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5.3.10

HUNGARIAN CURD CHEESE – TÚRÓ




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.



   

32 comments:

  1. This receipe is GREAT! Thanks! I made it the other day for the first time. I think it turned out OK but it made alot. I've made a few dished from it but I still have quite a bit left. Could it be frozen?

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  2. yes Marika, it freezes really well.

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  3. I'm so excited to find this! I spent some time in Hungary a few years ago and every time I try to explain Turo to my friends they look at me like I'm crazy. Especially when I tell them that "Cottage Cheese" Ice Cream is fabulous. Now I can whip up some Turos Palacinta for them.

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  4. Jessica, I am writing a cookbook for my grandchildren, but I also find it rewarding when someone writes that they found something useful on my blog. Thank you for letting me know.

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  5. I finally got the courage to try this. It was great! Just the thing for my palacsinta filling. Of course now I'll have to keep making it, as
    my wife won't accept the store bought cottage cheese for this purpose any more.
    Gratefully
    Laszlo

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  6. because now she knows the difference :)

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  7. Your recipe works flawlessly, but I'm a tinkerer. So I have been wondering if goat's milk could be used with similar results?

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  8. of course! you will make goat cheese of a sort. but you still need that live culture for the process to work.

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  9. After many successful attempts
    I have hit a dud. Since I used identical ingredients and method, I can only suspect a quality variation in the milk. I wonder if adding a bit of cream to the recipe would have helped. (I am on day 3, and still no yoghurt.)

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  10. Day 3 is no problem. See if day 4 or 5 produces anything. Since I made my first turo I discovered that not all stores sell the full fat buttermilk, some sell only 1%, and that not all buttermilk contains active culture. Most things are pasteurized, [no active culture present] but it's the active culture in the buttermilk that you need for this recipe to work. It should say on the carton "active culture". If you used whole milk and whole [3.25%] buttermilk with active culture it HAS to work. I am hoping you may have used 1% buttermilk. That would take longer on the counter and in the oven and the turo will be skinnier. If after 4 days and still nothing, I would try to add a yoghurt starter [from a health food store]. I am sorry for your troubles Laszlo. I will review the recipe if I left this information off. Adding cream would make a richer turo, but it would not influence the separation of whey and curd. Turo success relies on the active culture.

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  11. I used 3.25% milk and 2% buttermilk as in all previous occasions. It finally came to fruition at the end of day 3.
    I can only put it down to variations in milk quality, as the taste is slightly different as well, but still good. Also the room temperature was lower than on previous occasione, and that may have had an effect. Thanks for the tip about adding youghurt, I'll keep that in mind in case of difficulties in the future.

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  12. I am so glad it worked out for you. Just make sure you leave it long enough in the oven. [I have had to put it back before.] All those reasons you mentioned are valid, even about the quality. [3.25% buttermilk is richer than the 2%] I don't know where in BC or Alberta you live, but I buy my whole buttermilk with the active culture at Coopers.

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  13. I am thrilled to have found your blog Zsuzsa!! I am making turos palacsinta with creme cheese since years but it doesn't even compare to our true Hungarian Magyar turo filling. Finally I'll be able to make my own turo, I can't even believe it. You just made my day, my week!! :o) I've checked out also your other recipes, yummie!! I'll be a regular visitor to your site. Thanks bunches and please don't stop!

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  14. Thank you Erika for the kind words.

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  15. Thanx. Can't wait to try this!! Would it also be possible to do it stove top instead of in the oven?? As I don't have an oven at my home..

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  16. I am not sure. If you do try it, make sure the stove is at the lowest possible setting and keep a close watch. I just discovered there is a whole cheese making section on Punk Domestics. Check it out, you may find an alternative there. Good luck. http://www.punkdomestics.com/topics/cheesemaking

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  17. i'm really glad to find your recipe. i'm so excited! but i remember my grandma, just simple boiled it on the top of the stove.

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  18. Thank you Katyerina. Do you remember some of the details cooking it on the stove? It could be helpful, one of the previous posters asked about that.

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  19. Hello Zsuzsa,

    My Hungarian boyfriend will be visiting me, a Dutch girl, in Barcelona this weekend. I would like to let you know that your recipes are internationally appreciated. Without your turo recipe I would have never been able to surprise him with his favourite túrógombóc! Thank you bunches!

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  20. You are welcome Sofia. You made my day!

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  21. I have a much faster method for fresh soft cheese (turo?).
    Usually I make it from 3 liters (about 3 quarts) of commercial 3% pasteurized milk.
    Heat it just below the boiling point and add one of the following:
    a. Two tbl spoons of fresh lemon juice
    b. Two tbl spoons of apple vinegar
    c. One tsp of citric acid diluted in some water.
    The milk will clubber immediately. Let it simmer a minute or two and strain it through a cheese cloth or a metal sieve. You can also let it cool it down before the straining.
    The resulting cheese is NOT sour and has very slightly different taste.

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  22. I love the tangy flavour, Hungarian turo is tangy. But I will try your recipe to see what it tastes like and to see what it can be used for. The texture and the ability to combine it with other ingredients could be different. It may take awhile before I make it, but I will let you know my findings when I do. Thank you for taking the time to comment. :-)

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  23. Hi Zsuzsa,
    I am making this for the third time from your recipe. Thank you so much! It is impossible to buy túró in Australia! One store in Sydney has "farm style cottage cheese" which my aunts and Grandmother buy.. But still it is not true túró.

    I live in North Queensland where it is very tropical. It is winter now and this batch has turned to "yoghurt" in under 24 hrs where normally it was kinda 36 hrs I'd say. Should I leave it a little longer still? The last 2 batches separated into curds and whey just on the bench top really nicely so I didn't put it in the oven. Maybe now that it is winter maybe I'll need to do the oven part of it this time. Experiment I guess :)

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  24. Michelle it's always a little different for me too. I can't figure out why we don't have turo everywhere. It's so much better than cottage cheese.

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  25. It turned out very well, I think, but I've never tasted the real thing. I have a friend in Hungary who's been looking at photos of mine and advising me. Thanks so much for the recipe. I think I would compare it to quark I had in Germany but still not the same thing. Farmer cheese I find is much dryer and less creamy than turo. I think I'll be making this often!

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    Replies
    1. Depending on the dryness [lower fat content] of turo, my grandmother sometimes added full fat sour cream she called it improvement.

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  26. So I'm attempting to make Rudis for a Hungarian friend! I am starting with the cheese! When I set out the buttermilk out with the milk I don't think I got yogurt, but instead it already looked more like curd; it was a solid mass in the middle floating in whey. Is this the step to put it in the oven? It is this already set? I would love it if you could update this post with step by step pictures!! For us newbies. I've been making cheese for years but this style is new to me!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, you put it in the oven when it becomes a solid mass. At this point it is still very fragile. If you are not sure, there is no harm keeping it on the counter a bit longer, because if you put it in the oven too early it will not work. OK I will add some photos sometimes in the new year.

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  27. I just completed my first batch and found it very successful! There aren't a lot of recipes for this farmers cheese so I'm so glad to find yours! The few questions I had were as follows:
    *It seemed to fully separate without the oven; there were curds (loose) and it was surrounded by a pool of whey. Is the oven still necessary if this happens on the counter?
    *My curds seem less creamy and more choppy, more like cottage cheese. Did I strain it too much? I reserved the whey so I can still add some back.
    * Have you every tried making Rudi bars? That is my final experiment! I'm trying to recreate them for my Hungarian born friend :) any tips would be helpful!!
    *would you consider adding more pictures to this post, so we can see what the yogurt phase and the final stages are? I think it would be SO helpful!
    Thanks so much!

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    Replies
    1. * yes
      * no, you put it in the oven too early
      * no, I left Hungary before the Rudi bars and I have no reference to the taste or the consistency
      * yes, but I tend to take my time :-)

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  28. Anonymous10.6.16

    I find that using pressed cottage cheese or so-called dry cottage cheese works very well for turos gomboc. I buy the "western" brand of pressed cottage cheese.

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    Replies
    1. It does work and I have the recipe for it on this blog. However made from real turo is infinitely better.

      Delete

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