Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Homemade Ricotta

Ricotta is disappointingly underrated outside of Italy.  People think of it as a filler ingredient, an extra in a dish filled with big stars.  You mix it up with big flavors assuming it is only useful for its texture.  Poor ricotta, why don't more people swoon over ricotta?
My grandmother used to mix up freshly made ricotta with sugar and give it to me and my sister as a sweet afternoon snack.  Still warm, wonderfully creamy and rich, it was eaten up in just a few mouthfuls.  It honestly is incredibly flavorsome and lovely on its own -- as long as it's good ricotta.  So give it another chance, and hey, the good news is you can easily make good ricotta at home.

It's just three ingredients - milk, acid and salt.  Now I've tried with cow's milk and goat's milk, both gave good results, though you may have to adjust the amount of acid for goat's as I've had to add a bit more.  Avoid low fat or skim milk as you need the milk fat to separate from the whey and curdle.  With acid, you can go for lemon juice, distilled vinegar or white wine vinegar.  Drain it for as long as you want depending on if you like your ricotta on the wet or dry side.


If you can't find cheese cloth, use a j cloth, or a clean kitchen towel.  Other than that, you'll need a sieve and a big bowl.  This recipe doesn't even require a thermometer, so there's no excuse.

Recipe from Food & Style
Makes 1 cup
Ingredients
4 cups milk
1/2 tbsp sea salt
3 tbsp distilled vinegar, white wine vinegar or fresh lemon juice

Method
Place the milk in a large pot over medium heat.  Add salt and stir occasionally so the milk doesn't burn in the bottom.

Heat the milk to about 82-88C, and if you don't have a thermometer, it's just when you see bubbles arising from the edges but it should not boil.

Remove from heat and add the acid. Stir gently a couple of times and just leave it undisturbed for about 5 minutes.

Line a sieve with a cheese cloth/j cloth and place it above a big bowl if you can. Or a pot, or whatever that will hold it. Gently pour the milk over it, try not to disturb the curds, so be gentle.  Use a ladle maybe.

Let drain for 5-20 minutes, depending on how you like the consistency.


Keep it in the fridge and eat within 4-5 days

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