Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Cottage Cheese

The dish that screams picnic and hot weather the most for me is a simple bowl of cottage cheese topped with chopped green onions, fresh from the garden and seasoned with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper. For me, that's summer in a bowl.

Back in the day, according to the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company's website:

"It [cottage cheese] was often made from older milk in which the natural bacteria had already started to work. The milk would be brought in and placed in a warm place (near the fire, behind the wood stove, or in the warming oven). Then after a day or so the natural bacteria would produce enough acid to cause the milk to form a curd. This was then cut, cooked to a dry curd, then washed with cold water. The finish was a cold dry curd with a tangy flavor. At some point someone realized that the taste improved with the addition of some cream to make the much richer tasting creamed cottage cheese."

And, on how to make cottage cheese:

"The primary process in making Cottage Cheese involves good dairy bacteria converting lactose to lactic acid. This lactose (or milk sugar) is an important component in our milk but unless it is converted by good quality dairy bacteria, some off flavors or worse may result. 

Several hours after the bacteria culture activity begins, the milk acidity increases to the extent that the milk coagulates into a solid gel which can be cut into small curds. This resulting curd is then cooked until the moisture is released and a dry curd is formed. Then this curd is chilled to the final cottage cheese as we know it. A final optional cream dressing may also be added to increase the richness and texture and this then becomes the Creamed Cottage Cheese."

Check it out:

Cottage cheese is loaded with protein, Vitamin B-12, calcium and phosphorous and can be included in such recipes as lasagnes, stuffed pasta shells, cottage cheesecakes, salsas, casseroles, biscuits, frittata’s, pancakes…etc

Favorite Brand of Cottage Cheese: Dairyland