Most cheese is made from casein curds, the lumps formed by the casein protein when the whey liquid is removed from milk. Most of the lactose in milk stays with the whey, so cheese is lower is lactose than almost all liquid dairy products. The aging process for cheese almost literally squeezes even more of the whey out of the cheese, so aged cheeses typically have little to no lactose. The vast majority of people with lactose intolerance (LI) can have at least some aged cheese with no symptoms.
Soft cheeses, on the other, keep more of the whey liquid - that's what makes them soft - and so have lactose levels in between those of regular milk and hard cheese. Check out my Lactose Percentages page on my website.
Cottage cheese is a soft cheese. Those with LI can have some but need to be cautious.
But what about pressed cottage cheese?
You got me. I never heard of it, until I was just asked about it.
But the good news is that pressed cottage is essentially dry cottage cheese: cottage cheese with the whey pressed out of it. Therefore, it's a low-lactose product.
And it comes under a host of aliases: hoop cheese, farm or farmer cheese, baker's cheese, and pot cheese. And it's also similar in manufacture to the Indian cheese paneer and the Mexican queso blanco or queso fresco.
The Cook's Thesaurus gives simple instructions for making your own:
Notes: This mildly acidic fresh cheese is made by pressing much of the moisture out of cottage cheese. Some varieties resemble a very dry, crumbly cottage cheese, while others can be sliced. It's primarily used for cooking. To make your own: Wrap cottage cheese in cheesecloth and place in a colander or strainer nested inside a bowl. Place in the refrigerator until much of the liquid has drained into the bowl.