Is There Lactose in Cottage Cheese?

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  • Written By: C.B. Fox
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2019
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The amount of lactose in cottage cheese can vary considerably depending on the process used to make it. Though there is always some lactose in this cheese, when it is made with fermented milk products, it does not contain much and is usually well-tolerated by people who have trouble digesting lactose. The fermentation process allows bacteria in the cheese to break down lactose and transform it into lactic acid. Cottage cheese that is soured through other processes may have a considerable amount of lactose in it.

When it is made in the traditional way, cottage cheese contains only a small amount of lactose. In the traditional process, buttermilk, which is a fermented milk product, is used as the basis for the cheese. In order to make buttermilk, a bacterial starter is added to milk and then the milk is left at room temperature for between 15 and 24 hours. During this time, bacteria in the milk, such as acidophilus or bifidus, feed on the lactose and secrete lactic acid as a byproduct. Though these bacteria do not consume all of the lactose in the buttermilk, they are able to eat most of it in this amount of time.


After the milk has had time to ferment, it can be used to make cottage cheese. The curdled milk is cooked slightly until the curds have hardened and separated from the whey. At that point, the whey is drained and the cottage cheese is allowed to cool. The amount of lactose in cottage cheese such as this will not usually be enough to bother people who are lactose intolerant.

Large curd cottage cheese may have significantly more lactose in it than small curd cottage cheese. This is because the cheese is made quickly and is curdled in part through the use of rennin. The milk is fermented for less than an hour, giving the bacteria very little time to transform lactose into lactic acid. The amount of lactose in cottage cheese made in this way is usually similar to the amount found in fresh milk.

It is possible to buy dairy products, including cottage cheese, that have been treated so that they are completely free of lactose. Lactase, the enzyme used to digest lactose, is added to these products to pre-digest the lactose before a person eats it. By carefully controlling this process, manufacturers of lactose free products are able to ensure that there is no lactose in cottage cheese at all.


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Post 4

SteamLouis, yoghurt has very little lactose, because it is fermented by lactobacillis bacteria, which turns the lactose into lactic acid to harden the proteins and make it into yoghurt.

Post 3

@fify-- What you heard is true, goat milk has less lactose than other types of milk and most people who are lactose intolerant can have it without issues.

I'm kind of surprised that you can't tolerate cottage cheese because cottage cheese is very low in lactose like the article said, because of how it is made. I wonder if the product you tried was not up to par. You should give another cottage cheese a try, preferably an organic one and see how it goes.

You can always switch to goat milk products. Goat milk and cheese have a distinct taste that takes some time to get used to, but they're very healthy and safe for those with lactose issues.

Post 2

Has anyone here tried cottage cheese made from goat milk? Do you know about the lactose content in this type of cottage cheese?

I've heard that goat milk has less lactose than cow milk. I get upset stomach from cottage cheese made from cow milk so I'm looking for a safe alternative.

Post 1

All milk products have lactose but cheese seems to have the least amount when compared with milk and yogurt. I have issues with lactose and I have to drink lactose free milk. But I don't have any issues with cheese. I can eat cottage cheese without any digestive troubles.

I'm very happy about this because I love cottage cheese and I'm following a low carb, high protein diet. Cottage cheese is high in protein and calcium and I don't know what I would do if I couldn't have it anymore.

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