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Friday, October 31, 2008

Cottage Cheese

The origin of cottage cheese, as it exists today, is as old as the cheese making itself. From the historical point of view, the cottage cheese making, appeared as a delicacy in the ranch houses and homes of Central European countries was later adopted by the colonial America and the modern industrial cottage cheese making originated in the U.S in about 1915. It is also called as Pot cheese in USA and some times Dutch cheese.

However with the advent of cyber technology and seemingly shrinking world, the geographical significance of cottage cheese, as styled after American cheese has lost much of its local flavor and standard types of cottage cheeses are emerging in the international market to cater to the taste of the informed customers of the new era.

Cottage cheese is a soft unripened variety of cheese made from skim milk to which some cream and salt are added. It serves as a good source of high quality milk protein and less in calories (since skim milk is used in the preparation of cottage cheese). It is the best type of cheese suitable for overweight and health conscious people.

The technology of manufacture (production technology) of cottage cheese is as follows

* Fresh, good quality milk free from antibiotics and preservatives is selected for preparing cottage cheese.
* A good quality and active starter is generally for coagulating the skim milk to prepare cottage cheese.
* The solids not fat of milk is standardized to 9.0% by fortifying with skim milk powder.
* Pasteurization of the milk is done at 63°C for 30 min or 72°C for 15 seconds (normal pasteurization time temperature combination).
* The pasteurized milk is cooled to 30°C.
* Calcium chloride is added at the rate of 10 g for every 100 litres of milk.
* Starter culture is added at the rate of 4 - 6%.
* Rennet, the important coagulating agent, is added at the rate of 0.04 g per 100 litres. After the addition of rennet, the milk is incubated at a temperature of 37°C for 60 - 75 min.
* Next step in the manufacture of cottage cheese is cutting. Cutting of the cheese curd is done when the whey acidity reaches 0.50% lactic acid. It generally takes about 3 - 4 hours.
* Then cooking of the cheese curd is done. Cooking is nothing but slow heating of the curd to a required temperature for a particular duration. Initially cooking is done at 40°C.
* Final stage of cooking is completed when the temperature reaches 55°C.
* Then the cooked cheese curd is washed with water at a temperature of 27°C for 10 min.
* Second washing is done at 17°C for 10 min. Third and final washing is done at 8°C for 10 min.
* Finally, the cheese is added with cream in such a proportion so that the final fat percentage comes to 18%. Now it is called as cottage cheese.

In the end we get a mellowing and refreshing cheese that is nothing but cottage cheese.

By Thenmozhi Kathirvelu

Check Out the Related Article : A Quick Guide to Cheese

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