Question: What is Cottage Cheese?
Commonly sold in grocery stores, cottage cheese is a simple fresh cheese that can also be made at home.
Answer: Cottage cheese is a fresh cheese made from curds that are rinsed in water then mixed with cream, milk or nonfat milk. The curds, which can be large or small, are the lumps in cottage cheese.
How Cottage Cheese is Made
Some types of handmade cottage cheese are made with rennet to speed up the process of thickening the milk and turning it into curds. Others add cultures to the milk instead, a slower process that yields a tangier cheese. This cultured cottage cheese is also called "clabbered" cottage cheese.
Once the curds form, then they are cut, warmed, drained from the whey (liquid) and then rinsed with water. Rinsing the curds removes any lingering whey and helps the curds retain moisture. The curds are then mixed with salt and something to make the cottage cheese creamy - such as cream, whole milk, creme fraiche or nonfat milk.
Many brands of cottage cheese sold in grocery stores contain gums or carrageenan to stabilize and thicken it. Cottage cheese with added thickeners can have a sticky or slimy texture. Homemade cottage cheese and artisanal cottage cheese made by cheesemakers does not contain gums or carrageenan.
Homemade Cottage Cheese Recipes
There are several different ways to make cottage cheese. Some methods take less than 30 minutes, others take days. Why make it yourself? Homemade cottage cheese has a richer texture and creamier, tangier flavor.
Making your own Creamy Paneer
A quick method for making soft, creamy paneer (which is similar to cottage cheese) using just milk and lemon juice.
David Lebovitz's Cottage Cheese Recipe
Made from whole milk, liquid rennet and heavy cream, this recipe and takes about 6 hours to make.America's Test Kitchen Homemade Cottage Cheese
This recipe calls for mesophilic culture, liquid rennet, whole milk, heavy cream and buttermilk and is a two-day process.
Cooking with Cottage Cheese Recipes
Cottage cheese melts and disappears completely into whatever you are cooking, making it a "secret ingredient" in some pasta dishes, bread recipes and other baked goods. Cottage cheese is added to give food a creamy and/or moist texture.
- Baked Rigatoni with Mascarpone and Cottage Cheese
- Easy Creamy Baked Macaroni and Cheese
- Broccoli and Cottage Cheese Casserole
- Savory Beef Cottage Cheese Pie
- Cottage Cheese Pancakes
- Sweet Cottage Cheese Pie
- Cottage Cheese Kolacky
- Dill Bread Made with Cottage Cheese
- Gluten-Free Cottage Cheese Bread