Turó is an essential ingredient in Hungarian cooking. Turó is similar to fromage frais, but is not. Turó is often translated as cottage cheese, but it bears no relation to liquidy cottage cheese. Dictionaries sometimes translate it as curd cheese or quark or farmer’s cheese. But it’s none of the above. Turó is distinctly different from ricotta, because ricotta is made from scalded whey. (The stuff left behind when turó is made.) It also differs from cream cheese in its usually much lower fat content (about the same as yoghurt), and it is completely salt free. Turó is wonderful, fabulous and there exist no replacement for it. Turó is not readily available outside of Hungary. So unless you have a cow or know someone who has one, you can’t make turó right? Wrong! Making turó from pasteurized milk is possible. With the active bacteria in buttermilk, even pasteurized milk can be turned into turó. The actual work involved is minimal; the only effort is letting it sit on the counter for a couple of days and than transferring it to the oven for a few hours. After that you just let it drain. So the only effort is giving it time, because you cannot just open a package and start using it right of way. Oh, but its well worth the wait!
To make turó you will need:
4 liter 3.25% milk
1 liter 3.25% cultured buttermilk [buttermilk has to contain "active culture"]
Pour the milk and the buttermilk into a large stainless steel stockpot with ovenproof handles.
Cover and set it aside on the counter, near the stove or a warm place for 24-48 hours.
Let it sit until the mixture has the consistency of thick yogurt.
Take off the lid and move the stockpot with its contents into the oven and heat it at 200F (which is approximately 93.3 in Celsius) for 6 hours or longer. This will make the curd separate from the whey.
Test the consistency; it should be homogeneous curd throughout.
If in parts the curd still resembles yogurt, the turó is not yet ready. Put it back in the oven for a little while longer, never raising the temperature above 200F.
Meanwhile place a large sieve over a large bowl and line the sieve with cheese cloth.
When the curds and the whey are truly separated, pour the pot’s contents into the cheesecloth lined sieve. Most of the whey will run through the sieve.
Let the remaining whey drip down for 2-3 hours.
The 1.25 kg or 5 cups plus curd in the sieve will be real turó and it should last in the fridge for up to a week.
It was 11PM and my last batch was nowhere ready for separation. I turned off the oven and just left the pot with the half made curd sit in the oven overnight. The next morning I turned on the oven and by the afternoon we had turó.