Saturday, January 11, 2014

Ricotta Cheese

Today I did something daring.   I bought raw milk.  I have heard about raw milk and how much better it is for cheese making.  Lately I started trying to find milk that would make better cheese and that is when I stumbled upon a co-op in NYC that specializes in bringing a lot of dairy and other farm foods to the masses safely.  This afternoon with the company of my good friend Angela, I picked up my first two gallons of raw milk.  When we got back to my apartment, I had my husband drink both the raw milk and our whole milk in a blind taste test.  He said the raw milk did taste like it had more fat, but the flavors were similar, so the jury is still out about the raw milk in our home.  My plan today was to make ricotta cheese with one of the two gallons of raw milk.  I have been reading about ricotta and what it is and how to make it.  True ricotta is made with the whey from making mozzarella cheese.  Now the mozzarella cheese process I posted about before is the American Mozzarella cheese and uses citric acid.  True Italian mozzarella is made using cultures from buttermilk and yogurt and allowed to curdle for a much longer time.  The true Italian mozzarella has a different whey than American, since an acid isn't used to curdle the milk, and so the ricotta is different.  I also read that making ricotta (Italian for twice cooked) from whey is difficult and doesn't make very much or is even successful every time.  I decided to use the vinegar method, since it has yielded the best results for most home cooks.  I used the Capone Food's Ricotta Recipe mostly, I changed it a little.

Homemade ricotta, so easy and perfect for all sorts of yummy recipes.

 Ingredients for this recipe are: 1 gallon raw milk or whole milk, 1 pint Half & Half if using raw 
milk or 1 pint heavy cream if using whole milk, 1 tablespoon salt, 1/2 cup vinegar.

 Heat milk and salt in non-reactive stock pot on medium heat until it reaches 185 Fahrenheit.
Stir milk to prevent scalding continuously.

Add vinegar.  Stir for 15 seconds.  Cook for additional 2 minutes and remove from heat.

Pour curds into cheesecloth lined mesh sieve placed in larger bowl.  Allow to drain in refrigerator
for 2 hours or overnight if possible.
This is not true Ricotta, but it is so much easier to make and has a similar texture and flavor.
This Ricotta will keep for two weeks in the refrigerator.


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