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Monday, September 3, 2012

Ricotta

I made Ricotta Cheese this week.  It is pronounced Re-Co-Ta with an Italian accent in three syllables and emphasis on the "T".  I am from Utah.  I have a Utah accent, for which my husband ridicules me relentlessly.  I pronounce it Rick-ada with two syllables and no discernible "T" because as a Utah native I replace all the "T"'s with "D"'s in words and run them together (ahhh regional colloquialisms).    
6 cups Whole Milk, not vitamin D milk, or 2% milk, but whole cream in milk.  It took some time but I finally found it at Sprouts, formerly known as Sunflower Market.
2 Tbs vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice.  I think they meant fresh squeezed lemon juice, but I used bottled lemon juice and it had the same effect.
A pinch of salt for taste.  The first batch I did not use any salt and it was a bit bland so I added some sea salt to the second batch and that helped it quite a bit.  A gallon of whole milk makes 2 and 1/2 batches of ricotta or about 3 to 4 cups.
 Heat milk to 180 degrees over medium heat, that is almost to a boil, but not boiling yet.  I used a candy thermometer to get the right temperature.  Remove milk from heat and add 2 Tbs vinegar, 1 tsp lemon juice, and a pinch of salt.
 The milk will begin to curdle instantly.  Let it sit for about 5 minutes.
 Drape a strainer with 3 layers of cheese cloth.
 Scoop out ricotta cheese curds with a slotted spoon into the cheese cloth, or just pour the whole pan in to strain it all at once.  I do not know what to do with the extra whey yet, so I just drained it down the sink.
 Fold up the sides of the cheese cloth and tie it onto a spoon (Note: Artfully fire hardened wooden spoon, so rustic) over a large bowl to let the whey drip out.  Let it sit for an hour or two as to completely drain.  Unwrap the ricotta and store it in an air tight sealed container in the refrigerator.  It is good for about a week.
 I made lasagna.
 Then I added the rest to some sausage, green onions, and pasta.
Delicious and easy to make at home rich ricotta cheese.  Enjoy.