Cottage cheese is a common ingredient in many of my vintage cookbooks, usually as a proxy for ricotta or some sort of farmer’s cheese. I suspect that a mid-century home cook didn’t have access to the embarrassing variety of cheeses we have available today. Even my local discount grocer reliably stocks a decent Edam and a competent variety of aged Italian cheeses. And so I wince a little bit when I see a lasagna or a pierogi or even a cheese danish stuffed with cottage cheese, but I also understand the circumstances. But cottage cheese also shows up frequently in bread recipes, with unexpected and often amazing results. The Airy Light Casserole Bread from my mother’s old cookbook is a family staple. I’m not sure what voodoo magic the cottage cheese works, but that recipe produces an impossibly fluffy bread.
The recipe collection from St. Casimir Church has a couple of cottage cheese breads as well. One is a cottage cheese crescent roll recipe that I haven’t gotten around to making yet. It’s equal parts cottage cheese and flour with a couple of sticks of butter and a dash of salt. No rising. No nothing. I’ll get around to it one of these days. Another is a cheese doughnut recipe, which resembles a popular ricotta doughnut served at one of our local favorites. If I can find a good caramel sauce I’ll have to give that one a shot.
But the easy family favorite is the Cottage Cheese Pancakes. In part because they’re tasty, and in part because they fool you into getting your protein. The primary ingredients are eggs and cottage cheese, with just a smidge of flour, so each pancake has four or five grams of protein. The texture is a little bit on the eggy side, but whatever voodoo magic happens in the Casserole Bread keeps it light. The end result is more like a well-made Swedish pancake than an omelet. My family treats it like a normal pancake with syrup, but I prefer them with a little bit of butter and jam. And you can whip them up in ten or fifteen minutes.
- Place all ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Mix with an immersion blender until impossibly smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl from time to time with a spatula to ensure all cottage cheese curds are pulverized.
- Cook in a medium frying pan until light brown, about 2-3 minutes until edges are bubbly but not dry. Flip and cook 1-2 minutes more.