Oh, oh, oh! Guess what I did?! Guess what I did?!
Okay, fine, then. I'll tell you. I made ricotta cheese! It's a miracle!
While I've longingly yearned to learn and make cheese for some time, I've kept putting it off for one reason or another. But then, as my mouth watered for homemade pasta with fresh ricotta cheese, the learning commenced. And here we are.
I've heard that ricotta and mozzerella are good introductory cheeses for beginners. And this ricotta couldn't be easier. There are absolutely no cheese make supplies required, other than some cheese cloth, which made it super easy to jump into.
And, on top of that, it's divine. So much richer than store-bought ricotta. The flavor is absolutly wonderful.
Homemade Ricotta Cheese
You will need:
– 3 1/2 cups organic whole milk (NOT ultra-pasteurized)
– 1/2 cup heavy cream (NOT ultra-pasteurized)
– 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
– 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Step One: Heat the milk and cream together on a stove until they reach 190 degrees, stirring to prevent a scorched-pan.
Step Two: Remove the pan from the heat. Add in three tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Gently and slowly stir one time.
Step Three: Let the pan sit undisturbed for 5-10 minutes.
Step Four: While the mixture sits, line a colander with a cheese cloth (folded in half for double the thickness). Place the colander over a large bowl so that it will catch the runoff liquid (also know as, whey).
Pour the milk mixture over the cheese cloth and allow it to strain for two hours. Do you understand why they call it cheese cloth now? Get it? Cheese cloth? For cheese? Nevermind.
Step Five: Once the mixture has strained to your desired consistency (the longer you let it strain, the thicker it will become), mix in the sea salt & bam, baby! That's how you make ricotta! Store the cheese in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Oh, and all that beautiful whey that drained off? Save that in the fridge, too! Remember all those wonderful benefits of, whey? Sneak some in your morning smoothie, my friend.
Step Six: Eat the ricotta on baguettes. Or sourdough crackers. Or soaked wholegrain crackers. Or soaked whole wheat toast. Or sourdough english muffins. Or with slices of fresh fruit. Oh just dream of the possibilities!
…or do as I am going to do, and attempt to make gluten-free pasta from scratch and stuff it with this amazingly delicious cheese. It's very creamy, almost like a cream cheese spread (though not quite as dense). I've often bought ricotta from the store, only to find it flavorless and watery. But not this ricotta, oh no. Mmm…I can already hear my tastebuds singing.
And this beautiful ricotta is only be the beginning. Now that I found out my local health food store carries rennet, our kitchen is about to get wild and crazy!
On top of wanting to be a professional Mom, photographer, author, and chef when I grow up, I think that now I'd also like to be a professional cheese maker. And if this ricotta is a sign of how things are to go, well then my friends, we are in for some delicious treats.
That being said, I will now leave you to go finish up the sweet little knitted sweater I am making for Georgia that has consumed my entire weekend. Blogging and knitting at the same time can be quite challenging, as one only has two hands to knit (or type) with at any given moment. Thus, I must resign myself to one task at a time.
And since G-love is currently napping…onward I knit.
By the time this sweater is finished, I'll only have put 74 hours of hard labor into it! Quite cost-effective, if you ask me.