Monday, April 22, 2013

You Can't Cut This Cheese

Last week, one of my Facebook friends posted a link to a fairly simple-looking Ricotta recipe. I love cheese, and I love baking and cooking, so this was right up my alley. James, who has brewed beer in the past and who is always game for this kind of thing, had also been thinking that he wanted to get serious about making some cheese. Since this recipe didn't require rennet or any other special ingredients, we decided to go with it.
James, stirring the milk and cream, before I wimped out and made him get his beer-stirring paddle.

Once the mixture started boiling, we turned off the heat and added the proscribed amount of white wine vinegar, then waited for the magic to happen.

Uhhh... No magic.

At this point, I accessed our good friend The Internet and found this message board thread on non-curdled cheese. Perhaps it was because our milk was homogenized (though I've seen curdles when I've used vinegar or lemon juice to make a fake buttermilk). Or maybe we didn't let it boil quite enough?

Regardless, we decided to turn the heat back on, then add more vinegar once it got to boiling. We did, and added a few "splashes," as the rather informal post indicated, and it was thickening, but not curdling. In fact, the boiling bubbles were "splorping" the way a thick witch's potion might, and I didn't want either of us to end up with burns!

So we took it out and poured it onto the cheesecloth.

To my surprise, it didn't all leak out the bottom!
The recipe we had said to let this sit for half an hour (ish) and after that time, we tested the product using crackers. At that point, it tasted like a hearty sour cream. At the end of the night, we decided to put it out on the screened-in porch and let it rest until morning.

What we ended up with today is a lot more like what I'd expect Ricotta cheese to look like, consistency-wise.

It's tangy and yummy!
Also, it was a treat that we ended up with pretty much even parts whey and cheese.

Not too shabby. Now, what to do with the whey?

One out of three cats agree: Whey is delicious!
Tonight, I'm making pizza for dinner and intend to stir some of the cheese into the tomato sauce to make an extra-creamy, extra-cheesy base! Can't wait to try it!

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