© Denzil Green
Cottage cheese is an un-aged, “fresh” white curd-type cheese made from skim milk. The curds that are separate out of the milk are drained of the whey, then packed into tubs with some milk to the tubs and shipped off for immediate sale. It is usually sold as a “wet-curd” cheese with this added milk, but pressed cottage cheese, which is drier and useful for cooking, is also available.
The cheese comes in different curd sizes, usually small or large. In some places, you can buy it flavoured with fruit or herbs.
The cheese ends up very white.
The acidic bacteria used to curdle the cheese gives it a tang which survives the washing. Sweet Curd Cottage Cheese, which is curdled with rennet instead, is less tangy.
- 1 Making cottage cheese commercially
- 2 Making cottage cheese at home
- 3 Substitutes
- 4 Nutrition
- 5 Equivalents
- 6 Storage Hints
- 7 History Notes
- 8 Language Notes
- 9 Types of cottage cheese
Making cottage cheese commercially
To make cottage cheese, pasteurized skim milk is heated to 29 C (85 F), at which point an acidic bacterial mix is added to curdle the milk. The curd is cut, hot water (45 C / 114 F) is added, and the mixture is further heated to 51 C (124 F) and stirred to make the cheese thicker.
After two hours, any remaining whey is washed off with cold water, which helps to keep its taste bland. It is not aged and will not in fact store long.
Making cottage cheese at home
Home-made cottage cheese (note: this will end up a consistency that is different from commercial brands).
You will need a food thermometer, piece of cheesecloth or muslim; and a colander.
- Slowly heat 500 ml of milk (2 cups / 16 oz) to 38 C (100 F);
- Stir in 2 or 3 tbsp (30 to 45 ml) of lemon juice;
- Keep on stirring. It will start to separate into curds and whey (whey being the liquid part). Eventually the whey will run clear;
- Set the muslin into the colander, pour the mixture into it and let sit to drain;
- You can use the curd cheese as is, or, if you want it to look more like commercial cottage cheese with smaller curds, put the curds back in the sauce pan, heat it until it separates into smaller lumps, then add a bit of milk to moisten;
- Refrigerate. Use within 2 to 3 days.
Fromage blanc, buttermilk cheese, crumbled tofu, ricotta, yoghurt cheese, curd cheese, Creole cream cheese (one of the varieties that has visible curds in it).
In Germany, substitute körniger Frischkäse or Hüttenkäse.
Cottage cheese can be easier to digest for some people than other cheeses.
Per 100 g (3 1/2 oz)
Fat 3.9 g
Saturated 2.4 g
Calcium 73 mg
1/2 pound = 8 oz = 200 g = 1 cup
Store in refrigerator for up to a few days. Bin at once if any sign of mould; do not scrape off mould and eat the rest as mould spores not visible yet may have infiltrated the cheese.
The milk used for cottage cheese historically was skim, as the cream in the milk would have first been used for another cheese or for butter.
It was called cottage cheese because it was simple enough to be made at anyone’s home.