Less Noise, More Green: Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

When I purchase raw milk, one of the dairy products I always make is ricotta cheese. This is such as easy cheese to make, even for someone who is a complete novice, and you don't need any special enzymes or cheese making equipment.The higher the fat content of the milk, the more cheese you will make.

Ricotta Cheese

2 Liters full cream raw milk
1/2 cup of cream
3 tbsp. white vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt.

Ratio of milk/cream to vinegar from http://slowlivingessentials.blogspot.com/2010/08/homemade-ricotta.html

Pour the milk, cream and salt into a large pot. Stir over medium heat. Here is the only tricky part. You want to add the  vinegar just before the milk comes to a boil. Add it too soon and the milk won't curdle right away, making you continue to heat until it does reach boiling, then you have to add more acid. The result can be rubbery curds.Wait too long, let the milk boil, and you have spoiled milk.

 I wait until there is a lot of steam and the start of bubbling around the sides. Add the vinegar and stir for another fifteen seconds or more as the milk curdles. Remove from the heat.

Cover a large sieve with the muslin and place over a bowl. You may need two bowls, so have a second one standing by! Gently pour the curdled milk into the sieve. The whey will collect in the bowl. You can decide at this point how firm you want the ricotta. I was planning on making eggplant parmesan so I wanted the curds quite firm. I waited until the cheese was fully drained. The longer you leave the cheese, the firmer it will be. Remove the cheese and store in an air tight container for up to a week.

Don't throw the whey away! You can store it in the fridge and use it for making bread or other baking. This recipe makes a lovely creamy ricotta.

If yo are interested in learning more about making cheese, I would recommend Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll. Known as the Cheese Queen, Ricki runs cheese classes out of her home in Massachusetts. One day I'll find the time to take a class!


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