Farmer’s cheese is a type of fresh, white cheese that is unripened and has not been aged. It is known for its crumbly texture and being very versatile. It can go well in both savory and sweet recipes alike.
The specific taste of farmer’s cheese does vary depending on where it comes from, and it can be made with goat, sheep, or cow milk. It is made by coagulating milk and slicing the curds, then letting the whey drain out. The curds made in this process are what we know as cottage cheese.
Many substitutes exist that work well in replacement of farmer’s cheese. Some of these include goat cheese, Havarti cheese, paneer cheese, ricotta cheese, feta cheese, Quark cheese, Manouri cheese, Faisselle cheese, and cottage cheese.
1. Goat Cheese
Goat cheese makes for a great farmer’s cheese replacement because, like farmer’s cheese, it is very versatile and can be bought in various forms of texture. Each variety of goat cheese is similar in one way- that it is made from goat milk.
The lactose content of goat cheese is very low and the varieties mainly are differentiated by their levels of aging. After just a few days of being produced, when the cheese is fresh and has not aged, its taste is more mild.
But the older that goat cheese is, the more intense its flavor becomes. With age, goat cheese also becomes more firm in texture. The taste of goat cheese is often more sharp than that of farmer’s cheese, but it can be a good substitute because of its crumbly texture and versatility.
2. Havarti Cheese
Havarti cheese is made from pasteurized cow’s milk and its native country is Denmark. Its texture is somewhat hard and springy, and it is pale yellow in color. Neither of these elements are too similar to farmer’s cheese, but the elements of Havarti cheese are well-balanced and mild.
Over time, Havarti cheese has become very popular. It melts wonderfully and is best known for its performance in sandwiches. It also makes for a nice addition to salads.
3. Paneer Cheese
Paneer cheese is made by curdling milk from either cows or buffalo with an acid like lemon juice or vinegar. It is mainly popular in South Asian foods, and can be eaten in many ways. This includes plain on its own, fresh, or cooked in basically any way.
It is best known for its taste in foods with curry or when it is fried in a pan. Paneer cheese is also a good source of protein. It makes for a good replacement for farmer’s cheese because its texture is soft and moist.
The main difference between paneer cheese and farmer’s cheese is that farmer’s cheese typically is salted, whereas paneer cheese is not.
4. Ricotta Cheese
Ricotta cheese is an extremely popular cheese, with Italian heritage. Like farmer’s cheese, it is made with various types of milk including cow, sheep, goat, and water buffalo milk. It is off-white in color, creamy in texture, and subtly sweet in taste.
Normally, ricotta is eaten fresh, the form where it is the softest. It can also be eaten aged, it just becomes less soft as it ages. But aged cheese can be preserved for longer periods of time than cheese that has not been aged.
5. Feta Cheese
Feta cheese is most commonly made from sheep’s milk or a combination of goat and sheep’s milk. Usually, feta cheese will be aged for up to six weeks before it is sold and it can last for many months when it is stored properly.
Feta is a brined cheese that is used in baked goods, salads, and sometimes to garnish meat and vegetables. Its flavor is salty and sharp, and it makes for a good farmer’s cheese substitute because of both its taste and texture.
6. Quark Cheese
Quark cheese is most similar to paneer cheese. It is made by heating soured milk until enough curds are formed, then straining the milk. Usually it does not have rennet in it, but lately some small amounts of rennet have been added.
It is particularly popular in European countries and is used for all sorts of dishes like appetizers, main courses, and sometimes desserts as well. Its color is white and it has a soft texture, and it can replace farmer’s cheese in most recipes.
7. Manouri Cheese
Manouri is a type of cheese that is fresh and semi-soft. It is bright white in color and made from either goat or sheep’s milk that has been drained after the production of another type of cheese, like feta.
So, Manouri cheese is pretty similar to feta cheese, but it tastes much less salty and Manouri is creamier in texture. This type of cheese works best in recipes that need a hint of sweetness and richness. It can be eaten on its own, or with dried fruits and honey.
Manouri can also be used as a topping for salads or an addition to appetizers. It makes for a nice farmer’s cheese substitutes in most recipes as well.
8. Faisselle Cheese
Faisselle cheese is produced all around France, and it is native to central France. It is unsalted, fresh, and white in color. This cheese was named after the plastic mold that curds are drained from, a faisselle.
It is made from either goat’s milk or cow’s milk. It has no rind, a very bright hue, and a very soft texture. All of these traits make faisselle cheese an adequate replacement for farmer’s cheese. It adds a nice touch to both savory and sweet recipes.
9. Cottage Cheese
Both creamed and dry cottage cheese are easy replacements for farmer’s cheese, depending on the recipe. Creamed cottage cheese is usually eaten fresh and contains some acidic ingredient to separate the whey from milk, usually vinegar. Creamed cottage cheese works best as a farmer’s cheese replacement for fresh meals and desserts.
Dry cottage cheese is made from the same process that creamed cottage cheese is, but it does not have any added cream. This works best as a dry farmer’s cheese substitute. Its taste is similar to the mild taste of farmer’s cheese, and the only difference is noticed in its texture.
If you don’t have any farmer’s cheese on hand and your recipe calls for it, there are plenty of substitutes that work. Whichever one you choose should depend on your personal preference.
For example, if you like farmer’s cheese because of its mild taste, go for faisselle or cottage cheese. If you prefer cheese with a sharper flavor, opt for feta. Whatever your taste is, this list is sure to have an adequate substitute for farmer’s cheese that is to your liking.