Twaróg (also known as Polish-style Farmer’s Cheese) is a type of white fresh cheese. It’s a firmer and drier variety of Quark – although the flavour is quite unique and it’s hard to compare it to any other cheese.
This cheese is essential to Polish cuisine, it’s a key ingredient of many classic dishes. It tastes best when fresh, and that’s why it’s hard to buy it internationally. Luckily, Twaróg can be made at home!
For the full list of ingredients & detailed instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post. But before you scroll, there’s important stuff to know below.
Twaróg is creamy, yet it keeps its shape and can be sliced. Depending on how it was made, it can be milder (sweeter) or more tart.
Here’s what happens under the hood: milk gets acidified with live cultures of bacteria and goes through a natural process of lacto-fermentation. First, milk turns sour. When warmed up gently, cheese curds starts to form. Then we drain the excess whey, and we’re done.
Do you need any special ingredients or equipment to make this Farmer’s Cheese?
You’ll need one of the following:
- Raw Milk (unpasteurised, unsterilised),
- A combo of a regular, pasteurised whole milk AND fresh, cultured sour cream.
To learn more about these ingredients and where to get them, have a look at this Soured Milk post (everything is outlined there).
Equipment-wise, a kitchen thermometer would be really useful, especially when making Farmer’s Cheese for the first time.
What dishes can you make with this Twaróg Cheese?
Polish-style Farmer’s Cheese is often enjoyed on its own – sliced and served on a piece of rye bread. Most popular options are:
- Twaróg sprinkled with salt and fresh chives, garnished with slices of red radish, or…
- Twaróg sweetened with a generous dollop of honey. Some prefer fruit preserves instead.
As an ingredient, this Farmer’s Cheese goes into many classic Polish dishes, including (but not limited to):
- Breakfast bread spreads/pastes
- ‘Gzik’ – a creamy dip, mixed with cumin, spring onion and dill.
- Various fillings, e.g. for Sweet Cheese Pierogi, for Potato and Cheese Pierogi, or for ‘Naleśniki’ (Polish-style crêpes)
- An array of desserts: Cheese Yeast buns (‘Drożdżówki’), Cheese Babka, Cheesecakes, Easter Pascha
- Dough for dumplings (e.g. ‘Leniwe’ dumplings)
Can you make this Farmer’s Cheese another way?
Kind of, but not really.
In this recipe, milk goes through the process of culturing (lacto-fermentation). It takes time – but the end result is worth the effort. It’s not only about the flavour, but also about health. Your gut will thank you for all these friendly bacteria.
There are many quicker recipes, using lemon juice and/or vinegar to curdle the milk. In my view, these recipes shouldn’t be referred to as ‘Twaróg’ at all. That’s because the end result is very different. Cheese made this way will be closer in texture to Indian Paneer (recipe here) or Queso Blanco.
Don’t get me wrong, these cheeses are great too. But they’re more chewy and more firmly set, quite different from our good old Polish-style Farmer’s Cheese.
Note: there’s another good recipe using cultured buttermilk, I’m hoping to test it and write about it soon.
What diets is this Farmer’s Cheese suitable for?
Farmer’s Cheese is suitable for vegetarians and those who follow a gluten-free diet. It’s perfect for low-carb / keto diets as well.
How long can you keep this Farmer’s Cheese in the fridge?
Farmer’s Cheese loses freshness very rapidly, so it’s worth making (or buying) smaller pieces at a time.
Twaróg absorbs other smells easily. To prevent that from happening, store the cheese in a container, tightly covered with a lid. Refrigerate for a maximum of 4-5 days. It tastes best at its freshest, so hurry up!
Can I freeze this Farmer’s Cheese?
I wouldn’t recommend it. In my experience, freezing changes Twaróg’s texture dramatically. It turns dry and crumbly, sometimes even tough.
Freeze the end product instead – may it be Cheese Pierogi, Polish-style cheesecake and more. You’ll find more detailed freezing instructions with every recipe.
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