How to make Ricotta

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Have you ever wanted to make a cheese at home and impress your

friends or dinner party guests?  Well now you can VERY SIMPLY!!

 

Making your own cheeses at home is good fun and allows you to enjoy

your cheese knowing exactly what has gone into it. Some cheeses are

easier to make than others; one of the easiest is ricotta, a soft,

creamy, mild Italian cheese. Ricotta cheese is thought to originate

from Roman times, when travelers stopped in the countryside and

cooked their meals in large kettles over open fires. The literal

translation of ricotta is “recooked”. Ricotta is extremely high in

calcium: one half-cup contains 42% of the recommended daily dose.

It is a fresh cheese, rather than ripened or aged, such as brie and

camembert. Strictly speaking, ricotta is not a cheese but a

by-product of cheese production, but is widely classed as a cheese

alongside all the other popular varieties enjoyed by cheese lovers

all over the world.

 

To make homemade ricotta cheese, you will need one litre of whole

milk, 1/2 cup white vinegar, a heavy-based stainless steel or

enamel pot,cheesecloth ( or a clean chux cloth), a strainer and a

cooking thermometer.

 

Before you start on your cheese, rinse your pot with cold water;

this will help stop the milk from scorching. Then, pour your milk

into the pot and put it on a medium heat. Stir the milk now and

then as it heats,keeping an eye out for bubbles around the edges of

the pot. If you see any, check the temperature of the milk; you are

aiming for between 90 and 95 degrees. Take the milk off the heat as

soon as it reaches this temperature, and add the white vinegar

slowly and keep stirring as you add it.  As soon as you see the

milk curdling, stop pouring in the vinegar but stir it for a little

longer..

 

Next, wet your cheesecloth and put it into the strainer. Then pour

your mixture through the cloth and strainer. Twist the ends of the

cloth and tie them securely before hanging it over a large bowl.

Let it drain for another two hours, or in the refrigerator

overnight. Your homemade ricotta is then ready to eat;

alternatively, transfer it to a tightly sealed container and it can

be kept in the refrigerator for up to seven days. Ricotta tastes

great in salads and pasta dishes (including lasagna, ravioli and

cannelloni) and is sometimes used in cheesecakes. It is an

incredibly versatile cheese, equally suitable for both savory and

sweet recipes. Ricotta served simply with chocolate shavings or a

dusting of cinnamon is a popular dessert in Italy.

 

You can add herbs and salt while still warm or use the ricotta in

desserts and then……

 

 

 

Keep being ewenique!

 

Diane Rae

Master Cheesemaker

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