Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Never buy Ricotta again!

What can you do with a quart of milk, 1/2 cup of cream, salt, lemon juice and 15min? 

MAKE YOUR OWN RICOTTA!

I swear to all things holy, it really is that easy.  I didn't believe it myself, but thought, "Hey, I'm making pizza tonight anyway, let's give it a shot".

Step 1: Heat milk
I used a quart of whole milk and 1/2 C of light cream.  I realize this will make it fatty, but I wanted it to work the first time around and it seems that every time I try to experiment by making things lower in fat they don't turn out.  Perhaps this is why I still believe that I'm incapable of baking desserts....

Heat the milk, cream, and salt (1/4 tsp or so) in a pot over med-high heat, stirring occasionally until it reaches a simmer.  Now, listen up everyone.  A simmer is NOT a boil.  Simmer means small bubbles barely coming to the surface.  If you let this come to a rolling boil prepare yourself for scorched milk and possibly a new sauce pot.

Step 2: Add acid
Once the simmer stage is reached, add 1 1/2 or 2 tbsps of fresh lemon juice (in the blue bowl on the right).  Stir quickly just to mix, turn down the heat to maintain a light simmer, then sit back and watch the curds form.  After a minute or so, stir again.  Let it simmer for a couple minutes then stir again.  After 5 minutes or fewer, all the curds will have separated from the whey.  

Line a colander with some cheese cloth, and dump in your curds/whey mixture.  Let it drain in the sink for about an hour, turning and/or squeezing at the half-way point.

Easy as that.  Boom! Best ricotta I've ever had.  Next I will try this with goat's milk or maybe a different type of acid just to see how the flavors work out.

Oh, and about that "pizza for dinner" thing.... I'll post it tomorrow I promise.

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