In the United States, farmer cheese (also farmer's cheese or farmers' cheese) is pressed cottage cheese, an unripened cheese made by adding rennet and bacterial starter to coagulate and acidify milk. Farmer cheese may be made from the milk of cows, sheep or goats, with each giving its own texture and flavor.
During coagulation the mixture separates into curds (solid) and whey (liquid), then the whey is drained off. Further pressing out of the moisture yields the malleable solid results of pot cheese, while even more pressing makes farmer cheese, which is solid, dry and crumbly. There are many kinds of farmer cheese worldwide.
Other meanings in North America
In Canada the term farmer's cheese means a kind of hard, rindless white cheese which is firm but springy in texture with a mild, milky and buttery flavor which may be used in a way likened to Colby or Cheddar.
In Ghana, farmer's cheese is called wagashi or waagashi (pronounced: waa-ga-she). It is called wagasi in Benin. It is made by Fulani women using grass-fed cow milk and Xylopia aethiopica leaves and its supple stems as the curdling agent. Waagashi may be eaten raw. Due to its ability to resist melting upon contact with heat, it is often fried and eaten with a spicy peanut powder or used in vegetarian soups and stews in the same way as tofu or the indian paneer. Waagashi that is salted, baked, smoked or grilled has added flavour and a longer shelf life.
Farmers' cheese in the USA is not the same product as Paneer. Paneer is firm and cook-able as it does not melt when cooked or heated. Farmers' cheese may be considered a cross between fresh white butter (Hindi मक्खन) and cream cheese. It can be used as a spread on paratha or bread.
French Neufchâtel is a ripened farmer cheese. However, in French the term "farmer's cheese" (fromage fermier, fromage de ferme or produit fermier) refers to farmstead cheese, i.e. any type of cheese that was made using traditional techniques on the farm that the milk came from.
Quark in Germany or topfen in Austria is an unripened farmer cheese which is often very creamy. More firm versions of it are produced in other countries of Central and Eastern Europe. These are e.g. tvaroh in the Czech Republic and Slovakia twaróg in Poland and tvorog in Russia. Tradionally, rennet is not added in the production of these cheeses. In Slavonic languages, these names may refer to both quark and cottage cheese.