Homemade Raw Milk Ricotta

ap ricotta

If you haven’t tried the fantastic raw cow’s milk on offer through Kitsap Fresh, you might want to. “Tastes like melted ice cream”, a friend once told me. Tempting…

If you’re not much of a milk drinker, don’t despair. Make ice cream, or a fresh veggie chowder and toss in some shellfish at the end–or not. Or, consider making cheese. Yes, you can! See below for a super easy and ridiculously delicious method for homemade ricotta.

Ricotta

Ricotta is so easy to make, and incredibly versatile. Use it as a garnish on pizza, pasta, or polenta. Combine it with a touch of sugar, lemon juice and an egg, fill a lightly prebaked tart crust and bake until slightly domed (actually, look for the “donut–a ring of doming with a slight depression in the middle), then top with fresh fruit.
Or do a kind of self-styled smørrebrød: put a dollop of your fresh cheese on a piece of good grainy bread, and top as you like. Try it with a poached egg for breakfast. Pickled or smoked fish are delish. Or with simple fresh fruit and herbs, as pictured.

Ingredients

  • 6 1/2 c whole milk
  • 1 1/2 c heavy cream
  • 2 c cultured buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt

Equipment

Kitchen thermometer (a candy thermometer works fine)
Strainer with about 4 c capacity
Cheese cloth
Big bowl
Big spoon (stainless or wood)
Ladle

Set-up
Set strainer over a big bowl so that it is suspended above by a couple of inches–high enough to catch the whey that separates from the curds and to keep the two apart.

Wet the cheese cloth with clean, fresh water and wring it out. Line the strainer with 2 layers.

Process
Before you start cooking anything, follow the setup direction, above.

Combine milk, cream and buttermilk in a non-reactive pot (enameled dutch oven or stainless pot).
Over medium heat, gently bring temperature to 180, stirring, checking temperature regularly.
When temperature nears 180, you’ll notice some curdling. Stir cautiously.
When you reach 180, stop stirring, but you may gently use the spoon to see how the curds are forming.
Remove from heat and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes, to allow the curds to strengthen.

Gently ladle the curds into the cheesecloth-lined strainer. Allow to drain until you have the consistency you like. This can take a few hours. no need to refrigerate or to help the straining process (ie: don’t press down on curds).
Transfer strained curds (cheese!) to a bowl and stir in salt and refrigerate.
The ricotta is ready to use! Good luck not eating it by the spoonful.

ricotta(2)

Based on an adaptation of Brandi Henderson’s Ricotta recipe, as published in “Delancey”, by Molly Wizenberg.

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