More tender and fluffy than store-bought farmer’s cheese, this easy-to-make fresh version can be prepared up to three days ahead of time. Leftovers are delicious spread on toast with jam or mixed with herbs for a bright dip.
Gently heat whole milk in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium to about 170°F, 12 to 15 minutes, stirring often so bottom doesn’t scorch. Stir in buttermilk; cook, gently stirring, until mixture starts to become opaque and white curds start to come together, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off heat, and let stand on hot burner, undisturbed, 10 minutes.
Line a fine wire-mesh strainer with 3 layers of damp cheesecloth; set strainer over a medium bowl. Using a slotted spoon, skim warm curds into cheesecloth-lined strainer. Reserve 2 tablespoons whey from pan; discard remaining whey. Let curds stand 10 minutes to allow excess whey to drain off; discard excess whey. Bring corners of cheesecloth together, and twist together tightly to remove as much whey as possible; discard whey.
Tie loose ends of cheesecloth around the handle of a wooden spoon, creating a bundle. Suspend bundle over a bowl deep enough to allow at least 1 inch between bottom of cheesecloth bundle and base of bowl. Let drain 45 minutes; discard whey. (Alternatively, place bundle in a fine wire-mesh strainer set inside a medium bowl; let drain 45 minut
Transfer drained cheese curds to a non-metallic bowl, and break up until crumbled.
Cheese can be covered and stored in refrigerator up to 3 days.