The way I grew up making cottage cheese, you would let skim milk sit on the counter until it clabbered, which sometimes took several days. Then you dumped it into a large pan, put the burner on low, and gently stirred until the curds separated from the whey. You'd put cheesecloth in a colander, place the colander over a pan or bucket, and pour the contents of your big pan into this. The whey was then poured into the slop bucket (wow, it's been ages since I've heard that term) to give to pigs or chickens. The curds were rinsed off, drained as well as possible, and hung on the clothesline so any remaining liquid could drain away.
Using an online recipe as a guide, I changed a couple of things. Rather than wait for the milk to curdle on its own, I added some buttermilk to hurry the process along. After twenty-four hours, it was nicely curdled. The recipe suggested that I should pasteurize the milk first; I did not do that. A different recipe suggested adding rennet, as did one of my readers. I will try that next time, if I can find rennet at the store.
The most drastic change from my old way of making cottage cheese was that I used a big enamel canner, put water in it, and set the container with the clabbered milk inside it, so it worked like a double boiler. Using a cooking thermometer, I followed the rules on temperatures. It wasn't nearly as "hit-and-miss" as my old method.
whey is good for you. With my old method of making cottage cheese, the whey was not so good. The pigs and chickens liked it, though.