Cheesemaking: Whole Milk Ricotta

Ok. Cheesemaking can be so much easier than I ever thought. I’ve made Ricotta for the first time this week, and now I’m hooked!!!
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It all started when my fellow Curd Nerd, Louise, sent me a link where Culture magazine talked about cheeses you could make in less than an hour.  Louise and I have been plotting to make cheese for a couple of years now, but we haven’t had the time to get together and do it properly.  So when I saw cheeses that could be made so quickly, I thought it was a great idea.

After reading a review of the book, I immediately bought myself a copy of: One Hour Cheese by Claudia Lucero.  Claudia’s book has recipes for cheeses you can make in less than an hour, and accompanying recipes for how you can use the cheeses to make a meal!  I’m totally, desperately in love, and am working on making one cheese a week to build up my cheesemaking skills.  (I’ve also ordered supplies from her Etsy shop for some of the harder cheeses!)

I thought I’d start with the first recipe in the book: Meyer Lemon Ricotta.  I had a Meyer Lemon that I picked off of Michael’s tree (and smelled like heaven) — so I thought this would be the perfect showcase for it.

Meyer Lemon | kitchenoperas.com

The Ricotta recipe follows the process for all easy cheesemaking: put milk + an acid (lemon juice, vinegar) in a pot, add heat, and the solids and the liquids will separate.  The solids are called curds, and they become cheese.  The liquid is whey, which you can keep for other purposes (drinking, feeding your plants or animals, using in other recipes).  Usually, Ricotta is made with leftover whey from making other cheeses.  But as I didn’t have leftover whey (yet…) it was perfect for me to be able to make it with milk + cream.  Of course, this also makes a creamier Ricotta, and homemade milk + cream Ricotta is so creamy and just divine!

When you heat the milk, use the HEAVIEST-BOTTOMED pot you’ve got so the milk is the least likely to stick to the bottom and scorch.  Burned milk just doesn’t make nice cheese.

I was going to add the zest from the Meyer lemon to the Ricotta, and eat it over slices of toasted bread, with lavender honey drizzled over top.  And maybe roasted grapes on the side.

But… I took one bite of it and realised I had never had Ricotta this good before.  And needed lasagna.

So, I whipped up a rosé tomato sauce (cooked down from a can of tomatoes, with oregano, white whine, chili flakes, and blitzed with a splash of leftover cream), sauteed some mushrooms and onions, roasted some summer squash, grabbed a pack of gluten-free noodles, and assembled a lasagna.  

Gluten-Free Veggie Lasagna with Whole Milk Ricotta | kitchenoperas.com

I adore how easy this Ricotta recipe is — not only did I make Ricotta in less than an hour (with a lot of it being hands-off, let it sit time), but I had energy at the end of cheesemaking to make a lasagna.

Gluten-Free Veggie Lasagna with Whole Milk Ricotta | kitchenoperas.com

Add a bottle of wine, and you’ve got a divine Italian dinner.  And you can even brag that you made your own cheese!

Whole Milk Ricotta
Use the best milk you can get for cheesemaking — avoid ultra-heat pasteurised milks as they won’t make cheese.  I used organic homogenised milk in this recipe, and will use unhomogenised or raw milk when I can get it.  If you can’t find Meyer lemons, use lemon juice from any other fresh lemon.

Adapted from One Hour Cheese by Claudia Lucero; Makes about 2 cups of Ricotta (and 2 cups of leftover whey).

  • 1 L (4 cups) whole cow’s milk
  • 500 ml (2 cups) cream
  • 1/2 cup juice of a Meyer lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Pour the milk, cream, and lemon juice into a large pot and stir well.

Heat the milk over medium heat until it reaches 190F (88C), stirring frequently and making sure the milk doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.  You will see the solids and the liquid (curds and whey) start to separate.

Turn off the heat as soon as it reaches 190F (88C) and take the pot off the heat.

Leave the pot of separating curds and whey to sit for 10 minutes, without touching it, so the curds can release even more whey.

While the curds & whey are separating, line a colander with a cheesecloth and place it in a bowl.

After the curds & whey have rested for 10 minutes pour the whole pot into the cheesecloth-lined colander.  The curds will remain in the cheesecloth, and the whey will remain in the bowl.  Let the curds rest for another 10 minutes, and further whey will drain out into the bowl.

Bundle up the edges of the cheesecloth and squeeze the package to get the last of the milky-whey out.  Add the salt, stir to incorporate the salt into the cheese, and place the cheese in a bowl.

As the cheese is still warm it will be loose and creamy, as you cool it in the fridge it will become firmer.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

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Categories: Cheese, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian

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  1. Cheesemaking: Homemade Mascarpone | The Kitchen Operas℠ - August 10, 2014

    […] like Homemade Ricotta, this is another super-easy cheesemaking recipe.  You only have about 20 minutes of work, and the […]

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