Friday, June 9, 2017

ChezCindy: Homemade Fresh Ricotta Cheese

Fresh Ricotta Cheese with Fruit and Crackers

If you have never given thought to making cheese at home, it's time to start thinking.  If you can heat milk in a sauce pan, you can make cheese.  It could not be easier to do.  Really.  You will be so impressed with yourself. 

This is a great way to use up milk getting close to its expiration date.  I make this recipe with whatever milk I have in the fridge, whole, 2%, or skim, or even half and half.  I often add in a cup of heavy cream as I usually have that too, yielding a richer ricotta.  The recipe can be scaled up or down as necessary. 

4 cups whole milk or half and half
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

In a medium sauce pan, fitted with a thermometer, combine the milk, salt and vinegar.  Set over medium heat and cook stirring occaisionally.  As the temperature reaches 165 degrees, reduce the amount of stirring so as not to disturb the curds that are forming.  When the mixture reaches 190 degrees, remove the pan from the heat and allow to stand for 30 minutes.

Carefully transfer the contents to a fine-mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth set over a bowl, to strain and separate the curds from the liquid whey.

Toss out the remaining whey left in the pan.  Let the curds continue to strain through the cheesecloth for 15-30 minutes.  Gather the edges of the cheesecloth together and gently squeeze out excess liquid.  Refrigerate ricotta until ready to use.

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