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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

I hadn't made ricotta cheese in a very long time when an old friend who always gets me out of my cooking ruts and trying new things showed me the Fine Cooking.  Very yummy!

Unlike other homemade cheeses, ricotta requires neither cultures nor rennet. All you need is a half-gallon of milk and a lemon or two. The secret is to heat the milk slowly at a low temperature, stirring only a few times. Make it in the morning and by lunch time you can just drizzle it with honey or olive oil and herbs and eat with crusty bread and call it dinner.  This recipe makes about 2 c. of ricotta.

  • 1/2 gallon whole milk
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1-1/2 to 2 lemons)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
  • 1 1/2 Tsp. Kosher or sea salt 
 Add the milk and cream, if using, to the pot and stir. Place the pot over low heat and attach a candy or cheese thermometer to the inside of the pot. Heat the milk mixture to 175°F. This should take 40 to 50 minutes, and you can stir once or twice over the course of this time.
Raise the heat to medium-high, and without stirring, watch the pot until the temperature reads 205°F. The surface of the milk will look like it is about to erupt, but it shouldn’t boil. Remove the pot from the heat and add lemon juice and salt.  Stir gently, and watch the change occur. Gradually you will see the separation of the curds and whey.
Lay a fine-meshed sieve over a large bowl or jar and line it with a double layer of damp cheesecloth. Pour . Let the cheese drain for an hour, or longer if you want it to be thicker.

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