland)
Twaróg can be translated as “farmer’s cheese” and it is an assortment of Polish cheese that belongs to the fresh cheese group. Thus, it is not aged, as it is served immediately after preparation, having a pure white color, a juicy, lumpy, and soft consistency, and a flavor that is a mix between tart, salty, and slightly sweet. This type of cheese is highly popular in Poland and it is used in very many ways. It can be used as an appetizer, mixed with finely chopped veggies or greens, as an ingredient in desserts, as a topping for both sweet and savory dishes, with crepes, with jam on bread slices, and the list may continue. So, yes, it is a very versatile cheese that can test your imagination in the kitchen.
Twaróg is obtained through the process of milk acidification, which means that an acid ingredient is added to the milk in order to obtain milk curdling. During this process, milk has to be heated near to the boiling point, but do not boil it. Then, it is allowed to cool down at room temperature before using the acid ingredient. This ingredient can be vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice. So, in order to make twaróg at home, you will need 2 quarts of milk, whole milk preferably, 2 quarts of buttermilk, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice, and salt to taste, anything between a half or one and a half teaspoons of salt.
Start by heating the milk until it reaches 181 degrees Fahrenheit, and turn off the heat once it does. Add the vinegar to it and buttermilk and start stirring in the mixture until you see curds forming. Once this happens, allow the milk to sit for 10 minutes. Prepare a container that is large enough for the liquid and line the container on the inside with a piece of clean cheesecloth. Then with a slotted spoon, take all the curds out of the liquid and put them on the cheesecloth. Then wrap the curds in the cheesecloth and give them a gentle squeeze. Allow the curds to sit for 30 minutes and then squeeze them again. Once the liquid is drained, break the curds and add salt, making sure they are evenly seasoned. Leave the curds as they are or use a food processor to turn them into a fine paste, according to your needs. It is even better to let your twaróg to sit in the fridge overnight, but if you need to use it right away, then you can do so.