½ gallon of whole milk (Raw, or low heat pasteurization work best)

½ teaspoon coarse salt, plus more to finis
1 teaspoon of J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works nigari, plus more if needed


Heat milk in a heavy bottomed, straight sided sauce pan with the salt over medium-high heat.

Stir gently to dissolve the salt and cook until it reaches 190 degrees.

Remove from the heat.

Add 1 teaspoon of nigari and stir well with a slotted spoon.

Watch closely for the milk to start curdling. If nothing happens after 15 seconds or so, then add an additional ½ teaspoon of nigari and stir well. (Add additional nigari as needed by the ½ tsp until the milk curdles. The freshness of the milk, pasteurization method and whether or not it is homogenized will all affect the amount of nigari needed). Once it curdles, cover the pan and let it sit for 10 minutes to fully separate curds from the whey.

Line a strainer with 3 layers of damp cheesecloth over a large bowl.

Move the curds gently into the strainer using a slotted spoon Pour the whey through the cheesecloth/strainer being careful not to break up the curds. Let the curds drain for 20 minutes.

Enjoy immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups, depending on the milk used.

Save your whey. There are many ways to use it from feeding plants in your garden, adding additional nutrition to your pet’s meals, using it as liquid to cook beans or grits.

Recipe by:

April Hamilton