Yeah that’s right – I made cheese! I’m embarassed/ecstatic to announce that this is my very first foray into the murky, rewarding world of cheesemaking. I’ve been waiting all of four years to make this ricotta, starting when I read an article in Food & Wine and said “Maria Helm Sinskey you are a brilliant chef and more than anything I want to try your sweeter-and-fluffier-than-store-bought ricotta rendition” and VOILA. I’ve enjoyed spreading ricotta on english muffins with honey and substituting ricotta for cream cheese or sour cream in soups or dips over the years. As a child, manicotti with spinach and ricotta was the double death whammy of taste aversions; imagine my prim surprise at the age of 15 that ricotta was not only palatable but enjoyable! Thus we arrive at the day of today: a sort of renaissance in my life as a cheese lover.
All that my recipe require was whole milk (yum), heavy whipping cream (more yum), salt and vinegar. Combine the milk and h.w.c and heat until just before boiling, where you see frothing and steaming and general good things occuring. Per the white expanse of a photo below.
Next to do is add vinegar and stir for 30 seconds. Twas amazing to see the milk start to curdle almost immediately; at this point I could imagine the tenderest of curds that I would soon be pressing. Next comes the salt and stirring for 30 seconds. After these two steps, we respect the fermentation process and let our volatile new compound rest for 2 hours, covered with a nice cloth towel to let the curds sweat in peace. Then buhbam we spoon the curds with a slotted spoon into a colander draped with cheese cloth, wrap up our curds, and squinch the top with a rubber band. per the picture below.
SSSSLIKE wow how did 2 quarts of milk and a cup of h.w.c turn into a cute as a button blob of curd the size of my two fists? And the answer is of course cheesemaking magic. I let the ricotta bulb rest for another 30 minutes, interspersed with systematic squeezing and pressing to rid the booble of whey. After this 2.5 hours of relatively no work, we ended up with a creamy, light-as-heaven, stunningly pure looking, moist (not soggy) ricotta that I bet you can’t find in the stores.
Like so white! I pressed so good you can still see the cheese cloth crease lines on the outside. The curds range from like 1.5 millimeters to 4 millimeters in diameter and spread delicately throughout the mouth. I ate mine on toasted whole wheat bread (wanted to take a picture but it looked like a mess haha) and that was divine, and also on top of a broiled tomato and also with a salmon filet and that was a.o.k. Case in point, ricotta is NOT a side dish and it is the mildest, sweetest diva you’ll ever want to put in your mouth. Another fun thing about cheesemaking is that at the end, you have like way too much whey! “What can I do with this whey??” you think – and then I tell you like anything you would do with regz milk. I set some aside for a pork marinade tomorrow, mixed some powdered drink mix into the whey for a refreshing afternoon sip, and made a red peppa soup with the whey as a base instead of just boring old water. Unfortch most other cheeses take muuuush longer to make than ricotta so there will be more of a patient waiting process for prets much anything else I concoct but never mind, let the cheese MAKING begin! Also Happy Cheese day to everyone yesterday but really why not make it Happy Cheese day everday amirite??
If you are interested in making your own ricotta, here is the recipe: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/creamy-ricotta
Many thanks to Maria Helm Sinskey and Food & Wine because duhhhh