Italian Recipe Series: Handmade Ricotta

Is there anything better in life than good cheese?  I think not.  I have wanted to try my hand at making fresh cheese for a while, but wasn’t sure where to begin.  I hopped online and did some research on what varieties were easiest for first-timers, and got a lot of encouragement while reading recipes for ricotta. It was really not bad at all!  I will say this, though: read the recipe several times through to know what you you are getting yourself into, and give yourself plenty of time.  This recipe is easy, but it does have several steps that take multiple hours.  Patience.  You will be rewarded.

○HC Hamblin

○HC Hamblin

I followed this recipe from  Allrecipes.  I modified it slightly by cutting it in half, because I wanted to start off small.  Here we go:

½ Gallon Whole Milk

1 Pint Buttermilk

½ Pint Heavy Cream

1 ½ tsp. Kosher salt

Cheese cloth

○HC Hamblin

○HC Hamblin

Combine all of the ingredients in a heavy-bottom pot over medium heat, and bring to 190*.  Stir occasionally for the first 10 minutes, then watch the temperature, and let it do its thing after that.  Once it reaches temperature, cut the heat and let it sit in the pan for 1 hour.

○HC Hamblin

○HC Hamblin

Okay, this step took way longer than I thought it would.  I was worried about scalding all of those fresh dairy ingredients, so I let it come to temperature really slowly.  45 minutes slowly, to be exact.  Patience is a virtue.

Then, take a slotted spoon and gather all of the fresh cheese curds into your cheesecloth over a strainer.  Think of Little Miss Muffet eating her curds and whey.  

○HC Hamblin

○HC Hamblin

Pull the corners of the cheesecloth up around the ball of cheese and tie.  Place a wooden dowel or spoon over a bowl, and hang the balls of cheese at room temperature for 2 hours.

○HC Hamblin

○HC Hamblin

Now you can throw the balls of cheese into the fridge overnight, in an airtight container.  When you wake up, there will be magic in there.  

○HC Hamblin

I served mine on a cheese tray with honey and olive ciabatta bread.  I also ate it the next day on crackers with fresh strawberries and balsamic vinegar.  It was so wonderful!

This was an easy and inexpensive experiment that I will definitely try again.

 

 

-H.C. Hamblin

Comments

  1. I love eating lasagna, so it helps to learn what it takes to make fresh ricotta. It’s interesting that the cheese has to hang in a cheesecloth at room temperature for a couple of hours before throwing it in the fridge. It helps that you pointed out how it needs to be put in an airtight container when putting it in the fridge to keep it cool until the next day. That’s a detail that I need to remember to have good ricotta.

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