Mentioned in Homer's Odyssey, cottage cheese was probably discovered around 9,000 years ago. Its discovery was likely by accident when warm milk was left and became sour. Later, the soured milk was placed into muslin cloth to drain. In about 1915, modern industrial cottage cheese was developed in the USA and spread to many countries. This is the granular cottage cheese packed in tubs with cream added. The original form (Continental-style cottage cheese) is still sold.
With its high moisture content, cottage cheese is a soft, white cheese with a mass of pea-sized curds giving it a slightly lumpy texture. It is generally low in fat. Continental-style cottage cheese is smoother and firmer in texture and is often an ingredient in Eastern European recipes, it is usually sold in a block.
Granular style cottage cheese has a delicate mild and creamy flavour. Additives are often included. Continental style has a sharp acidic flavour.
Selection and storage
- Select if snowy white, fresh and moist.
- Be guided by the use-by date.
- Store in a tub or plastic wrap covered bowl in the refrigerator.
- Use preferably within a week of purchase.
- Freezing is not recommended unless used in cooked foods such as pastries and quiches.
- Use as a base for sweet and savoury dishes such as dips and lasagne and desserts such as cheesecake.
- Great as a sandwich filling.
For recipes using cottage cheese see The Dairy Kitchen.