Farmers’ cheese is my all-time favourite snack/side dish. I love to put it on rye bread, dip my French fries in it, or have it on a side of baked potato skins. Like bacon, it goes well with everything. And having grown up in Poland with it, its taste evokes cheerful memories of my childhood. Nevertheless, even for those who do not trace a history with this food, it will be sure to tantalise tastebuds and bring gastronomic pleasure to the consumer.
The farmers’ cheese that I ate as a child in rural Poland was made with the love of my grandmother, using white curd cheese derived from soured milk. Unfortunately, not everyone has a Polish grandmother, and neither is it the case that everyone has access to wholesome farm ingredients like I did. But the ingredients are generally available in most places, even if it may be difficult to hunt down high-quality products worthy of my grandmother’s passionate hands. (See Ingredients section below.)
The base for the farmers’ chesse is twaróg — a white curd cheese product — and it should be in a wedge shape (a sign of it being made in the traditional way with cotton gauze). The traditional way of making twaróg is to hang the cloth corners of the cotton gauze as warm soured milk is poured into it. Over period of a day whey drips through the cloth and the remaining curds are left to dry under the pressure of wooden boards, then to be finally chilled and served as white cheese. (Please look up quark cheese to find more information.) It is best served fresh, and is a wonderful snack on buttered bread with honey. Another popular recipe is to make cheesecakes with it, or when mixed with potatoes to be served as Russian pielmieni or Ukrainian pierogies. When it is sweetened with sugar and added to egg yolk, raisins and marinated orange peel it is a perfect fill for a desert crêpe. However, my favourite recipe for farmers’ cheese is my mom’s recipe and which is shared below:
– White cheese, 1 wedge. (I prefer 10% fat, but there are different varieties available. (You will likely not be able to get real white cheese in markets, so keep an eye out for twaróg (Polish) or Творог (Russian) in the deli section of the supermarket. I was able to find it in Dubai, so I suspect that it should be generally available in most parts of the world.))
– Sour cream, 4-5% fat – 1/2 cup
– Scallions, half a bunch
– Red radishes, one small pack
– Salt and freshly ground pepper
Preparation (5 mins):
Give me home made smoked ham, buttered rye bread with my favourite farmers’ cheese plus a cup of black coffee and I am in food paradise! You can also use it as a side for any potato dish or on warm toast.