Milk and its Byproducts. Cottage Cheese
What is Fermented milk?
The most effortless transformation of milk is its fermentation. Many studies show multiple nutritional and health benefits of fermented dairy products. Due to their unique characteristics, fermented dairy products are interesting for a healthy diet. Fermentation processes increase the bioavailability of nutrients. Certain bacteria can even remove toxic or anti-nutritional factors from fermented milk during this process, preventing lactose intolerance.
The good news is that soured or fermented milk is very easy to make in your kitchen. Milk starts to ferment with the presence of the proper kind of acid. It turns sour by itself since all milk, including pasteurized milk, contains suitable and harmless microorganisms. Cottage cheese is also a fermented food simply because it is made out of fermented milk.
Methods of making cottage cheese
In Ukrainian cuisine, cottage cheese plays a significant role in an independent dish or ingredient for cheesecakes, dumplings, pancakes, dips, or spreads. You can get a cottage cheese in different ways- by changing the fat content of milk and the method of souring (using different types of starter culture), the heating temperature (from room temperature to boiling), and, finally, the kind of whey extraction. But that’s not all! You can change the proportions of the combination of sour and fresh milk by pouring one into the other and boiling different mixtures for a different time.
These variations gave rise to different national methods of making cottage cheese among different nations. Everybody chooses for themselves the one that suits their taste the best.
Ukrainian-style cottage cheese is the most uncomplicated and most unassuming to make from all cheeses known in the world. And it has its unique taste, which, however, also changes daily, like the taste of bread baked at home every day. These insignificant fluctuations in taste, or instead, its instability, make up the main charm of homemade cottage cheese, which differs in flavor from the store-bought one!
When making the traditional Ukrainian-style cottage cheese, note that it doesn’t need any interference, such as adding rennet or curd starter or heating the sour mass. In a word, almost no interference with naturally occurring processes. Milk should turn sour on its own at warm room temperature. It takes two or three days for fresh raw milk or freshly pasteurized milk for souring. To speed up the fermentation process, just add a little amount of kefir or sour cream to the milk. You can also use yogurt, as it also has live bacteria. Put the cheesecloth in a sieve, drop the soured milk in, tie it and hang till all whey drops in the bowl are kept underneath for at least five hours to about a whole day. Thus, in a few hours, you will receive a soft and tender homemade raw cottage cheese which will break off in large thick beautiful layers.
Farmer’s Cheese or Cottage Cheese?
But if you want to get a drier cottage cheese, which is known as farmer’s cheese, heat the soured milk, and the whey will separate from the curd by itself. But be sure if you overheat it, this curd will become tough and not tasty. Heat the soured milk lightly, then squeeze the hidden.