What is the difference between ricotta cheese and cottage cheese?

  • Posted by: Kt4
  • February 24, 2012
Creamy Homemade Ricotta
Recipe question for: Creamy Homemade Ricotta


lapadia February 26, 2012
RE: ricotta. When making cheese the soft white curds rise to the top, separating, leaving the whey underneath.

There are several uses for whey, and traditionally ricotta was made by reheating the whey by-product from certain hard cheeses such as mozzarella & provolone, but ricotta can it also be made by extracting curds from milk, as the recipes are done on this site.

RE: cottage cheese. A while back I researched cottage cheese making, recipe onsite: http://www.food52.com/recipes/8222_creamy_homemade_cottage_cheese
Cottage cheese is made from milk and an acid (lemon juice or vinegar) and extracting the curd byproduct from the whey, like all other cheeses start out. My recipe uses whole milk and lemon juice, later I rinse the curd to get out the acidity before breaking into little cheese curds; after all this I add salt to taste and an addition of cream, yogurt or milk to make it creamy.

NOTE re: cottage cheese whey – I never save my cottage cheese whey, it has an acid taste, not as pleasant and rich tasting as the ricotta whey would get from Jennifer Perillo’s recipe. I infuse the whey with herbs and use it: http://www.food52.com/recipes/6791_infused_ricotta_whey

Also, years ago, for the heck of it, I re-cooked my cottage cheese whey in hopes of extracting curd for ricotta but was not successful, upon further research I found the “twice cooked” whey for ricotta making comes from certain hard cheeses, as suggested above.

Some cooks to use cottage in place of ricotta for many recipes…I don’t.
PistachioDoughnut February 25, 2012
Susan G - you are absolutely right about the video of making ricotta. I was so confused at first because that's how I make Paneer at home. And, I press paneer once all the whey is removed using cheese cloth and then place a heavy bowl mostly full of whey or beans to give it a firm texture which results in cube of paneer. Later on use the whey to knead dough to make chapatis or paranthas. They real make good chapatis.
Personally, I feel Ricotta is little bit sweet, and as said above grainier compared to cottage cheese.
Maedl February 24, 2012
If I remember correctly, ricotta literally means recooked or cooked twice. When you make it, you begin with whole milk and first make mozarella. Then the part that is is left over, whey, is recooked, rennet is added and the ricotta results. The ricotta is packed into a basket (modern ones are plastic with lots of long slits) and left to drain. The basket is turned upside down, the ricotta falls out, and is ready to be used either plain or in recipes.
susan G. February 24, 2012
Actually, these homemade ricotta recipes on the site are not made from whey, but they (like paneer) start with some kind of milk. I have seen directions to make cottage cheese using rennet -- I wonder if that makes a larger, more firm curd?
PistachioDoughnut February 24, 2012
PistachioDoughnut February 24, 2012
1. Cottage cheese is made from the curd byproduct, whereas ricotta is made from the whey byproduct of cheese production.

2. Ricotta cheese is said to have a lighter texture when compared to cottage cheese.

3. Cottage cheese is said to be lumpier than ricotta cheese.

4. Ricotta cheese is also grainier in texture than cottage cheese.
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