Is Cottage Cheese Gluten Free? (And what can you do if it’s not)
Gluten free is one of this decade’s “buzz words” with people repeating them over and over again in restaurants, bakeries, coffee houses and supermarkets.
While many of the people who insist on getting gluten free products aren’t actually allergic or sensitive to gluten and many don’t even know what gluten is, gluten allergy is a very real thing that can have a very negative impact in people’s lives.
Because of this, it pays to ask know what has gluten and what doesn’t, so you know what foods to avoid even without asking.
Some foods are fairly straightforward, like breads and pastas, but others, such as cheese and other animal products aren’t as obvious. Today, we’ll tackle a particular kind of cheese that is a fantastic ingredient for healthy meals but might’ve been avoiding just in case it has gluten.
What Is Cottage Cheese?
Cottage cheese is a type of curded cheese that’s known for its mild flavor and its excellent health properties.
Not only is it one of the healthiest cheeses out there, thanks in part to the benefits it offers to your digestive system and the fact that it’s relatively low in calories, but it’s also one of the most versatile.
Cottage cheese can be eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner, serving as toast spread, pureé, salad ingredients, as a healthy replacement for mayonnaise, combined with fruits to make a delicious dessert and even as an ingredient for cheesecakes and the like.
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Because of its versatility and prevalence in many types of healthy dishes, it’s one of the cheeses people will gluten allergy will frequently run into, so it pays to know whether you can eat it or not.
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Is Cottage Cheese Gluten Free?
Long story short? Depends on who makes it.
Classic cottage cheese is usually gluten free, as it is made with three simple ingredients: Milk, a curdling agent and salt. All of which can be used to create a gluten free cheese.
The problem starts when people add other ingredients, be it preservatives, added flavors and any other ingredient that alters the original recipe.
So whether a cottage cheese is or not gluten free boils down to what the manufacturer used to create it.
Did they use gluten free vinegar? Did they use starch to make the cheese thicker?
To answer this, you’ll need some knowledge on what ingredients are gluten free and a magnifying glass because the safest way of avoiding cottage cheese with gluten is to comb through the ingredient list in the label to see if it’s safe to eat.
Most brands will usually use gluten free ingredients to create their products but don’t get too excited about it because not using products with gluten doesn’t necessarily means gluten free.
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Check for Cross Contamination
A gluten allergy should be treated like any other allergy which means that you should always be wary of cross contamination.
Even if a brand doesn’t use any products with gluten to make cottage cheese, you can’t be certain that there wasn’t any kind of cross contamination.
Maybe the mixing tools they used for the cottage cheese were also used for bread dough; Maybe the containers used to store the milk were used to store something with gluten.
So yeah, even if most brands of cottage cheese are technically gluten free, it’s hard to know for sure.
What Should I Do? Should I Avoid Cottage Cheese?
There are three things you can do:
1. Hope you aren’t allergic enough to be sensitive to cross-contamination
2. Purchase cottage cheese made by brands that are specifically gluten free.
3. Make your own cottage cheese.
Yup! Cottage cheese can be made at home which will not only save you money but will allow you to make sure you’re not eating any pesky gluten.
Here’s what you can do:
How to Make Gluten Free Cottage Cheese
1. Pour one gallon of pasteurized skim milk in a saucepan and, using medium heat, heat it up to 120 degrees. Remove from the heat.
2. Gently pour in ¾ cup of gluten free vinegar and stir slowly so that the milk starts to curd
3. Once the curd separates from the whey, cover and let the mixture sit for around 30 minutes at room temperature.
4. Pour the mix into a colander lined with cheesecloth and let it drain for around 5 minutes.
5. Safely gather your cheese in the cheesecloth and rinse it under cold water for 5 minutes or until it’s completely cooled. Squeeze and move the mix the entire time.
6. Once cool, squeeze the mixture until you get rid of as much humidity as possible and place in a mixing bowl.
7. Add salt to taste and stir. This will help you break down the cheese into cuds and add more flavor.
And there you have it. You now have 100% gluten free cottage cheese.
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