Yeah, yeah, I know, 2 weeks and no new posts! I have been so busy in “real estate” world that at this point I’m not sure that I know my name! It’s a good thing and I’m sure as heck am not complaining! Along with being crazy at work, I also got some weird stomach virus and eating food let alone making it has been the furthest thing from my mind all week! It’s just been maddening I’d say, a food bloggers worst nightmare! Enough of my drama! Onto Ricotta…
With my theme of ‘don’t buy it, make it”, I decided to make some ricotta cheese. It’s one of the easiest things to make, as it is really a process than a recipe. The kiddos could even help out on this one!
Here is a picture of what store-bought ricotta cheese has in it. Pretty gross in my book. If we all stopped eating “modified corn starch” and other “gummy” additives, we could all probably be a whole lot healthier. Check it out.
Icky, huh? The first time I made homemade ricotta cheese was at cooking school in Tuscany a few years back. We went to a sheep farm and made it from sheep’s milk. We “milked” the sheep and took the milk to make cheese. It couldn’t be any fresher. The way that the farmers made it was just fresh sheep’s milk, vinegar and salt. In Tuscany, most ricotta is made from sheep or goat’s milk because that is what is readily available to them. They eat from the land and what is available! Awesome. In America and because our government says so, you can’t drink raw milk (unless you own your own cow). All our milk is required to be pasteurized. Bummer, fresh or raw milk tastes so much better but It is what it is, you can still make cheese. (If you are a blessed person who owns their own cow, please tell me how deliciously amazing it tastes)! Okay, I digress. I am headed over to Europe in a couple of weeks and I can not wait to eat what the Europeans eat. I’m giddy! LOL. Foodie Field Trip!
Anyway, making your own ricotta cheese tastes 100% better than the store-bought variety and in literally the time it takes you to make a salad you can make cheese! Who knew? The great thing also is how often do you use ricotta? It’s well worth it (and less expensive) than buying it. Let me take that back, you will always use ricotta if you make it on your own!
Here’s how it goes.
- 3 cups whole pasteurized milk (do not use ultra-pasteurized)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 tbs white vinegar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Put all ingredients except vinegar into a large pot.Let simmer until 200 degrees.
- Turn off heat.
- Add vinegar. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Stir lightly. Then leave it alone.
- While the cheese is resting in the pot. Line a colander with double thickness cheesecloth and place in a large bowl.
- Pour cheese mixture into a colander and let sit for at least 30 minutes or longer depending on the consistency that you like. The longer you let it sit, the dryer it becomes.
- That’s it.
Start with the best milk that you can find. This is what I use in Colorado. It’s super fresh milk from a local farm. I picked it up at Whole Foods. I’m sure any variety will work though.
Here is the first step of the process and what the curds and whey look like after about a minute. Let it sit here for 5 minutes with the heat turned off.
Once you put in a colander, let it sit like this until you reach the consistency that you like. The longer you let it sit the drier it becomes. This picture was after 30 minutes and a smooth creamy consistency that I like. On a final note, if you are a protein smoothie drinking person. Don’t throw out the whey. Just add it to your next shake! It’s the same as adding the whey protein powder! Just refrigerate it for no longer than a couple of days!
See how easy this is? Make your own ricotta. It’s easy to be a hero and your next lasagna will never be the same. Heck, put this on toast with jam! It’s that good!