Monday, June 23, 2008

Comfort Food Mondays - Homemade Ricotta

I. HAVE MADE. CHEESE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, I feel mighty.  Yes, I feel invincible.  Yes, I will do it again.

I read this post on Thursday Night Smackdown and just knew I had to try it myself.

It couldn't be easier.  Just stir 4 parts whole milk and 1 part buttermilk together in a pan.  Heat it slowly (med-high heat), stirring until it starts to steam.  Then stop stirring until it reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit.  Skim off the curds into a cloth-lined stainer and you have CHEESE!

The Curds Draining

A few things to note:  nothing happens until the temperature is over 160 degrees.  So you'll be standing there thinking, "This isn't working.  What am I going to do with five cups of nasty-tasting hot milk?"

Stay calm.  It will work.

180 Degrees of Separation

At 180 degrees, you can see a little separation.  But it's not really dramatic.  Have faith.  Using a slotted spoon or ladle, gently skim off the foam from the pan - it's about the consistency of shaving foam.  It's very delicate at this point.  Spoon it into the strainer and let the whey drain out.

Light and Delicate Curds

Five or ten minutes later, it will have come together into a soft spreadable ricotta cheese.

At this point, the flavour is mild to the point of blandness.  Depending on what you're going to do with it, you can leave it as is, add some salt, some lemon zest or herbs.

Spread it on crackers, use it in a recipe, show it to everyone you know while marvelling at your own wonderfulness.

 There It Is!  On The Left!!!

4 comments:

Jane M said...

That's so cool! For some reason I never thought of cheese as being something to make at home. In my mind it's been firmly placed in the "you buy that at the grocery store and it's complete" group of foods. But that borders on science experiment neat factor.

Barb McMahon said...

Science class never tasted this good....

I shall be awaiting your photos on Flickr.

glenfarmsgourmet.com said...

I'm sure to try this recipe! I love easy cheese-making and have done it for a long time.
Here's our favorite and also super-easy:
Cream Cheese
1)1 tub plain Balkan Yoghurt (Balkan is our choice, not too "bite-y)
2)-Place yoghurt in colander lined with cheesecloth or fine undyed cloth overnight. Leave at room temperature to drain over a sink or bowl, making sure the cheese or cloth doesn't sit in the whey. (refrigerate only after the cheese is finished.)
3)- remove from colander and cloth, place in bowl and
4)stir in salt to taste for plain OR
-your choice of fresh herbs:
We're enjoying garlic-dill-nasturtium flower this week. OR
- add a heaping teaspoon of your favourite marmalade or jam for a wonderful spread on bagels or pear slices.
5)-Once you've salted or flavoured your cheese, it's ready to eat, but I prefer to and always drain it a bit more in a small cheesecloth-lined basket for another 2 or 3 hours.
This makes a denser cream cheese and when inverted on a pretty plate takes on the shape and weave of the basket.
Enjoy!
Judie Glen

Barb McMahon said...

I'm drooling....