Cottage Cheese vs Yogurt?
In the United States, cottage cheese consumption has dropped dramatically over the past 50 years, but yogurt consumption has increased. Americans consume nearly 15 pounds of yogurt per person annually compared to only 2 pounds of cottage cheese. Why is this happening? Yogurt manufacturers add different flavors to their products, making them more attractive for the customers. At the same time, is cottage cheese just a plain dairy product? Or is it because cottage cheese is usually sold in large containers while the customer wants only one serving? Whatever it is, they undeservedly forget to add cottage cheese to their diet. I also believe that people have stopped eating it due to their passion for low-fat and high-protein food. «Full-fat» on a label may seem too scary for them. But how often do they think about fat content ordering french fries?
Why do We Need to Eat Cottage Cheese?
Here I’d like to restore the reputation of cottage cheese. In fact, full-fat cottage cheese is much less in fat than many other kinds of cheese, as it only contains 4% of fat compared to the usual 30-45% for different types of cheeses. Actually, a 100 grams serving of full-fat cottage cheese contains about 4 grams of fat and 11 grams of protein. Even low-fat cottage cheese still has about 10 grams of protein. It is also rich in A, E, and B vitamins and minerals like calcium, selenium, and phosphorus, which are essential nutrients for maintaining good health. I even dare to convince you to forget about low-fat or fat-free variations of dairy products and use full-fat for your diet instead. When cream, which is actually fat, is taken out of a dairy product, its qualities such as texture and taste significantly affect its qualities. To not turn people away, manufacturers are making a lot of efforts to ensure the consistency and taste of their product by using a wide variety of different thickeners, stabilizers, and additives of all kinds. In this case, I honestly think that consuming fat is a much healthier option.
Cottage cheese or pot cheese, or farmer cheese, is a curd made from whole or skimmed milk with milk fermented cultures. These cultures are actually bacteria that ferment the lactose in milk. Last time we already talked about different methods of making cottage cheese at home. The method of making cottage cheese and the fat content of the milk and cream you use work on the curd’s taste and texture. In particular, the process of making cottage cheese at home results in a product with its character, which will never be similar to the previous one that you made.
What to Make with Cottage Cheese?
Cottage cheese is eaten often in Ukraine. Every Easter, apart from traditional Easter bread, Ukrainians also make «paska» by placing cottage cheese and fruits, raisins, and nuts in a particular pyramid-shaped mold. This dish is cooked only once a year. But there are a considerable number of dishes that can be made using cottage cheese. Cooking with cottage cheese has been our family tradition for many generations. Varenyky filled with cottage cheese is the taste of my childhood. If you are looking for something different in taste and flavor, try to cook chicken breasts stuffed with cottage cheese and sun-dried tomatoes, or a casserole with farmer cheese, vegetables, and mushrooms, or make a blueberry pie with cottage cheese. These dishes will take your cooking to another level! Cottage cheese is great for creating different sauces or dips like cottage cheese guacamole. Add it to your regular red sauce for extra creaminess. Use it as a filling for lasagna, ravioli, or pasta dishes like cottage cheese and spinach baked penne. Try a cottage cheese quiche. You will never get bored eating cottage cheese dishes with Viennese curd waffles or strawberry biscuits with pot cheese. It is a delicious addition to just about anything! Or you can start your day with the Ukrainian traditional cottage cheese pancakes. They are really easy to cook and very hard to say «no» to. Basically, you need only three main ingredients to make the – cottage cheese, flour, and eggs. And of course, my tips and secrets on how to cook them fluffy and tasty!
Secrets of Making Perfect Pancakes
Since cottage cheese is the basis of pancakes, a successful result is guaranteed if you choose the curd dryish and crumbly texture. When the curd is too moist, you will have to add more flour to the batter, making pancakes taste «rubbery.» Get rid of excess whey by putting cottage cheese in a colander with the cheesecloth inside. Don’t put too many eggs in the batter. Both eggs and sugar make the dough thin. Add flour until you get the desired consistency, but again don’t add it too much as it may affect your pancakes’ taste. The dough comes together in a couple of minutes and should be soft and slightly sticky. You may use whole wheat, all-purpose, or even oatmeal flour. Form the dough into egg-sized balls and then squeeze them to make a tablet shape. Sprinkle with a little flour. I like to use cornmeal because it burns less. Choose a pan with a thick bottom or non-stick pan for frying.
I have a cast iron pan that I always use for pancakes only. Well, almost always.. 🙂 Make sure you heat the oil well enough; otherwise, you won’t receive that excellent crispy edge. But the cooking heat should be low-medium so that the pancakes are well baked in the middle and do not get burnt on the outside. An excellent option is oven-baked pancakes. In this case, oil is not required, but be sure to add a small amount of baking powder to the dough. And do not rush to remove the pancakes from the oven; otherwise, they will fall off. Let them sit in a switched-off oven for about five minutes and only then open the door. Serve them warm the way you like it most – with fresh berries, honey, or just sprinkled with icing sugar. I like them plain with a bit of sour cream. Now tell me, who can resist such a wonderful yummy cottage cheese dish?