I have always wanted to make cheese at home. But you know how those things go... it's just something that I talk about but keep putting off. Yesterday when I saw ricotta in our recipe I decided to stop putting it off and give it a try! Ricotta is a great intro to home cheesemaking because it is fairly simple. Now that we've tried it, I have the feeling we will start making it all the time because it was easy and so delicious! I have seen Mario make this before and planned to use his recipe, but we ended up using one from my new favorite food site - playing with fire and water. The only ingredients were milk, buttermilk, and salt! The main difference is the acid used to help the milk separate into curds and whey. In Mario's recipe, lemon juice is the acid but in this recipe it is buttermilk.
Cheese cloth isn't used for cheese much anymore, it's mostly used for straining, cleaning, polishing, dusting, waxing, and staining for furniture and cleanup.
Most recipes say to line a strainer with the cheesecloth, but we don't have a big strainer so I just stretched it out over a bowl so it was sturdy enough to hold the cheese and let it strain into the bowl.
Put a gallon of whole milk and a quart of buttermilk on medium high heat. Every 5 minutes, lightly scrape the bottom of the pot with a rubber spatula to be sure no curds are sticking to the bottom and burning. Do this slowly so you don't disrupt the curd formation.
Use a heavy pot. Ours wasn't quite heavy enough and the milk kinda freaked out a few times. I don't really know how else to describe it...
For those who have a thermometer, you need to bring this to 170 F. If you do not have one, it is ready when it looks like this.
Shut off the heat and move it to another burner. Add 2 ice cubes. Stir lightly. Let it sit undisturbed for 10 minutes. Then scoop the curds into the cheesecloth.
After 10 minutes in here, it's ready.
Put it into a bowl and fold in some salt. This is delicious warm with a dot of honey. Then put it into the fridge and use as store bought ricotta. Tune in later this week to see what we used it for!
Again, the recipe is here