Friday, March 16, 2012

Homemade Ricotta of Awesomeness!!

Ricotta seems to be the forgotten of the cheeses. Everyone knows it's snackier cousin, cottage cheese. Mozzarella and Cheddar are household staples. To be fair, it doesn't have a strong flavor like the Jack family (Monterrey, Pepper, etc), and it's mainly used in recipes. But you would be surprised how much a better ricotta will make your lasagna, stuffed shells, and other ricotta stuffed deliciousness even more amazing.

To make this homemade is quite comparable price wise with any store bought brand and the taste is so much richer than anything I've fund commercially. You probably even have all the equipment necessary in your kitchen right now.

All you need is a non reactive pot, (This means stainless steel, non scratched enamel, glass, or clay. NO nonstick or aluminum.), a cheese thermometer, (I don't even have one of those, so I use a candy thermometer) and a colander and some cheese cloth (I found mine at the dollar store).

It's gonna have to be a big pot. 
Some colander/cheesecloth action going on.
Your ingredient list as also pretty small. You will need:

1/2 Gallon Buttermilk
1 Pint (I use 1 QT for a richer ricotta) heavy whipping cream
1 Gallon Whole Milk
1 1/2 TB Kosher Salt

Easy Peasy Nice and Easy
Put all of those ingredients into your pot and turn the heat to medium low.

Stir continuously for ten minutes. Now, here's the hard part. Don't touch it. Let it cook until it reaches 190 degrees. That's it.   :)
Make sure it's cooking evenly (Do not boil)

Just starting to make curds.
Almost done cooking.....

When it reaches 190 degrees, pull it off the heat and let it rest for an hour. After that, gently ladle it into the colander and let it drain for at least 20 minutes.
Hhhhmmmmm Cheese!
After twenty minutes, put it into an airtight container and refrigerate for up to two weeks. Two pounds of delicious Ricotta Cheese for under ten dollars. ENJOY!!