Make Your Own Cheese! : Ricotta
Would you like to make your own cheese? It's easy, it's cheap and it's fun, too! Only with a few steps, in just a few hours - you'll be ready to eat your own delicious cheese!
This time, I'm going to let you make a worldwide-popular Italian cheese : Ricotta, a fresh, creamy cheese mainly made out of whey. In Italian, RIcotta literally means 'recooked', because it is made by 'recooking' the whey leftover from previously made cheese.
Ricotta is usually used to make lasagna, ravioli, gnocchi, cannoli, blintzes and even cheese cake. Or just as a cracker dip or sandwich spread, it tastes very cheesy but sourly, too. Formed from very fine and soft curds, with a somehow acidic taste, Ricotta can be a very delicious fresh cheese!
But the kind of Ricotta we're going to make is not the traditional one made out of whey. In order to make one from whey, first you need the whey, which can only be obtained by making another kind of cheese, mainly hard cheese or rennet precipitated cheeses. And that would not be very easily done. So, the one I'm going to tell you is the one made from whole milk. To precipitate, you will use extra acid from lemon juice, replacing the already contained acid in whey. It will indeed taste different (more lemony?) but not even less delicious than Ricotta from whey!
Now, let's start our cheese journey!
The things that you need to make Ricotta cheese are :
- 1 L fresh pasteurized milk
- 1 lemon (or you may also used lemon juice)
- A heavy pot
- A lemon squeezer
- A soft cloth (or better cheesecloth or butter muslin, the one usually used to wrap up tofu)
- A colander
- A big bowl
Squeeze out the lemon juice. If you like a more sourly Ricotta, you may add more, according to your taste. Lemon here serves as an acid, helping the milk precipitate the curds later.
Pour the milk into the heavy pot. Then, heat it for about 5 minutes (or to 200 degree Celsius) and stir during the heating. Note : Do not let the milk boil. Just make sure it is well heated.
After the milk is hot, slowly add the lemon juice. Stir well and let it another 5 minutes on the stove. You will see that tiny white particles form on the surface of the liquid. These are the cheese curds.
Remove the pot and let it cool, covered, for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the colander and the cloth. Put the cloth over the colander and place the colander on a big bowl. This big bowl will later hold the whey.
Slowly pour the milk over the colander. Be careful, because the liquid will be very hot. Let the whey drain for about an hour. The softer the cloth you are using, the faster it may drain, and the longer you let it drain, the drier your Ricotta will be.
If that is done, add some salt or dried herbs into your Ricotta to give it some taste. And....Voila! You have successfully made your own Ricotta!
In the fridge, Ricotta can only last for about a week, as it is a fresh cheese. You may also think that you can now make a whey Ricotta out of your leftover whey. That I must say no. This is because the leftover whey has no things called albumin protein anymore, which you already have extracted from the milk using lemon juice and heat, but which is required to make another Ricotta.
And another note : If you don't like the acidic taste of lemon juice, you may also replace it with 3 Tablespoons of white vinegar!
Have A Try!!
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