Making ricotta from milk
The minute I saw the announcement from Valerie from A Canadian Foodie, I just knew I couldn’t resist. Hey, I am Dutch after all, right? The country where people are called by the nickname of cheeseheads, so how could I not try and make my own cheese? It sounded daunting and I was a little scared but thankfully the first challenge this month was fairly simple; making your own ricotta.
I had made mascarpone before a couple of years ago and was surprised really at how incredibly good that tasted. So I figured; if I can do mascarpone, then sure I can do ricotta too! The process itself is pretty straightforward. I chose to use a recipe that Valerie had posted about in june of this year which seemed to be perfect in quantity and effort involved. The other recipes where with quantities such as 16 cups of milk and while I love ricotta, I am not sure how I could ever devour so much. Ofcourse I could divide the qty’s to come up with smaller amounts but I am never sure if that can be done without effecting the chemical balance of things to happen. So I chose the simple option.
My first task was to get myself some cheesemaking stuff. Although I didn’t use it I still want to make ricotta at some point using citric acid instead of lemon, so I found a great source very close by where they have everything I can possibly need for cheesemaking (or winemaking for that matter) I opted to buy the starter kit, which has little moulds too which I am sure will come in handy at some point.
I used raw milk which I know is not readily available everywhere but you can use regular full fat milk too for making this. Bottomline is that for making ricotta you really don’t need any special stuff so you’re good to go if you have a thermometer, a cheesecloth, milk and some heavy cream. And lemon ofcourse.
You pour the milk and the cream in saucepan and then start very slowly heating it up to 80 C. So far so good. The heating took a loooong time (especially since I was standing next to the pan keeping a close eye on things!) and I think it was about 30 minutes before it reached 80 C. As soon as the liquid is at the right temperature you add the lemon and stir once to incorporate it. You can immediately see it start to work it’s magic. But don’t be tempted to touch the pot at this stage. Just let it sit, covered in foil for 30 minutes before moving on to the next step which is straining the curd through your prepared cleesecloth.
You can let it rest for 1 or 2 hours and see if you like the consistency. I let mine drain for about 1,5 hours I think (the bell rang and then I got into a conversation so not entirely sure if that was 1,5 hours exactly.) and it was pretty firm by the time it was finished.
Put it in the fridge (covered in clingfilm) and then today I went to play with the flavor to see what I would like.
I made a sweet and a savory version and if I have to pick one I think I’ll go with the sweet one as that was just totally worth the effort of making this. The savory version I made with parsley, olive oil, salt and chopped pistachio’s. The sweet one I made with pomegranate and honey. Had both on toast for breakfast!
Now Valerie asked us to give you tasting notes on the flavor of the ricotta so while that is not my strong point; here are my observations for this wholemilk ricotta
- Appearance: creamy and not too coarse. Looked a lot like creamcheese. Once cooled it became rather thick
- Nose (aroma): not a big or obvious scent to this
- Overall Taste: A slight bit of lemon coming through, very creamy texture and well, just plain delicious
- Sweet to Salty: It was more on the sweet then on the salty side
- Mild (mellow) to Robust to Pungent (stinky): Very mild
- Mouth Feel: (gritty, sandy, chewy, greasy, gummy, etc.): smooth, silky texture. A lot less grainy then the regular ricotta I get in the store here.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 cups whole milk I used raw milk
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
prepare lemon juice
cover sieve with three to four layers of cheese cloth set over a big bowl to catch the whey
measure milk to pot or TM bowl (if using the Thermomix); add salt
heat slowly to 80 degrees C stirring to ensure milk will not stick to bottom of the pan; for Thermomix: set time to 15 minutes, temperature to 80C and speed 2-3
take off heat immediately; add lemon juice and stir only once to incorporate
do not move the pot or bowl; cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes
using a slotted spoon place curds into the sieve covered with cheese cloth or pour curds very gently into the sieve
sit for 1 to 2 hours to strain, depending upon desired consistency
scrape into a serving dish and serve drizzled with a fruity olive oil and sprinkled with Fleur de Sel or Maldon Salt; will keep 4 to 5 days tightly covered in the fridge