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Monday, September 29, 2014

Amazingly Simple Homemade Ricotta


Homemade Ricotta - amazingly delicious and so easy to make with these step-by-step instructions by Lavende & Lemonade

I absolutely love making foods from scratch in the kitchen that I'd previously thought could only be bought at the store.  Especially when it is ridiculously easy, like this Ricotta, and amazingly tasty. 
People are always so impressed when they find out it is not from the gourmet grocery, but is actually DIY...I get such a thrill out of the inevitable, "Wait, you MADE this??"


This ricotta has a very light texture and delicate yet cheerful flavors.  It is cheese made from whole milk and lemons - that's all!  That's right.  You can make cheese from milk!

This recipe for creamy Ricotta is straight from the 5-star rated Extra Virgin cookbook by Gabrile Corcos and Debi Mazar that I reviewed here.  Everything in written below in italics is quoted directly from page 42 of the book, and the photos are my own.  Enjoy!


FRESH CHEESE CURD CROSTINI

CROSTINI DI CAGLIATA FRESCA


erves 8-10
In making the soft, pillowy cheese known as ricotta, there are two steps.  (That's why ricotta means "recooked" in Italian.)  The first step, when you add citric acid or rennet to whole milk, yields cagliata, which is the first separation of curds from whey, and it makes for a delicious crostini spread all on its own.  It's creamier and richer than ricotta, since the second step is a further cooking of the whey that gets you the lighter, airier taste associated with ricotta.  We're putting the brakes at the cagliata stage, however, because we think it deserves a spotlight of its own!

4 cups whole milk
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 baguette, thinly sliced and toasted
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Extra virgin olive oil, for serving

Line a colander with 3 layers of cheesecloth.
Homemade Ricotta - amazingly delicious and so easy to make with these step-by-step instructions by Lavende & Lemonade
Ecosak Nut Milk Bag



  • L&L: I used the EcoSak Nut Milk bag in place of cheesecloth, and it worked great! The perk to using the nut milk bag is that it has a drawstring that makes hanging the ricotta easier than with cheesecloth. 


In a large, heavy pot, bring the milk to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Stir in the lemon juice and salt and heat until an instant-read thermometer reaches 175F.  The milk will begin to just bubble and start to steam.  At this temperature you'll begin to see the curds separate from the whey.

Homemade Ricotta - amazingly delicious and so easy to make with these step-by-step instructions by Lavende & LemonadeRemove from the heat and stir for up to 5 minutes.  Be mindful of overstirring while the curds are forming - you don't want to make your cheese tough.  Let sit for 5 minutes undisturbed and you will be left with a pleasantly creamy result.


  • L&L:  I've taken the middle ground and stirred for about 2 minutes and let it rest for 5 more, which worked out beautifully.

Gently pour the curds into the colander, and very gently release some of the liquid.  


  • L&L:  I put the colander over a bowl so that I could catch the liquid (whey) - it is full of nutrients and can be used in other recipes and the garden (read more here in Using Whey in the Garden)!


Tie the cheesecloth in a sack using butcher's twine, lift the sack from the colander, and let drain without squeezing for 5 to 10 minutes, or until liquid stops seeping out.  


  • L&L:  I hung the bag on the faucet of my kitchen sink, which lets the whey drip out without making a mess onto the counters.

Remove the curds from the cheesecloth and place in a bowl.

Spread warm on toasted bread with a sprinkling of lemon zest and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

IMPORTANTE!  You can refrigerate leftover caliata in a covered container for up to 5 days.


***
L&L again...

This turned out amazingly! I never would have thought that cheese would be so simple to make, using ingredients we already have in the kitchen or that are very easy to find.  I'm so happy to have learned how to make cheese out of milk.

We'll be enjoying this tonight on crusty toasts of Homemade Rosemary Flatbread together with garden tomato soup.  Delicious!




           


I received the EcoSak Nut Milk Bags mentioned above for free. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

36 comments:

  1. Oh, this sounds AMAZING. I can't wait to try it! I love cheese!

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  2. It is :)...and it really only takes a few minutes! I'd love to hear how it goes for you!

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  3. Oh, my! You just transported me back to my childhood. I never thought of making this myself although I watched my grandma making "zamachisa" as we call it so many times. You have just inspired me to try something new. Thanks! :)

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    1. Wonderful! I hope that it is as delicious as your grandmother's...I'm sure thats a tough act to top!

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  4. SUCH a cool process! Cheese is one of those things I've never considered making because it just seemed too daunting, but this makes it seem like I could actually handle doing it. :)

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    1. You can! The hardest part is the temperature...and that isn't hard. Worst case scenario, you get milk for a hot chocolate and start again :)

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  5. That looks so cool! My boyfriend would love this :)

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  6. Never thought about making ricotta cheese at home - that's pretty cool. Thanks for the tutorial!

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  7. I love ricotta, and I had no clue how easy it could be to make at home, I definitely have to try this out!

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  8. I am obsessed with cheese and never even realized that you can make ricotta at home so easily. Thanks for sharing.

    Thrifting Diva
    www.thriftingdiva.com

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  9. Making your own cheese? That's intense! I dont think I have ever had ricotta before either!

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  10. I've always been curious of how ricotta was made. Thanks for sharing!

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  11. I'm always up for trying to make something vs. buying it. Thanks for sharing this!

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  12. I love making my own cheese! It's so much easier than I ever thought it would be.

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  13. How delicious! I'd love some of this right now.

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  14. I've made cheese once before i wasn't happy with the outcome but your directions make it seem simple and easy! thanks for sharing

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  15. Ricotta is one of my favorite items, but I've never dreamed of making it! I'll have to test it out!

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  16. This looks so good. And I am ALL for an easy recipe. Thanks for sharing!

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  17. This is so cool. I tried to make my own sour cream once and it didn't work out, haha.

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  18. That Looks AMAZING!! I will have to try this out! I wonder if Heavy Cream would work though, I don't use milk it has too much sugar and carbs. Will try with cream though :) Thanks for sharing this!

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    1. Interesting...I'm not sure how cream would work, since the process is separating the cream/curds from the whey. I'd love to hear if you're able to make it work!

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  19. It looks so easy! so much so I would want to make Basil Ricotta.... think this recipe is fool proof? I just have this tendency LOL

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  20. Making your own ricotta is amazing. Great tutorial!

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  21. Wow! This is a really simple recipe! I'll have to try it out someday :-)

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  22. That looks really tasty! Fresh cheese is the best.

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  23. I did not know ricotta was so easy to make! This looks fantastic on the crostini as well :)

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  24. Cheese is something I'd love to make myself. One day when I have more time, I'll definitely be making some of this!

    Katie <3

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    1. It had always been on my "someday" list too until I came across this recipe. Honestly it is about as complicated and time-consuming as making a box of Macaroni and Cheese...but much more impressive :)

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  25. Yummy! I love ricotta, never thought to make it myself!

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  26. Crazy impressed! I never knew how easy this could be to make!

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  27. I'm surprised at how simple it looks to make ricotta -- who knew?!

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  28. Wow this looks so simple (and delicious!) thanks for sharing!

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  29. Thanks for sharing, didn't realize it was so simple to prepare!

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