DIY: Home made Ricotta Cheese
Life is great. Cheese makes it better
- Avery Aames
And home made cheese makes life even much better!
The only reason that I decided to make Ricotta at home was because it's not available here (except once that I got it by pure luck). However, the reason that I will now make it at home and you should as well is, because it tastes far superior than store bought one. In fact, once you've tried your hand at making cheese at home, most likely you wouldn't want to buy it. Home made ricotta is so soft, velvety and creamy, it would be hard to believe that you have made it yourself :)
It's absolutely not true when people say that making cheese at home is a tedious, tiring process that requires special equipment. It's just not. You just need a cheesecloth, milk, colander/strainer, lemon juice and in some cases rennet and a food thermometer. See? what's special in that? and in case of Ricotta, you just need the first four things.
Ricotta is one of the most versatile cheese. Though, it's widely used in savory dishes, it works equally well and tastes absolutely delicious in desserts. Ricotta in Italian means 'recooked' and is traditionally made from the whey that is left after making mozzarella. However, in modern times it's even made with milk and that's what I've done today. Instead of using just plain milk, this recipe also calls for heavy whipping cream which gives the cheese a silky smooth texture. The milk that I've used is raw whole milk but you can use use other whole milk as well. Just don't use skimmed or non fat milk as there's nothing left in it to derive. Don't use UHT pasteurized milk either since it's treated, making the curd separation very difficult.
So let's get on to making creamy and luscious Ricotta Cheese at home!
Recipe Source: The Mozza Cookbook by Nancy Silverton
Makes about 730 grams / 1.5 lb Ricotta Cheese
2 litres / 0.5 gallons / 8 cups whole milk
500 ml / 17fl ounces / 2 cups heavy whipping cream
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed, strained lemon juice
3 teaspoons kosher salt (if you're going to use the ricotta for desserts, omit the salt)
Without stirring, pour the milk, cream, lemon juice, and salt in a small heavy-bottomed stainless steel saucepan and bring to a boil.
Turn off the heat and set the saucepan aside until the mixture cools slightly, 5 to 10 minutes. (You’ll see the “ricotta” separating into curds).
Line a strainer or colander with cheesecloth and place it in the sink. Scoop the curds out of the saucepan (don’t pour, as you don’t want to break up the curds) and into the strainer to drain.
You can use the ricotta while it’s still warm, or tie the cheesecloth on to the handle of a long wooden spoon. Place the spoon over a bowl or saucepan so the bundle is hanging over the bowl, and place it in the refrigerator to drain until you are ready to use it, or for up to two days.
Use this super soft and creamy ricotta in your favorite savory or sweet dishes :)
I've stored some ricotta in the freezer, let's see how it turns out. What have I done with the rest of it? I made Ricotta Cheesecake! Recipe coming soon....
Happy Cheese Making!
I've included this recipe for Recipe Exchange on the super talented Merissa's blog www.littlehouseliving.com. To view other fun recipes, please click here.