Cottage Cheese

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Cottage Cheese

In the ancient world as in today's the first stage in preparing cottage cheese required cooking.

Cottage cheese is the first stage for all cheese. Of the three references to cheese in the Bible the closest to cottage cheese is Job's complaint: "Hast thou not pourest me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese?" (Job 10:10)

Fresh milk curdles readily when placed in a warm spot. The presence of rennet from an animal stomach, sap from a fig or artichoke or the seeds of saffron, helps insure proper curdling. All these substances were common in ancient times. Consequently, the people of Bible days, who were without refrigeration, undoubtedly had cottage cheese as often as they had yogurt which also occurs from the natural action of certain bacteria on milk.

Cheese appears in many ancient records from Egypt, Greece, Rome, etc. Sumerian texts from 2000 B.C. speak often of cheese. The Latin writer Columella in the first century A.D. described cheese that must be sold as quickly as it is made "for it does not keep." His instructions for making cheese "to be eaten fresh" are identical with modern recipes for making cottage cheese. He tells us that after the milk has been curdled and the whey drained off it is mixed with salt and dried. Then it is ready to eat.

Even today Bedouin tribes follow a practice that must date back to prehistoric times. They pour fresh milk into a leather bag and allow it to sour. The resulting whey is a popular drink in a hot, dry climate. The remaining curd which they eat is cottage cheese.

Cottage cheese is also known as Pot cheese, Dutch cheese and Schmierkase. It is usually made from skim milk. Creamed cottage cheese has pasturized cream or whole milk added. Dry cottage cheese is simply the drained curd without added cream. Of course, ours is made from cow's milk but it can be made from any milk.

Unlike whole cheeses like Swiss and Cheddar, cottage cheese is very low in fat content and somewhat lower in protein. Consequently its calorie count per pound is less than a third as much as these other types. Since it contains few calories plus the nutritional values of milk (in somewhat different degree) cottage cheese is popular in reducing diets. Here are modern recipes that will give you some new thoughts on the versatility of this cheese.

From: Cookbook of Foods From Bible Days by Jean and Frank McKibbin, copyright 1972, published by Voice Publications.

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