Q.: Is there any place to buy dry cottage cheese locally?
— C.D., Norton
A.: Oh, how I wish there were! I get this call often from local cooks who are looking for it to use in old recipes for everything from blintzes and palacinke to cheese bread.
Sadly, there is no store that I know of in the Akron area that sells dry curd cottage cheese. Until a few years ago, Dean’s Dairy from Sharpsville, Pa., carried the product and it could be special-ordered through local Giant Eagle stores, but Dean’s no longer carries it.
The closest place to Akron to purchase it that I have found is Irene Dever’s stand at the West Side Market in Cleveland, where it sells for $4.50 per pound. If anyone knows of someplace closer, let me know so I can spread the word.
Dever’s stocks it most of the time, but doesn’t always keep it during the summer because it spoils quickly. Also, there typically is a greater call for it at the holidays when home cooks are making old ethnic favorites. So call first to make sure it’s in stock, 216-696-4567. The West Side Market is at 1979 W. 25th St., in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood. It is open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday and Wednesday and 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
A Wisconsin cheese maker, the Westby Cooperative Creamery, will ship it to Ohio. Creamery store manager Jacque Shay said shipment to Ohio typically takes two days, but when the weather is very hot, the store may need to overnight it to keep it from spoiling.
Shay recommends ordering a 4-pound tub, which sells for $11.55 ($2.89 per pound). Standard two-day shipping — it comes packed on ice in a cooler — costs about $15 to Ohio. Overnight shipping to Ohio is closer to $80, so it’s best not to wait until it’s 90 degrees outside to order.
Shay said the store will freeze the cheese before shipping it. When it arrives, it still will be partially frozen, but loose enough to be broken up and divided into 1-pound containers. She recommends immediately freezing what won’t be used within a few days. Westby’s dry cottage cheese will last up to a year in the freezer, she said.
To order, phone 800-492-9282, ext. 4.
If you need a substitute, you can try farmers cheese, which is easy to find in many grocery stores, or ricotta, but it is much wetter than dry cottage cheese and doesn’t work as well in a lot of recipes. Some folks have success draining regular large-curd cottage cheese in the refrigerator for a day or two to make their own dry curd.
Got a food question? Lisa Abraham has the answer. Call 330-996-3737; email her at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Ask Lisa” in the subject line; or write to her at 44 E. Exchange St., P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309-0640. Please include your name (initials will be printed on request), hometown and phone number.