Once my baby started approaching the 1 year mark, I decided to expand his menu by gradually introducing dairy products like cow's milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese. Since I don't have a farm in my backyard, nor the luxury of getting freshly squeezed milk, I make sure to get good quality, organic milk from the store. But when it comes to things that I can actually make myself (assuming it doesn't take too long), I say why not.
At around 10 months, I started making Zelli homemade cottage cheese using my grandmother's recipe. He's been gobbling it down ever since, and while he loves eating it, I love knowing that my baby is getting something uber fresh, with no preservatives. I also love how easy it is to make.
Now this cottage cheese is not the curd kind. It's smooth like ricotta, but thicker in texture and tangier in flavor.
Homemade Cottage Cheese
(yield: 2 cups)
2 quarts buttermilk
2 ft. square of cheesecloth
Place the cartons of buttermilk into a deep pot, and fill with water to reach 3/4 of the way up the sides. Make sure to open the cartons of buttermilk before placing over heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to very low, and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove pot from heat, and allow the buttermilk to cool (still remaining in the water). The water does not have to be completely cool, but it will still take a few hours to cool down.
Fold the cheesecloth in half to form a double layer. Line a medium bowl with the cheesecloth, and pour the buttermilk inside. The buttermilk should be separated. Once all the clear watery liquid is drained, you should be left with a thicker, yogurt-like mass. Grab the 4 ends of the cheesecloth, and tie them around your kitchen faucet, so that the sack hangs and the excess liquid can drip away. Make sure to tie the cheesecloth securely, as it will be hanging in this position for several hours. Place a bowl directly underneath just in case. Leave overnight, and in the morning you will have fresh cottage cheese for your baby.
I like to mix in fresh berries and yogurt, or even an egg yolk on occasion for added nutrients.
Oh, and who said mama can't have some for herself?