On “Blintz Cheese”

Several questions and comments came in over the weekend on cheese for blintzes. Isn’t “real” farmers’ cheese the best? Can you use ricotta? Can cottage cheese really be considered “authentic?”

Personally, the main thing I look for when choosing a cheese for blintzes is texture. I want something that’s flavorful of course, but even more than that something that’s not too soupy, that won’t leak out the sides of the blintz or release too much water. Farmers’ cheese and cottage cheese are by and large the same thing. Both are made by curdling hot, whole milk with an acid (a little vinegar, lemon juice, buttermilk or rennet). Ricotta is very similar in that it’s made from whey (specifically, the whey that’s left behind after cream has been curdled into cheese).

Any of those small-curd cheeses will work very well as blintz filling. The only trouble is that since they’re all strained but not pressed, they can be wet. That’s why it’s a good idea to stabilize them by stirring in a little cream cheese.

8 thoughts on “On “Blintz Cheese””

  1. I don’t find that cottage cheese and farmers cheese are really the same when it comes to cooking. I find farmers cheese to be much drier than cottage cheese and much smoother in texture, too. And I find that it is drier than regular supermarket ricotta, too. If I was really forced to use something other than farmers cheese, I would go with a whipped cottage cheese and just use much more cream cheese (which is more or less what you did). Totally agree that cream cheese stabilizes–as Ann Hodgman once wrote, “Cream cheese is truly a miracle fabric.”
    BTW, speaking of truly authentic blintz cheese, have you ever tried something called tvorog? I bought some once and it was smoother and drier than farmers cheese and tasted like a cross between cream cheese and farmers cheese. I think tvorog is Eastern European farmers cheese.
    And you can make it at home.

    1. Yes, I think you’re right on all counts. What I meant there was that they’re made via the same processes. I do think farmers’ cheese tends to be drier. I’ve never tried tvorog, but I’m intrigued. I wonder where I might be able to find it?

        1. Oh, and I think there is a Russian food store in Louisville (Golden Key) and another in Lexington (European Gourmet).

          1. Oho! And how do you know that? The yellow pages — or are you a native?

  2. The reason (I believe) cream cheese works so well as a binder for the filling is because of the additional emulsifiers/binders present in it. Many commercial cream cheeses use carageenan to maintain texture. You could just bust out your home molecular gastronomy kit and add a quarter teaspoon to achieve a similar outcome!

    1. That’s exactly right. Cream cheese makers employ several different types of stabilizers to keep the cheese from separating, and when you add cream cheese to something you make at home, you co-opt those stabilizers for your own purposes.

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