Cottage cheese is a popular food choice for many health-conscious people and cheese connoisseurs. It is packed with lots of nutrition and has a decent amount of protein too.
Cottage cheese is sold at supermarkets in prepackaged containers and you can also get it from cheese shops too.
People have been consuming cottage cheese for centuries and it is perhaps one of the best types of food to have.
Its nutritional profile is unmatched and its low cost and ease of production make it one of the best types of cheese to make at home too.
What does cottage cheese taste like? Cottage cheese has a distinctly creamy, milky, and sour flavor along with a very light milky aroma. Some say it tastes like curdled string cheese while others would call it a bit bland with a salty flavor and creamy texture.
Needless to say, the method of making cottage cheese has a lot to do with how it tastes. Read on below to learn more about cottage cheese and how you can enhance its flavor!
Cottage Cheese: A Short Story
The use of cottage cheese goes back centuries. It is said to have originated from the middle east and has been around since the 3rd century. Of course, one can easily suspect that its origin goes even further back too.
Why? Because cottage cheese is super easy to make! The primary method of making cottage cheese has to do with separating milk solids from whey. An easy way to achieve this is by introducing an acid to milk.
When acid, like lemon juice or vinegar, is added to milk, it will begin the process of coagulation, which is when the milk will start to curdle and separate from the liquid whey.
All you would then have to do is strain the milk solids and drain out all the whey.
What you will be left with is pure and simple cottage cheese without any flavoring. Cottage cheese in its purest state will have a creamy and sour taste due to the lemon juice or vinegar.
We will discuss how to change the flavor of cottage cheese in a bit, first, we need to discuss why cottage cheese is so good.
Cottage cheese can be made from either skimmed or whole fat milk. If you want the best tasting cottage cheese then we recommend that you pick a brand that makes their cheese with 3-4% milkfat.
This type of cheese is creamy and its texture will be the most tolerable when compared to other percentages of milkfat.
A typical 100 gram serving of cottage cheese will pack about 11 grams of protein, 100 calories, 4.3 grams of fat, and about 3.5 grams of carbohydrate.
This is why many gym-goers love using cottage cheese as it is a cheaper alternative to other sources of protein.
Keep in mind that the above nutritional values are for full-fat cottage cheese and these numbers may vary greatly depending on different brands and variants.
Cottage cheese can be mixed with fruits, peanut butter, pickles, spices, and more. Since it has a plain flavor profile, you can use it in different ways to get the most flavor out of it.
To start with, we recommend that you pick any popular brand from a local supermarket.
Cottage cheese isn’t that expensive so you can pick 2-3 brands of cheese and decide which one you would like more.
Also, you can go “pro” and make your own cottage cheese at home too. Don’t worry, you don’t actually have to be a professional to do this.
In fact, we will go as far as to say that making cottage cheese is one of the easiest things that you can make next to boiling an egg.
How To Make Cottage Cheese At Home
To make cottage cheese, you will need:
- 2 liters of milk (4% milkfat)
- 4 tablespoons of lemon juice
This is the basic list of ingredients needed to make the plainest and most vanilla version of cottage cheese. To make the cheese all you need to do is first boil the milk over medium heat and add a pinch of salt to taste.
Be careful when boiling the milk. You don’t want to reduce it by evaporating it—just heat it until it starts to steam and slightly bubble.
When this happens, turn the heat off and add in 4 tablespoons of lemon juice and keep mixing.
You should start to see the milk solids separate from the whey within minutes. This happens when the milk starts to curdle.
Keep mixing it slowly until all of the milk is curdled and clumped up together.
You should be able to see some clear liquid—this is called whey and is also used for multiple purposes but since you won’t need it for cottage cheese, you can just discard it later.
Stir the mixture for about 15 minutes until you can clearly see clumped-up pieces of milk solids. Now, either using a cheesecloth or a fine mesh sift, you will filter the mixture and separate the liquid from the milk solids.
We recommend that you use cheesecloth as it will come in handy for shaping and draining the cheese further too. Put all of the milk solids over a cheesecloth and create a tight ball by forming the cloth over the cheese.
Hold the opening of the cheesecloth in a way where the ball of cheese is hanging below.
You will then want to tightly squeeze the cheese ball, releasing all the excess liquid. Keep squeezing until you have completely drained all the liquid.
Now, place the ball of cheese over a wire rack and put a rectangular or circular wooden board on top of it, you will then put another heavy weight over the board to compress the cheese underneath.
Leave the cheese like this overnight or for a minimum of 5-6 hours.
Congratulations! You have successfully made your first batch of cottage cheese.
It is that easy and once you get in the habit of making it, again and again, we promise it’s going to become like second nature.
Also, now that you have made the plain version of cottage cheese, it’s time to experiment with different flavors and seasonings.
Flavors And Seasonings For Cottage Cheese
The above recipe will make one block of cottage cheese and this should taste exactly like how we have described above: milky, creamy, sour, and a bit salty.
However, most people don’t prefer plain cottage cheese. Some prefer to have it with seasonings or in a recipe. Let’s discuss a few great ways to enjoy and enhance the flavor of cottage cheese.
Here are a few great options:
Spicy Cottage Cheese
Seasoned cottage cheese not only tastes great but it looks fantastic too. The off-white color and smooth texture of cottage cheese make for a great way to decorate it using different seasonings as well.
Before we begin, we would like to clarify the texture of cottage cheese.
You could either have it as it is in its curdled form (which is when you wouldn’t form it into a block), or you could have it as we have instructed in the recipe above.
Both types of cheese have different uses but they will taste identical so it comes down to your preference and needs. We will be using the recipe above as a base to make all our seasoned cottage cheese blocks.
Coming back to spicy cottage cheese—continuing from the recipe above, instead of directly shaping the cheese, you will first drain out all the whey from the cheese ball and then put the milk solids in a bowl.
Add ½ tsp crushed chili flakes, ½ tsp of black pepper, and ½ tsp of crushed dried mint leaves and mix everything together.
Take out the seasoned cheese in a cheesecloth and then shape as indicated above. Voila, spicy cottage cheese that has a distinct spicy and earthy flavor. This type of cheese tastes great in salads and can also be had on its own.
Pickled Cottage Cheese
To make pickled cottage cheese we are going to use 1-2 tablespoons of chopped jalapenos, 1 tablespoon of chopped pickled cucumber, ½ tsp of crushed red chili, and 1/4th tsp of dried oregano.
Mix everything together and then shape the cheese or have it as it is.
This cottage cheese has a pronounced pickle-y flavor with spicy undertones. It goes great with the natural sourness of the cheese and we guarantee that you will love the acidity and creaminess as well.
You can use pickled cottage cheese as a side dish, in salads, or have it in the afternoon with some toast or crackers too.
Herbed Cottage Cheese
Herbed cottage cheese is one of our favorites because of how well it balances and complements the flavors of cottage cheese.
To make herbed cottage cheese mix in 1/4th tsp of basil, oregano, chopped cilantro, crushed red chili, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
This type of cottage cheese has a very distinct and herby flavor and the best part is that none of the herbs will overpower the flavor of the cheese.
Everything mixes together quite nicely and you can use this type of cheese with a range of salads and can also pair it with different meat recipes as well.
Chili Garlic Cottage Cheese
Chili garlic cottage cheese follows the same ingredients as the spicy cottage cheese recipe we mentioned above except you are also going to add 1/4th tsp of garlic powder in the mix too.
The garlic is going to add a delicious umami flavor and is going to enhance the overall flavor profile of the cheese as well.
We absolutely love this variant of cottage cheese and it also happens to be one of the best ways to enjoy seasoned cottage cheese with crackers.
Things To Keep In Mind
Cottage cheese has a range of applications and you can also tweak the flavor of the cheese while making it.
For example, some people prefer to leave in a bit of whey when draining the cheese so that it is crumbly and has a curd-like texture. It makes the cheese easy to mix while cooking and you can even have it with a spoon too.
“Wet” cottage cheese will fall apart when exposed to heat so you might want to keep this in mind when adding it on top of hot food.
Dried and shaped cottage cheese is great for several recipes too. For example, did you know that you can BBQ cottage cheese?
To BBQ it, shape the cottage cheese in cubes, add your favorite blend of seasonings (or steak seasoning), and put them through a skewer. You can either fry them in a griddle or roast them over a BBQ pit too!
Also, a great tip for changing the base flavor of the cheese would be to add a pinch of sugar while boiling the milk.
Most people find the natural flavor of cottage cheese to be quite strong and pungent.
The added sugar will combat this issue and provide a balanced flavor, which you can then build upon by adding different seasonings as mentioned above.
Now that we’ve gone over what cottage cheese tastes like, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!
Is cottage cheese-like mozzarella?
No. Mozzarella is chewier and firmer than cottage cheese, which tends to be softer and runnier. Both kinds of cheese have different uses.
Cottage cheese can be had on its own or with a range of dishes and curries while mozzarella cheese is mostly (and famously) used for pizzas and sandwiches.
Can you store cottage cheese?
You can put the cheese in an air-tight container and store it in the fridge for about 4-5 days.
Make sure that your fridge is at a constant temperature of 4°C. Also, you can make the cheese last long if you freeze it at -18°C.
Frozen cottage cheese can be good for up to 2 months but we recommend that you consume it fresh and as soon as possible for the best flavor.
To defrost the cheese, simply warm it up in a microwave or add it directly into a pot while cooking.
Can cottage cheese go bad?
Yes, like most types of cheese, cottage cheese can also go bad if kept outside for too long. It is recommended that you refrigerate or freeze leftover cheese as soon as possible.
Cottage cheese that has gone bad will have a foul odor and you may also notice fungal growths on the surface of the cheese too. Please discard all of the cheese when you see any type of growth no matter how small the affected area is.
Can you melt cottage cheese?
Cottage cheese is made using acid coagulation. This means that it will always have some curdled lumps no matter how long you cook it.
You may try mixing it and incorporating it with butter and milk but you will have to spend a lot of time mashing the liquid to get rid of all the lumps.
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