Twaróg, also known as ser biały, white cheese, is a pot cheese or farmer’s cheese. I made a batch this weekend because I wanted to make a Polish cheesecake. I didn’t expect to fall in love, but I have. After one day in the fridge, the curds that I blitzed to make them creamy and smooth for my pastry had a wonderful, tart, salty taste with just a hint of sweet. I can imagine using this cheese in so many ways, in recipes that I might have previously made with cream cheese, Brie, or ricotta.
I could serve it with a tart jam or pepper jelly on crackers. I can also imagine popping twaróg into the oven with brown sugar and pecans, serving the melted, caramely goo over little triangles of pumpernickel. It would also be delicious mixed with finely diced or grated veggies. If you run it through a food processor, it would also be fantastic on a toasted bagel.
In case you’re wondering, this is also the cheese that you would use for my favorite, pierogi ruskie, filled with cheese and potato.
The twaróg was surprisingly easy to make, but I found that I like the taste better after it had aged in the fridge overnight, so I’ll recommend not making it at the last minute even though you could.
You can toss the liquid left behind, but many people like to save the whey for smoothies, soups, or bread making; just use the whey for part of the liquid in your recipe.
The cheese I whipped up made a wonderful cheesecake, the best sernik I’ve ever tasted. There are two key differences between American and Polish cheesecake. Polish desserts are less sweet; other than that, it’s all in the cheese.
- 2 quarts whole milk
- 2 cups butter milk
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- ½ teaspoon to 1½ teaspoons salt (to taste, less for sweet, more for savory uses)
- Heat milk to 181 F, turn off heat
- Add buttermilk and vinegar
- Stir until curds form
- Let sit for 10 minutes
- Line a colander with cheese cloth
- Using a slotted spoon, ladle the curds into the cheesecloth
- Wrap the cheesecloth around the curds, squeezing gently
- Let sit for 30 minutes and squeeze again
- Break the cheese into curds and season with salt
- Use as curds or you can make the cheese creamy in a food processor or by pushing the curds through a sieve and mashing with the back of a wooden spoon