Call it a conscious attempt by bodybuilders to rely less on meat and meat derivatives for protein, or due to its uncanny semblance to Casein, cottage cheese has become quite popular in recent times.
It is cheap, it is easy to make at home and gram by gram, it can match some of the less healthier protein sources that we normally use.
Tons of ways to add it to your diet as well.
You can add it to your salads, you can shred it to add to an omelet, you can toss it on your pizza.
But there seem to be a lot of misconceptions about cottage cheese floating around on the internet.
Like it’s saturated with sodium and that its too high in fat and its terribly unhealthy, which makes people skeptical about it.
Today, we will decode the mystery that seems to be cottage cheese, once and for all.
What is Cottage Cheese?
Cottage cheese is a fresh cheese that is made from the curds of different types of pasteurized or unpasteurized milk, like regular milk, full cream, nonfat or low fat.
A good bacterial culture is added to the milk to begin the conversion of lactose into lactic acid. Eventually the acid levels rise until the milk begins to solidify and form curds.
These curds are cut into small pieces allowing the acid to drain away. The remaining curd is washed, cleaned and heated to release any leftover moisture and then frozen, to form cottage cheese.
Unlike other cheeses, it’s not aged or ripened for flavor and hence it is considered among the mildest of cheeses.
Since the leftover curd is normally not pressed, cottage cheese retains some amount of whey, which adds to its nutritional value.
Some manufacturers may add cream or salt to it, which has possibly led to the sodium scare.
If you are hung up over the contents, then just read the product label carefully. You can also buy low-sodium, no-sodium and low fat varieties by the way.
Is Cottage Cheese Nutritious?
The nutritional value of cottage cheese can vary greatly depending on the type of milk used for making it, as well as the amount of sodium added to it.
If it’s made of low-fat milk, then here are some average numbers to give you an idea.
225mg of Cottage cheese, which roughly equals one cup, contains 163 calories only.
It contains a whopping 28 grams of protein, just 6.2 grams of carbs and 2.3 grams of fat.
Almost 80% of that protein is casein, which is a slow-digesting protein used by bodybuilders because it inhibits the breakdown of muscle. Casein is considered to be a nighttime protein. Why not add a cup of cottage cheese to your dinner instead?
In addition to this, it comes with almost 60% of your RDI of Vitamin B12, 11% of calcium and 24% of phosphorus.
The 37% of Selenium that you get from a single cup is packed with antioxidants that can protect you from free radical damage.
Sodium is a concern especially because there’s almost 700mg in one cup of creamed and low fat cottage cheese.
In comparison, no-sodium varieties have just 30mg of sodium in a cup.
What Does Cottage Cheese Taste Like?
A lot of people look and touch cottage cheese and get turned off by the odd texture. It also has a mild aroma that some people term offensive.
Well, that texture is due to the curd in the cheese and that’s precisely what makes it so easy to consume even in large quantities. So it’s an unavoidable inconvenience if you so consider it.
The taste though, is not as pungent as it is made out to be.
Cottage cheese made from normal pasteurized milk that has least 4% fat, has a very creamy flavor with a mild sour taste. The taste can be slightly salty too depending on the addition of sodium.
The creamier the milk that it is made from, the sweeter or milkier it is.
Think of Ricotta but with the addition of curds. That best describes it.
However, cottage cheese with very low fat, or fat free varieties can have a noticeable sour taste.
Does Cottage Cheese Taste like Sour Cream?
Sour cream is a condiment that’s almost become a staple in American diets.
But weight watchers and fitness freaks often seek healthier substitutes that aren’t crammed with as many calories, particularly from fat.
Low fat varieties of cottage cheese taste almost similar to sour cream but make for a protein-rich substitute with all 21 amino acids.
The only possible downside to it is the presence of the curds, which are solid nodules.
However, there’s an easy workaround to make your own cottage cheese sour cream substitute.
Just add a cup of cottage cheese to the blender, add four tablespoons of low fat milk and blend. You can also add a teaspoon of lemon juice.
Bingo! You have a healthier sour cream that also taste better!
Does Cottage Cheese Taste anything like Greek Yogurt?
Greek Yoghurt has been the buzzword for good health, as of lately.
It has been the de-facto choice for anyone looking for a high-protein, low-fat dairy-derived product.
But cottage cheese is an equally nutritious (if not more) choice.
It beats Greek Yoghurt in protein content and also contains lesser sugar.
The only caveat is the taste.
Greek Yoghurt is adored for its tarty, thick and creamy texture whereas Cottage Cheese gets dissed for its lumpy, curds and mild texture.
Once again, the blender can be your friend here. Whip up some cottage cheese, add some milk or even some Greek yoghurt and add some lemon juice to make up a creamy, healthier, Greek yoghurt substitute.
To be honest, it would take some doing to match the tastes.
But many Greek Yoghurt fanatics have found that they quite like the milder flavor that cottage cheese offers.
What Tastes Good with Cottage Cheese?
The mild flavor and the slightly sour taste allows cottage cheese to be paired with a variety of foods.
The simplest and healthiest of which is fruit.
Fruit and cottage cheese
Add a few banana slices, chunks of pineapple, peach slices or berries and blend to make a smoothie. You can also whip cottage cheese in a blender with a tablespoon of Greek yoghurt and throw in fruit slices to make it a healthy, low-calorie snack.
Blend cottage cheese with a tablespoon of peanut butter to make a high protein, high calcium bread spread.
Granola & Cottage Cheese – So Good!
Just throw some granola and a tablespoon of honey on a cup of cottage cheese. This is one of my favorite ways to make cottage cheese taste good and I am sure it will be one of your favorites as well. If anything it will certainly change what your thoughts on what cottage cheese taste like.
Pancakes or Muffins
Add cottage cheese puree or chunks to pancake or muffins batter to make your breakfast healthier. Add some fruit too to up the nutrient quotient.
Add Cottage Cheese to your pasta
Cottage cheese can be added to pasta while you cook it. Softer, full-fat varieties will melt and develop a creamy texture. Low-fat versions can be blended or whipped before you add.
An ancient weight watchers’ recipe is to bake a potato, top it with a 4-ounce serving of cottage cheese and add salsa. That’s high on healthy carbs, protein and has a reasonable amount of fat.
Use Cottage Cheese as a stuffing
Blended cottage cheese makes for a versatile, creamy stuffing that can be used to fill celery sticks, chicken or tomatoes or whatever else that your imagination can come up with.
Use Cottage Cheese as a Ricotta Substitute
Ricotta and cottage cheese are used together for quite a few things. Cottage cheese also makes for a delicious and nutritious substitute for Ricotta in many recipes. Lasagna, Crepes, Pita flatbread, the list just goes on.
What Does Cottage Cheese Feel Like?
Many a time, people come across different varieties of cottage cheese on dairy food aisles and wonder what it feels like or whether it’s taste is tolerable or comparable to what they’ve tasted earlier.
More often than not, they skip it in favor of tried and tested varieties of cheese.
If you too have wondered what it feels like, then here are some clear answers.
- Regular cottage cheese 4%: If you’ve never tasted cottage cheese before, we highly recommend that you start with this one. It has a sweet, milky taste with just a hint of sourness due to the traces of whey that’s left behind after the curds are rinsed. The texture is very soft, perfect for blending. While health fanatics are paranoid about the high fat content in this variety, it isn’t high enough to ring alarm bells.
- Skim cottage cheese (2% or less): Skim cottage cheese is the more popular variety among fitness buffs. It has a more noticeable sourness and a slight pungent odor to it. The texture is also slightly harder and coarse as compared to regular cottage cheese. It’s still mild as compared to other varieties of cheese though, like Mozzarella for example.
- Dry Cottage cheese: This is another name for regular cottage cheese in which the whey has been rinsed out completely and has a little bit of drier taste to it. It is usually preferred by people with lactose intolerance.
- Wet cottage cheese: Wet cottage cheese is the one that’s mostly sold commercially these days. It is a blend of milk, cream and dry cottage cheese and has a thicker, creamier flavor as compared to any other variety of cottage cheese.
- Small curd cottage cheese or California style: This is just a fancy name for cottage cheese with curds cut really small, it still taste just like regular cottage cheese but just has a different texture.
- Large curd cottage cheese or Pot style: This is the exact opposite of small curd cottage cheese, large but still taste the same as regular cottage cheese.
To sum it up, higher the fat content in the cheese, tastier it is. Lower the fat content, more likely you are to notice that coarse texture.
What Does Cottage Cheese Smell like?
The opinions are mixed on this one.
There are some who compare the smell of fresh cottage cheese to that of milk. Others, with a more sensitive olfactory system might notice a slight sour smell. Nothing offensive, mind you.
Low fat cottage cheese on the other hand tends to have a slightly more pungent smell and taste.
If you were to compare the smell to something edible, the closest match would be ricotta cheese, only milder.
Usually, if the cottage cheese is not fresh, it may smell pungent.
So the smell test is also a good way to know whether the cheese is fresh or stale.
How Do I Make Cottage Cheese Taste Good?
To be honest, if you find the taste, texture and smell of cottage cheese to be offensive, then there’s very little that you can do to make it taste good.
You can of course, mask the taste by adding fruit or honey.
Whipping the cottage cheese in a blender with some milk is an easy way to completely alter the texture and to get rid of the curd lumps that everybody seems to hate so much.
Some people also mix cottage cheese with Greek yoghurt and blend. Makes it thicker and creamier.
Add it to your Favorite Protein Powder Mix
If you are still trying to make cottage cheese taste good then you can always mix it with your favorite protein powder or meal replacement. This is something that I regulary do and it always makes my cottage cheese taste good. I add just enough to my Kachava mix that I can taste it but not too much that it is overwhelming.
This is definitely the way that I recommend if you are wanting to make your cottage cheese taste good or so that you just barely taste it enough that you do not notice but are still getting your cottage cheese intake in. There are many options and although I think that Kachava is the best way to go you can try huel’s meal replacement or any of the huel alternatives that are all very good tasting to change your mind on what you think cottage cheese taste like.
If you have any questions or want some of my recipes that I use personally then comment down below and I will reply literally within the hour!