The first known use of the term "cottage cheese" dates back to 1831. It is believed to have originated because the simple cheese was usually made in cottages from any milk left over after making butter.
Cottage cheese is drained, but not pressed, so some whey remains and the individual curds remain loose. The curd is usually washed to remove acidity, giving sweet-curd cheese. It is not aged or colored. Different styles of cottage cheese are made from milk with different fat levels and in small-curd or large-curd preparations. Pressed cottage cheese becomes hoop cheese, farmer cheese, pot cheese, or queso blanco.
Curd size is the size of the chunks in the cottage cheese. The two major types of cottage cheese are small-curd, high-acid cheese made without rennet, and large-curd, low-acid cheese made with rennet. Rennet is a natural complex of enzymes that speeds curdling and keeps the curd that forms from breaking up. Adding rennet shortens the cheese-making process, resulting in a lower acid and larger curd cheese, and reduces the amount of curd poured off with leftover liquid (whey). Sometimes large-curd cottage cheese is called "chunk style."
Cottage cheese can be eaten in a variety of different ways: by itself, with fruit and sugar, with salt and pepper, with fruit puree, on toast, with tomatoes, with granola and cinnamon, in salads, as a chip dip, as a replacement for mayonnaise in tuna salad or used as an ingredient in recipes such as jello salad and various desserts. Cottage cheese with fruit such as pears, peaches, or mandarin oranges is a standard side dish in many "home cooking" or meat-and-three restaurants' menus in the United States. It is also used in dishes such as lasagna where it takes the place of ricotta.
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||412 kJ (98 kcal)|
|Vitamin A equiv.||
†Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults. |
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
A 113-g (4-oz) serving of 4% fat product has about 120 calories, 5 g fat (3 g saturated), 3 g carbohydrates, and 12 g protein. It also contains about 500 mg sodium, 70 mg calcium, and 20 mg cholesterol.
Some manufacturers also produce low-fat and nonfat varieties. A fat-free kind of a similar serving size has 80 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated), 6 g carbohydrates, and 14 g protein.
Cottage cheese is popular among dieters and some health food devotees. It is a favorite food among bodybuilders, runners, swimmers and weightlifters for its high content of casein protein (a longer-lasting protein) while being relatively low in fat. Pregnant women are advised that cottage cheese is safe to eat, whereas some cheese products are not recommended during pregnancy.
- Cottage cheese boycott, a consumer boycott in 2011 in Israel against the rise of food prices
- Faisselle, a French cheese, similar to cottage cheese
- Fromage blanc, a soft French cheese
- Mascarpone, an Italian cheese made from cream, coagulated with citric acid or acetic acid
- Chhena, an Indian cheese, similar to cottage cheese
- Ricotta, an Italian whey cheese
- Quark, a European curd and cheese
- Queso fresco, a Spanish and Latin American soft cheese
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