Thursday, August 3, 2017

Homemade Ricotta

Nothing beats being self sufficient and making your own food. It's quite therapeutic if you are into that sort of thing. I love it. To me experimenting with food to make other food is quite like a hobby. One follows a recipe and other times one doesn't. I honestly believe that if you are enjoying yourself and the outcome is good well it's a win-win situation.

Recently Noel and I participated in a cheese and bread making course. It was an all day event hosted by Tamara from Boatshed Cheese down in Dromana, on our beautiful Mornington Peninsula.  Tamara runs a variety of cooking classes which are homely, comfortable and as there are only a small amount of participants per class they are very easy to follow and you have a opportunity to be hands-on during the classes.  If you can get in you should do yourself a favour and book a class.
Fresh ricotta is a magnificently easy and quick cheese to make as far as cheeses go - the longest part of the process is actually boiling the milk.  You will require to have a food grade thermometer to ensure temperature accuracy. Once the milk starts to reach heat the temperature moves fast.
What ever you do please do not buy fancy vinegar.  This recipe requires good old plain white vinegar so don't go all out there flavoured or imported vinegar. Cheap white vinegar is best because it has a high acidity level.  It's not added for flavor - it's added to simply acidify the milk and will do nothing to the actual taste of your cheese.

Homemade Ricotta

Makes: 1.5 kilograms approx.
10 litres cows milk (full cream or low fat) or goats milk
1 - 2 tablespoons salt
200 - 250 millilitres plain white vinegar

Heat the milk to 60 degrees Celsius over high heat, stirring constantly

When milk has reached 60 degrees Celsius add salt and stir well.

Continue stirring while heating until the milk reaches 90 degrees Celsius or 85 degrees Celsius is you are using goat milk.

As the milk edges past 9 degrees Celsius (or 85 degrees Celsius if using goats milk) add the vinegar and stir until flecks begin to appear on the surface.

Remove from the heat and continue stirring for a few seconds until the liquid turns a clear almost greenish tinge and the coagulated curds are clearly visible.

Allow to sit undisturbed for 5 minutes so that curds can rise to the surface.

Using a slotted spoon, scoop curds into ricotta baskets or cheese moulds or even a colander and drain over the sink for 30 minutes then transfer to a bowl or container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Store in an airtight container for up to 7 days in the refrigerator.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

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