Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ricotta cheese

Cheese making has been a goal of the Kitchen Witch for as long as she cares to remember.  Maybe it was reading Little House books, or just the foodie that's always been there, but even as a young teen the Witch has wanted to make her own cheese.  That's normal, right?  Don't you all dream about making your own cheese?  No?  Well...pretend like you do, 'k?  Do you need to make your own ricotta?  No, you don't.  Should you make your own ricotta?  Yes!  Yes you should indeed !   It's easy, quick and really doesn't require any specialty equipment or ingredients.   4 ingredients is all it takes to make the smoothest, richest, silkiest ricotta cheese you've ever been lucky enough to try.

If you aren't a ricotta fan, don't despair.  This ricotta isn't at all like the grainy rubbery ricotta in the tubs at the grocery store.  There is some grain to it, but it's not at all rubbery and if you aren't a fan of the grain, simply drain off more of the whey until you get a cheese that you're happy with.   Other than the noticeable difference in texture there's a taste difference.  Store bought ricotta is bland and rather flavorless to me.  Between the lack of flavor and the nasty texture it's defiantly not high on my like list.  Homemade ricotta, on the other hand, is sweet from the cream and milk, salty and slightly tangy.  It's delicious in lasagna as well as dessert.

Wait...ricotta dessert?  You mean like a cheese cake?  Nope!  I mean ricotta topped with fruit, either jam or berries, your choice.  I had this at my good friend Phyllis' home, she topped her ricotta with a homemade cherry jam and candied almonds.  Holy cow it was delicious!!  So thank you Phyllis for the recipe source as well as the tasty and unexpected dessert idea!   I hope that you all will try to make your own ricotta cheese.  Your friends and family will be impressed to know you made your own cheese, and only we need to know just how easy it is.  Enjoy!

Ricotta Cheese
Source:  Ina Garten
Makes about 1 cup of cheese (approx. 8 servings) ~*~easily doubled or tripled~*~

2 cups whole milk (2% works fine too)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
heavy 1/2 t kosher salt
1 1/2 T white wine vinegar

In a stainless steel pan add the milk, cream and salt.  Bring to a full boil over medium high heat, stirring to avoid scortch spots.  Once liquid is boiling turn the heat off and add the vinegar.  Give it one good stir to incorporate the vinegar and allow to sit for at least 1 minute to form the curd.

While the curd is forming dampen some cheesecloth.   Lay a double layer of cheesecloth in a fine mesh sieve placed over a bowl to catch the whey.  Pour the cheese curds and whey into the cheesecloth and allow to drain undisturbed for about 20-30 minutes.  The longer the cheese sits the finer and less distinct the grain becomes.  Transfer the ricotta to a air tight bowl and use anywhere you'd normally use ricotta like lasagna or stuffed pasta recipes.   Stores in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Cheese curds set and ready to be seperated

Whey draining from curds
Curds after draining for 10 minutes
 ~*~Kitchen Witch Tip:  No cheesecloth?  No problem!  Simply drain your curds through a clean wash cloth or kitchen towel.  Paper towels absorb too much and don't allow the whey to drain, save those for something else and use cloth to strain cheese.~*~

Nutrition Facts calculated at SparkPeople recipe calculator Amount Per Serving Calories 133.5 Total Fat 12.2 g Saturated Fat 7.6 g Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g Monounsaturated Fat 3.5 g Cholesterol 45.6 mg Sodium 156.3 mg Potassium 125.1 mg Total Carbohydrate 3.8 g Dietary Fiber 0.0 g Sugars 3.0 g Protein 2.6 g


Again said...

That looks delicious and I can't wait to try it!! It was great meeting you and the Little Witch today!

Cranberry Morning said...

As you know, I love making my own cheese, but I've made Feta and mozzarella, never ricotta. NOW, I am going to be adding ricotta to the list. Thank you for the recipe! What a great, low-carb dessert that was.

anthony stemke said...

Love ricotta cheese but have never made any. Your post makes me want to make some now.

Jenn said...

Look at how lovely and creamy it looks compared to the store bought stuff too!! I've always been a bit scared of making my own cheese... but you make it look so easy now that I just may have to try this.

By the way.. I adored all of the Little House books when I was younger!!!

Big Dude said...

This looks to easy not to try. Thanks for the how-to.

StephenC said...

I made my own ricotta one time. The method was different from Ina's, but I intend to try it her way. It's stupid easy and the result is lovely.

Aarthi said...

Wow..YUMMY RECIPE...I am loving it..


Yenta Mary said...

Isn't it wonderful how such a simple thing can bring such enormous satisfaction??? I made paneer once, which is a similar process; this makes me want to rush out and get the ingredients and spend my afternoon making a beautiful batch of homemade ricotta now ... :)

Karen Harris said...

This looks so good. I have to be honest I've never been tempted to make my own cheese before now. You just might have me convinced.

Sarah said...

What a coincidence! I just made ricotta for my gnocchi! I only used whole milk and vinegar. Easy Peasy. And I priced it out. Half the price of buying ready made.

raquel Guevarra said...

I am thinking of making one, actually I think it is fun to make your own ricotta cheese. Very nice post.

Ann Minard said...

Okay, I am so making this. I am thinking this will go great with my figs when they come in : )

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