Get Your Own! How Make Your Own Ricotta Cheese

Get Your Own! How Make Your Own Ricotta Cheese

Does anyone have a count of how many times I have mentioned how much I love ricotta cheese? I think the obsession started when I visited

Anfora Wine Bar for the first time

and spread some of their signature perfectly whipped, salty-sweet version on a piece of airy toast. It was a testament to the benefits of homemade: so much more flavor! And so much room for innovation.

So I decided to make my own. Because my cholesterol was getting dangerously low, and I needed to have a steady stream of cheese-related fats in order to counteract that. I looked around and found a bunch of very helpful instructions on making ricotta cheese. I was assured it would be easy.

The first time I tried it, I failed miserably. I looked away for a second and the whole mixture on the stove top boiled over and made quite a mess. Which I should be used to by now.

Take away lesson:

Don't boil your ricotta milk.

Anyway, I had MUCH success the second, third and fourth times. I have created a few different variations with instructions below. There is also a helpful video that shows the EXACT MOMENT of cheese formation. Are you all a-tingle? I bet you are.

Recipe 1:

Ricotta Cheese whipped with Olive Oil and Truffle Salt

What You Need:

makes about 1 cup ricotta cheese

2 cups whole milk (reduced fat just doesn't work as well) + 2 Tbsp

2/3 cup buttermilk

1 Tbsp white vinegar

Truffle salt to taste (you can use regular sea salt if you don't have the fancy truffle variety)

2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Equipment:

Small pot

Candy thermometer (something that reads at least up to 180 degrees)

Cheesecloth

Colander

Slotted spoon

What To Do:

Cut enough cheesecloth to cover the bottom of your colander. 4-ply the cheesecloth to make sure no actual cheese escapes - just water!

Pour 2 cups of the whole milk, all of the buttermilk and all of the white vinegar into a small pot outfitted with a thermometer. Heat this over medium-low heat and babysit it. The babysitting involves you watching like a hawk and stirring occasionally so it doesn't boil over.

The thermometer will start to creep toward 160 degrees. This is the action zone. Your milk/buttermilk will start to separate and curdle. This is one of those rare occasions when curdling is a good thing. Stop stirring and let the milk completely separate and curdle. Remove from the heat.

Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the curdled portion (this is your ricotta!) and place it on the cheesecloth that is sitting in the colander. Let it drain for about 10 minutes.

After draining, I transfer it to a container (like a tupperware container, as you can keep your chemistry experiment in the fridge for up to a week). With a fork or a whisk, add in your 2 Tbsp of milk, the olive oil and the truffle salt. Give it a good whipping.

I add this last extra step as ricotta can get a little dry from the draining. Especially if you leave it in the colander and forget about and say...oh start vacuuming your apartment or something. This makes it moist and flavorful.

Recipe 2:

Ricotta Cheese whipped with Milk, Honey and Sea Salt

What You Need:

makes about 2/3 cup ricotta cheese

2 cups whole milk (reduced fat just doesn't work as well) + 2 Tbsp

Juice from 1/2 a lemon, squeezed directly into the milk

Honey - a tablespoon or two

Sea Salt

Note:

For this version I didn't use any buttermilk. Works just fine!

Equipment:

Small pot

Candy thermometer (something that reads at least up to 180 degrees)

Cheesecloth

Colander

Slotted spoon

What To Do:

Cut enough cheesecloth to cover the bottom of your colander. 4-ply the cheesecloth to make sure no actual cheese escapes - just water!

Pour 2 cups of the whole milk and lemon juice into a small pot outfitted with a thermometer. Heat this over medium-low heat and babysit it. The babysitting involves you watching like a hawk and stirring occasionally so it doesn't boil over.

The thermometer will start to creep toward 160 degrees. This is the action zone. Your milk will start to separate and curdle. Stop stirring and let the milk completely separate and curdle. Remove from the heat.

Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the curdled portion and place it on the cheesecloth that is sitting in the colander. Let it drain for about 10 minutes.

After draining, I transfer it to a container. With a fork or a whisk, add in your 2 Tbsp of milk, honey and sea salt. Give it a good whipping.

Here is a video that demonstrates the heating and curdling process:

[wpvideo GDV74QTD]