Thursday, August 25, 2011

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

 
Living in New York you have access to so much incredible food. 

Tasty restaurants on every corner. 
Every type of cuisine within minutes of you home. 
The best pizza you have ever had only 5 minutes down the street.  


But it’s not just restaurants, it’s markets and specialty food stores as well.  I’m sure you know by now that I make almost every meal at home.  Because of this I always have a stocked pantry and refrigerator.  I go to the grocery store everyday, sometimes twice or three times.  Living in New York makes this so much easier.  All I have to do is grab my grocery bag, my wallet, and walk right down the street to the local market.  It makes going grocery shopping so much more easier and convenient.   And what makes it even better is that these markets are incredible.  They have fresh fruits and vegetables, organic products, amazing fish and bread counters, and great high end products that are always so hard to find.  I get giddy when I go grocery shopping… It’s great :)!


One of my favorite things at my local market is the incredible array of cheese available.  There is one wall in the market that is almost completely dedicated to cheese… It’s amazing.  Seeing all of these great cheeses daily gets my mind turning about making my own cheese.  I know, it sounds so strange.  Make you own cheese?  Can you do this at home?  It is hard?  I’ve never tried it before so I didn’t know if it was possible or hard it would be.  But after a little research I was able to find out that it’s really not that hard.  At least some types of cheeses.  


Probably the easiest and quickest cheese to make is Ricotta.  It has simple ingredients that come together very quickly.  All you need is milk, cream, salt, and lemon juice.  What you do is boil the milk, cream, and salt, and then add the lemon juice.  Let it curdle and pour it through a strainer with cheesecloth on top.  Let it sit for an hour and then chill in the refrigerator.  That’s it!  Sounds easy, right?!  We’ll I’ll tell you what… it is!


It was such an accomplishment when I finished making this cheese!  I was so happy that I made my first cheese.  Now I’m hooked and I want to try more types.  I’m thinking Mozzarella next :).  


I smeared the ricotta cheese on a crusty baguette.  That’s the way I love eating it.  It was delicious!  Creamy, slightly tangy, crumbly, and of course… cheesy.  I also want to try cooking with it, such as lasagna and stuffed shells.  Mmmm… I’ve opened up a whole new door and I’m so excited!





Homemade Ricotta Cheese
For Printable Recipe, Click here!
 
Makes: About 2 cups

2 quarts (8 cups) Whole Milk
1 cup Heavy Cream
½ tsp. Salt
4 tbsp. Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
Cheesecloth, preferably Fine-Mesh

Place a large mesh strainer (sieve) over a large bowl.  Place the cheesecloth over the strainer.  I doubled up the cheesecloth.

In a large, heavy pot, bring the milk, cream, and salt to a boil over medium heat.  Be sure to stir the mixture ever so often so the bottom and sides don’t burn.  When the mixture has reached a rolling boil, add the lemon juice and reduce the heat to low.  Begin stirring constantly until the mixture curdles, about 2-4 minutes. 

Pour the mixture into the strainer through the cheesecloth.  Let it drain over the bowl for 1 hour.  When an hour has passed, pick up the cheese clothing and transfer the ricotta cheese to a container.  Seal the container and let chill in the refrigerator until completely chilled, at least 1 hour.  Serve on baguette (or whatever you prefer) and enjoy! 

The ricotta can last in a sealed container in the refrigerator for about 2 days. 

Recipe from Epicurious, who got it from Gourmet, April 2006. 

10 comments:

  1. Wow!
    What a great idea! You have to make ricotta for us when you get home!
    You can make lasagna tonight or put it in your pasta instead of adding parm.
    mmmm :)

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  2. This is absolutely amazing... I'm in awww....

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  3. @MommyTanya
    It IS easy... Trust me! I believe you can totally do it :)

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  4. wow! That's awesome! I will definitely be trying it! Thanks for the post!

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  5. If you ever do make mozzarella, you can make ricotta with the leftover whey!  It's awesome.

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  6. I can't wait for you to share the mozzarella...
    The ricotta was  easily made, and delicious...
    Thank You  Amber..

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  7. What if you wanted to make part skim What would you adjust?

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