Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Homemade Ricotta

Yield: approximately 300-400 grams 


There are many uses for ricotta, it is delightful served for breakfast or as treat with honey and fresh fruit. Serve it on bruschetta with fresh or roasted tomatoes, and is widely used in various pasta fillings or as an ingredient in baking cakes and tarts. I also use it in a lovely fresh pasta, made with orecchiette or penne rigate with fresh tomatoes, basil and Parmigiana Reggiano.

I don't think you'll ever buy ricotta again after you taste what you've made! Homemade ricotta is tender and light tasting, if you use organic milk and cream, the taste will reflect the provenance of these ingredients.

 Ingredients
  • 4 cups organic whole milk
  • 1 cup 35% organic cream
  • ½ tsp sea salt (optional)
  • 3-4 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Cheesecloth, double layer
  • Thermometer: I use a candy thermometer, but you can also use an instant read one if that’s what you have.

Method
  1. Stir together milk, cream and lemon juice in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 170°F. As the milk comes close to 170°F turn the heat up to medium high but do not allow to boil. Note: To keep the curd large do not stir more than 3-4 times.
  2. Continue to heat the mixture until the temperature reaches 205°-208°F. By the time the temperature comes to 205°F, the curd will mound on a spatula like soft white custard and the liquid will be on the verge of boiling. If you lift the curd you will see the whey underneath, it won’t be completely clear but should not have any milk solids remaining.
  3. The mounds will look as if they are about to erupt, but don’t let this happen, remove from heat immediately and allow to sit for about 10 minutes.
  4. Line a colander or strainer with double thickness dampened cheesecloth and place over a large bowl. Turn the mixture into it and drain for about 15 minutes until cheese is thick. TIP: Retain the whey in case you have drained too much liquid and the cheese is drier than you want it to be. Mix in some of the whey until you have the desired consistency.
  5. Turn cheese into a storage container, add salt if desired, and refrigerate.


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