Time for another selection of home-made cheese. This month our selection is Whole-Milk Ricotta. For those of you who may not have read my last Curds Our Whey post, we are using the book Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll, and each month are making a different cheese.
This ricotta was very easy and quick to make. Like the mozzarella, the cheese will taste very similar to what your milk tastes like, so use a milk you like and don't try to go with the cheapest.
I used my ricotta in a Ricotta Cheesecake, which wss posted on April 7th. I also mixed some of the ricotta with chopped basil, thyme, and chives, spread it on half of sliced baguette, then on the other half topped with sauteed shallots and grilled chicken, then placed under a broiler for a minute to heat the cheese. Yum!!
Here the curds are beginning to form.
Curds still aren't ready - you can see the whey is still milky-colored instead of being clear.
The curds after they just been scooped out of the whey.
The curds are tied in cheesecloth and hung for about 30 minutes to drain.
This is the completed ricotta. Sorry about the blurry picture.
1 gallon whole milk
1 teaspoon citric acid dissolved in 1/4 cup cool water
1 teaspoon cheese salt (optional)
1-2 tablespoons heavy cream (optional)
1. Add the citric acid solution and salt into the milk and mix thoroughly.
2. In a large pot, directly heat the milk to 185 to 195 degress F (do not boil). Stir often to prevent scorching.
3. As soon as the curds and whey separate (make sure there is no milky whey), turn off the heat. Allow to set, undisturbed, for 10 minutes.
4. Line a colander with butter muslin. Carefully ladle the curds into the colander. Tie the corners of the muslin into a knot and hang the bag to drain for 20-30 minutes, or until the cheese has reached the desired consistency. The cheese is ready to eat immediately. For a creamier consistency, add the cream at the end and mix thoroughly.
5. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.
Yield: 1 1/2 - 2 pounds.