Making ricotta style cheese
Thursday’s Food story will have some great recipes for late season produce, including baked tomatoes topped with ricotta and basil. You can buy ricotta, which is a fresh cheese that should be eaten within a week. But it’s easy to make, especially if you can find good organic whole milk and cream that’s been pasteurized but not homogenized. Any good milk and cream will do, but as any good cook knows the results are closely related to the ingredients, so find the best milk and cream you can.
You can make a lighter cheese by eliminating the cream and using another cup of milk instead. Or you can blend cow’s and goat’s milk together for a tangier cheese. Want a drier cheese? Drain for about 8 hours. Prefer it creamier? Drain for 3 hours or less.
The recipe is from the newly published Locovore’s Kitchen from Ohio University Press
HOMEMADE RICOTTA STYLE CHEESE
(Makes one pound)
7 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
3 Tablespoons distilled white vinegar
Rinse a large, very clean, heavy nonreactive pot with cold water. (This helps prevent scorching of milk) Add the milk and cream. Stir in the salt. Place pot over medium heat and heat, stirring occasionally, until very hot but not boiling, about 180 to 185 degrees. Check temperature with a thermometer. Remove from heat and add vinegar, stirring gently until fine grains begin forming.
Cover with a dry clean, lint-free cotton towel and allow to sit undisturbed for at least 3 hours and up to 8 hours. Dampen a few layers of cheesecloth or a clean, lint-free cotton cloth, and line the inside of a small colander or strainer suspended over the sink or a pot.
Pour or ladle the ricotta into the prepared colander and let it drain freely for two hours – less if you want a creamier ricotta, more if you want it drier. Lift the cheesecloth up and twist gently to extract excess water (which should appear cloudy, not clear) Turn the ricotta out from the cheesecloth into a container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate. Enjoy within a week.