Organic cottage cheese is a type of soft, fresh cheese that has been manufactured without the use of pesticides, growth hormones, or preventative antibiotics. The cheese itself is usually made from buttermilk, which can be created as a natural byproduct of the butter-making process or by fermenting milk. Organic cottage cheese takes no more than a day to make and needs to be consumed promptly or kept for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator so that it does not spoil.
In order to label a product as organic cottage cheese, a cheese-maker needs to follow a set of guidelines. Though the specifics of organic certification vary from country to country, one standard requirement is that the animals used in the cheese making-process are fed organic grains. These grains need to be grown on land that has been free from non-organic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers for at least three years. The animals must also be allowed to mature naturally and cannot be given hormones or non-organic supplements to increase their rate of growth or milk production. Additionally, the animals cannot be given antibiotics unless they are ill and require veterinary treatment.
The organic milk produced by animals raised under these standards of care can be used to make organic cottage cheese. In most cases, cow milk is used in this type of cheese, but it is also possible to make cottage cheese out of the milk of other dairy animals, such as sheep or goats. During the process of cheese making, organic ingredients must be kept separate from non-organic ingredients that the factory may also handle.
The process of making organic cottage cheese is the same as the process used to make non-organic cottage cheese. The milk used in the cheese is fermented for a day or less, depending on whether renin is used and the desired size of the curd in the cheese. It is then slowly heated until the curds harden. Once the curds are the desired texture, the whey, or liquid portion of the milk is rinsed off and the cottage cheese is allowed to cool in a refrigerator.
There are a number of varieties of organic cottage cheese available. It can be made from the milk of different animals, each of which will produce a cottage cheese with a slightly different flavor. It can also be mixed with fruits, jams, herbs or spices, much the way yogurt is, to produce flavored cottage cheeses.