Ok. So I’m late in posting this. The spirit was willing, but the flesh was weak. The appetite remains, so here I am. Welcome to my version of…Absolutely Georgeous Ricotta Cheese
Now I wanted to see what all the fuss was about in comparing and contrastig cheese making. I thought….how much variance can you get…on THREE INGREDIENTS across a few continents making ricotta?! Well, probably quite a bit! Here’s what happened when I made 3 batches of ricotta. I made these first two varieties side by side…then a few days later, I made a final batch which I discuss and picture a little later on.
Of the two I made today…one ricotta was made using the cooktop method and lemons as the acidic ingredient….and the other batch using a thermomix and vinegar.
Now…when you collect they whey…DO NOT THROW IT AWAY! There a so many uses for it and it is SO good for you. I always make Ricotta Whey Bread. It has a tartness like sourdough, but a creamy, pillowy light pull to the texture of the bread. You can find the recipe here. You usually get at least 2 large loaves out of one batch of Ricotta Whey Bread.
…How I didn’t crumble into a heap on the kitchen floor is beyond me. But no. I stood tall, and changed my story! I was going to make something out of the end product which would be JUST RIGHT. So what did I do? I returned it to the cooktop…poured in 1/3 cup of lemon juice and watched the curds form like pillows of love.
Oh yeah, babyyyy…
Can you believe I cook with those fingernails? I just can’t give up the glamour, can I?!
Recipe for Home-Made Ricotta
2 litres whole pasteurized milk
1/2 cup Double Cream
1/3 cup lemon juice OR distilled white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt (adjust for sweet/savoury use)
- Pour milk in a large, heavy non-reactive pot on medium heat. Slowly heat the milk, stirring occassionally. As steam starts to form above the surface of the milk and tiny bubbles form, check the temperature. It should reach 83 degrees celcius (or 180-185 degrees farenheight) which is near scalding temperature. Remove from heat.
- Add add the vinegar (or lemon) and and salt, and stir gently for 60 seconds only. You will notice curds forming immediately. Cover with a dry clean lid or kitchen towel and leave the mixture to sit for at least 2 hours or so. Do not disturb it during this time.
- Line a colander with dampened cheesecloth or muslin, and using a slotted spoon, ladle out the ricotta into the muslin cloth. Place the colander inside of a larger pan so the ricotta drain freely into it. Let it drain until your cheese reaches the desired consistency.
- Tie the muslin up by its four corners and gently twist until the liquid runs clear.
- Refrigerate until ready to use.
Ok. Here is my 3rd attempt. It eventuated with the most ‘traditional’ texture and appearance. I think I know why, and also why the thermomiz method produced such little whey. Maybe.
I heated the milk on the cooktop so, so slowly. I let it slowly simmer up to 83 degrees, taking over 45 minutes to get there. Then I added the acid, and the curds redeemed were large, fluffy and exactly like the fresh ricotta mum would buy when she’d drive me out to the middle of farm land territory to buy our fresh ricotta from the cheese factory in Balcatta.
When I was about 3 or 4 years old…that farm seemed light years from home. Even the smell of the whey brings me back there. Food memories. It’s amazing how powerful they are.
* Store ricotta in an air tight container for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.
* I would only recommend using full fat milk for ricotta.
* You can add more or less cream to this recipe to get to the desired texture/flavour you require.