The differences between yogurt and cottage cheese


In recent years, dairy consumption in our country has continued to decline. Yet bread and other grain products are increasingly being replaced by dairy products at breakfast. What is the difference between yogurt and cottage cheese? And which one is healthier?

What is yogurt?

The word yogurt comes from the Turkish yoğurt. Centuries ago, people discovered that you could also make yoghurt from milk – for example from a cow. Bacteria play an important role in making yogurt. Yogurt is found all over the world and because a different type of bacteria is used everywhere, the taste of the yogurt also differs everywhere in the world.

In the Netherlands we generally make yogurt with two different types of bacteria: Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. It is precisely the bacteria that make yogurt very healthy. Yogurt contains many probiotics, but also important vitamins, minerals and proteins. Yogurt is packed with calcium, protein and vitamins B12 and B2. We all know that calcium is good for our bones. Protein contributes to muscle growth and recovery and vitamins B12 and B2 contribute to the proper functioning of the nervous system and digestion.


Yogurt is an easily digestible dairy product. People generally tolerate fermented milk products better than unfermented milk. That's because of the bacteria. During fermentation they have converted the milk sugars (lactose) into probiotics. Yogurt contains virtually no lactose. Yogurt must contain a lot of bacteria before it can be called yogurt. Every gram of yogurt contains at least ten million living bacteria!

What is cottage cheese?

Cottage cheese is actually a very fresh cheese made from milk, lactic acid bacteria and rennet. Our southern neighbors know this product as flat cheese and in France you can find it as fresh cheese or white cheese. Cottage cheese can also be made from goat's and sheep's milk, but according to the Commodities Act, cottage cheese may only be called that when it is made from cow's milk. Additional ingredients may be added to the cottage cheese that you can buy in the store, but the protein content must be at least 60%. The high protein content makes cottage cheese very popular among athletes.


What is the difference between yogurt and cottage cheese?

Although they may look similar, yogurt and cottage cheese are completely different. Cottage cheese is basically a very young cheese, while yogurt is a milk product. Good bacteria are added to the milk that eat the lactose and convert it into probiotics. This will cause the milk to become thicker and more sour and eventually become the dairy product we know as yogurt.

When making cottage cheese, rennet is added to the milk. Rennet comes from animals and therefore cottage cheese is not vegetarian. Because of the rennet, the cottage cheese contains more proteins than yogurt.

Cottage cheese and yogurt also differ in fat content. Of the two dairy products, cottage cheese contains the most fats and therefore the most calories. There is a difference between the two products in terms of taste. Yogurt has a more sour taste, while cottage cheese is slightly sweeter.

Yogurt or cottage cheese: which is healthier?

When we look at the nutritional values, we see that there is a difference between yogurt and cottage cheese. Low-fat cottage cheese contains more calories than low-fat yogurt. Full-fat cottage cheese provides 121 kcal, low-fat cottage cheese 52 kcal, while low-fat yoghurt, for example, contains only 38 kcal. Cottage cheese also contains more protein, namely between 8.2 and 8.9 grams. Yogurt contains between 3.3 and 4.5 grams of protein.

Of the two, cottage cheese is the fattiest. Full cottage cheese contains 8 grams of fat, low-fat cottage cheese contains 0.1 grams of fat. Low-fat yogurt contains less, namely only 0.1 grams of fat, and full-fat yogurt contains 3 grams of fat.

We can therefore only properly answer the question of which of the two is the healthiest if it is clear what exactly we mean by “healthy”. In any case, both yogurt and cottage cheese fit into a healthy diet. Whether yogurt and cottage cheese are really healthy depends largely on the things you add to your cottage cheese or yogurt. Cruesli and muesli are often used, but add a lot of sugars and therefore a lot of calories to your bowl of yogurt or cottage cheese. Whether yogurt or cottage cheese is better depends on your nutritional goals and what you eat for the rest of the day.

Can you replace cottage cheese with yogurt and vice versa in a recipe?

Although cottage cheese and yogurt may seem similar at first glance, they are two completely different products. Cottage cheese is a very young type of cheese, while yogurt is a milk product.

Whether you can replace cottage cheese with yoghurt or vice versa depends on the reason why yoghurt or cottage cheese is used in the recipe. For example, you cannot make cheesecake from yogurt. However, in a recipe for a smoothie from the blender, for example, you can replace the yogurt with cottage cheese. In general, you can often use cottage cheese in recipes instead of Greek yogurt, sour cream with ricotta, cream cheese, mascarpone and cottage cheese.

What is that water in a container of yogurt or cottage cheese?

If you do not completely eat a container of cottage cheese or yogurt, but put it back in the refrigerator, you will often find a layer of water in the container the next day. That yellowish layer may not look very appetizing, but it can't hurt.

During production, whey is created, which is a milk protein. This whey fluid is trapped in the cell walls of the milk until these walls are broken. This happens, for example, when you shake the milk well, but also by stirring it with a spoon. The liquid whey is released and will eventually reach the surface. That layer of water in your bowl of cottage cheese or yogurt is simply whey.


Of course you can pour it out and rinse it away. But keep in mind that whey is extremely healthy. Whey contains many probiotics, calcium and proteins. So it's best to simply stir it back into your cottage cheese or yogurt. What you can also do is collect it and throw it in the blender with the rest of the ingredients the next time you make a smoothie. That makes your healthy smoothie even much healthier.

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