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 Paneer (cottage cheese)in less than 30 minutes
A quick method for making Paneer (which is similar to cottage cheese) in less than 30 minutes using cream, citric acid or 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.