I’ve been wishing to show you how to make home-made ricotta cheese for a while now. You must try to do it, it’s so easy and exciting once it’s done and ready to eat!
Just to feed a few minds and become a little more wise in the culinary world I want to tell you a few curiosities about milk and cheese making. Milk is composed mainly of two proteins that determine its behaviour in cooking: the curd (caseins) and the whey. Another interesting property of milk is that we can heat it up at very high temperatures but it won’t coagulate (like egg proteins that do, for example) unless the environment becomes acidic. That’s why during ricotta cheese preparation lemon or vinegar is added to the milk. This generates the acid environment that causes all the curd proteins to clump together to form a solid mass, while the whey proteins remain suspended in the liquid. This is the base for making cheese. Isn’t it great to learn and understand more about what happens when we cook? I love it! Anyway, let’s get to ingredients and preparation :) Enjoy!
Ingredients. Makes about 1 1/2 cups of cheese aproximately.
- 2 liters of whole pasteurized milk
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- The juice of 2-3 lemons (about 3 tablespoons)
- Large strainer and a cheese cloth
- Start to heat the milk at medium heat.
- Add the salt.
- Once the temperature reaches about 90ºC (just before boiling point) turn off the heat and add the lemon juice.
- You will see how the curd starts to separate from the whey.
- Let rest for 15 minutes.
- Have ready the strainer with the cheese cloth on top.
- Skim the curds off with a slotted spoon or skimmer.
- Transfer to the strainer with cheese cloth carefully. Save the whey for bread!
- Tie the cheese cloth and let it strain for about 40 minutes (see picture).
There are a thousand ideas for recipes with the home-made ricotta cheese. I leave you some pictures of what I’ve donde with it and some of the top of my head: for a cheesecake (can’t wait), for a salad with pears, pizza, malfatti, all alone, for cauliflower and butter, pasta with artichokes and dried tomatoes, for these delicious ravioli with spinach… and more and more.