May 31, 2012

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Last night, I made my annual trip to Forest Park for the Shakespeare Festival. This year's performance was Othello, and--as always--it was absolutely wonderful.

For my over-achieving picnic, I made four new recipes...all things I've either pinned to or found on Pinterest. I'll be posting some of the recipes and pictures over the next week or two.

My first dish for the night was homemade ricotta cheese served on crostini with roasted grapes. This was the first time I'd made cheese. I now can't imagine buying that grainy shit they call ricotta from the supermarket ever again. THIS was worth the minimal effort it takes to make.

This kind of soft, fresh cheese is very easy. It's done in just 3 steps:

1. Boil milk, cream, and salt.
2. Add lemon juice & simmer for a couple minutes, until the curds form.
3. Drain in a cheesecloth-lined sieve.

BOOM! Then you've got cheese. HOMEMADE cheese. It was one of those "Look what I made!" moments for me. (Check out photos of the process at the end of this post.)

Homemade Ricotta
recipe from Epicurious 

8 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • Line a large sieve with a layer of heavy-duty (fine-mesh) cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl.
  • Slowly bring milk, cream, and salt to a rolling boil in a 6-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. 
  • Add lemon juice, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture curdles, about 2 minutes.
  • Pour the mixture into the lined sieve and let it drain 1 hour. 
  • Discard the strained liquid and transfer the cheese to a container with a lid. Chill the ricotta, covered. It will keep in the refrigerator for 2 days. 
This is what the ricotta looks like just after it "curdled."

This is what it looks like after draining for an hour.
Here is the finished cheese.

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