Sunday, June 26, 2011

Fresh Homemade Ricotta

Homemade Ricotta

OK, I understand that making cheese sounds like an insane proposition. I understand that it sounds like a ton of work. And I understand that it sounds completely and utterly insane to do when the weather outside is amazing and you just want to sit outside in the sun and do nothing. Believe me, I almost didn't make this cheese for all of these reasons.

But, then I thought about sitting on the deck eating freshly made ricotta and sipping a glass of wine, and that sounded better. So I did it. And I was shocked. Completely shocked with how simple this could be. I never even dreamed of making my own cheese because I thought it would be complicated, involved, all that. I'm here to tell you it is easy. Really easy. Easier than making most breads. No joke. It takes maybe 15 minutes of real actual work and 2 hours of patience. Honestly, waiting two hours for it to strain is the hardest thing about this recipe.

Make it. Today. For real.

Homemade Ricotta
Source: Smitten Kitchen

3 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

In a medium sauce pan fitted with a candy thermometer, heat milk cream and salt to 190, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add lemon juice. Stir once or twice just to combine all of the ingredients and then let it sit for 5 minutes.

While the cheese is sitting, line a fine mesh colander with several layers of cheese cloth set over a large deep bowl to catch the whey. After the 5 minutes are up, pour the cheese over the strainer. Let sit for 1-2 hours. 1 hour of straining will give you a smoother spreadable cheese. 2 hours will make it a little thicker. I let it strain for 2 hours and it was wonderful.

Store in a air tight container in the refrigerator.

Serve as normal ricotta on top of eggs or pancakes or in creamy pasta dishes. We had it fresh on top of little slices of toasted baguette. Delicious.


PS. Wondering what to do with all that leftover whey? Stay tuned. Don't throw it away! It makes pancakes. Really good pancakes.

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