Saturday, 12 November 2011

My "how to make" ricotta cheese recipe! Mmmm...

I LOVE cheese and have wanted to make Camembert and Bries as well as Blue Veins and Feta's at home since I worked in a cheese factory in my early 20's. Its not quite that easy to make these cheeses at home but its quite easy to make a full milk ricotta! It takes all of 20 minutes and tastes real good!

Here's how I did it...

Dissolve 1 teaspoon of citric acid (in the baking isle at the supermarket with baking powder, gelatin and the like) in 1/4 cup of cold water.

Once dissolved, pour it into 2 litres of cold milk in a pot on the stove.

Stir and mix well and then turn the heat on. Stir continually so that the milk doesn't catch and burn.

As the milk gets hotter, you will see lumps starting to form as the milk begins to coagulate.

This is the beginning of your cheese forming.

Using a thermometer, heat the milk gently to 85 degree's Celsius, stirring all the time.

Once you get the milk to 85 degrees, turn OFF the heat and leave it to stand for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, prepared a colander with a piece of cheesecloth (most material shops will sell you a 1/2 metre for a few $. If not try a (new) open weave dishcloth like the ones in the picture. The dishcloth's weave isn't as big and so it will take longer to drain the cheese.

Put the colander and the cheesecloth in the sink - this bit can get a bit messy.

Your cheese should show plenty of separation after 10 minutes. This is the curds and whey - just like Miss Muffett ate!

Put the pot on the bench near the colander and start ladling the curds and whey into the colander.

The whey will drain through and into the sink and the curd will gather in the bottom of the colander.

Ladle all the contents of the pot into the colander. 

Gather the four corners together and ties a knot in it to hang the cheese up to drain.

After coming home and finding a few of my Jerry rigged brooms and chairs up on the kitchen bench, my husband put a hook in the ceiling above the sink and unbent a coat hanger for me to use to drain my ricotta from!

Wait for the cheese to stop dripping - probably about 10-15 minutes (more if you like your ricotta dryer)

When you reckon its at the right consistancy, tip it into a bowl.

Scrape the cheesecloth clean with a spoon - waste not want not!

Add a blob of cream if you like it creamy and a pinch of salt (it will really improve the taste  - try it both ways) and mix thoroughly!

And that's it - Home Made Full Cream Ricotta! Mmmmmm...!!!!

Score card:Green-ness:  4/5 (5/5 if its your own or a neighbours unpasteurised milk straight out of the cow!)Any homemade food is always greener than the bought stuff - no food miles either!
Frugal-ness: 4/5 Much cheaper than buying ricotta from the shops! (and it tastes nicer too i think!)
Time cost: Under 1/2 an hour if you have all the bits to hang the cheese - if you cant do it over the sink like I do - hang it from a tree outside!
Skill level: Pretty Darn Easy! And yummy to boot!
Fun-ness: Great fun - as is anything you can eat!

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