Friday, January 13, 2012

Homemade Ricotta cheese

Here it is, fast and easy. I Promise.

Non-reactive pot, stainless steel or enamel
Wooden, plastic, or stainless steel spoon
Candy thermometer (not a necessity but makes this easier)
Cheese cloth, muslin or clean dish towel (for the latter two you will also need kitchen string)
Large bowl, preferably one the colander fits in
Storage containers
Time.10-40 minutes to stand in the exact same spot stirring, constantly, OR a helper to do it for you.

1/2 gallon milk (I used whole milk, because that's what we had)
1tsp citric acid (lemon juice also works, but we have a giant tub of citric acid to use for cleaning and canning)
1 or 2 tsp kosher salt, I use 2 tsp because I like it, but the recipe calls for 1 tsp.
About a Tablespoon of water.

Start by dissolving the citric acid in the Tbsp of water. If you are using lemon juice you are good to go. Pour milk into pot. Add half the acid and all the salt. Place candy thermometer in milk. Turn on burner.

You want to slowly heat the milk to 185 degrees. This only took me about 10 minutes, and I didn't do it terribly slowly and I had a less than constantly stirring helper and mine turned out scrumptious.

When it reaches 185 degrees it should start to curdle on its own but it might not, this is where the thermometer is very helpful.

You can't read that but it says 185!

At 185 degrees, sdd the rest of the acid and remove from heat.
It curds up REALLY fast. Suppress the urge to stir, stirring gives you smaller curds, as you can see ( I couldn't resist it). Ha!

Leave it alone for 15-30 minutes, the longer you leave it the more defined the curds will be.

Line your colander and place it in a large bowl.

Careful, "them curds be hot" (in a pirate voice), pour your curds and whey into the cheese cloth, muslin, towel lined colander.

If you are saving the whey, which I HIGHLY recommend, place the colander in a large bowl. If you aren't keeping the whey (for shame) you can place the colander right in the sink.
You have made curds and whey! Congratulations!
Then tie the curds up and let them drip for 15 minutes or so. The longer you let it drip the drier the curds will be, the shorter amount of time the wetter they will be.
Something like this, if your curds don't sit in the whey than there is no need to hang them.

When they have dripped enough it is time to save the whey. Yes it looks a little odd all washed out with a green tint, but I assure you it is wonderful stuff.

 There are lots of uses, I have learned, for whey. And since you will have a quart and a pint, at least, from this recipe, I suggest you familiarize yourself with a few of them.

I used this whey in place of a stock in a soup recipe yesterday and it was marvelous. I also used it in place of water to cook our brown rice and this mornings oatmeal, and just like that it is gone. Really it is very useful, keep it, you wont be sorry.

Now that they whey is handled it is time to admire, and taste, your curds. Have a small spoonful, make the Yummy face, try not to eat it all. It is scrumptious.

Beautiful, right
And then put your curds in an airtight container and there you have it. 1 Pint of homemade Ricotta cheese and a quart and a pint of whey.
  whey and 1 pint Ricotta.

Put it all in the fridge, the Ricotta should be used within a few days, though I used mine the same day. And the whey will keep for about 5 days to a week. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. I cannot wait to try this! Thanks for sharing the how to and for posting so many pictures (which this visual learner appreciates) xo