Chooks & Cooks

Chooks & Cooks

Food, Foraging & Adventures from the Heart of England

Homemade Ricotta – Quick and Easy


Last year my parents bought me a “Make your own” ricotta and mozzarella cheese kit for Christmas. Last year. As in, a full 13 months ago. It’s one of those presents where you’re really excited when you first receive it, and then you realise that you are physically incapable of remembering to buy 8 pints of milk at the supermarket. And so, a year goes past, and it is only now that I’ve finally got my bottom in gear to bring home vast quantities of full fat, creamy deliciousness to transform with the tried and tested ricotta recipe below.

It turns out, of course, that making ricotta is stupidly, almost offensively easy. So, I simply had to share. I’ve also included a couple of tasty flavour options to supplement the ricotta recipe below!

Stages in making homemade ricottaIngredients:

8 pints whole milk
1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons of Citric Acid

For the flavourings:

Chives, chopped
Fresh cracked black pepper
Lemon zest
Nutmeg

Equipment:

Large pan with lid
Thermometer
Cheesecloth
Colander
Large bowl
Ladle

Method for making homemade ricotta:

Firstly, dissolve the citric acid in 50ml of cooled, pre-boiled water. I’ve seen recipes with lemon juice and vinegar to serve the purpose of the citric acid, but this is a bit more precise. You should be able to buy it from most supermarkets now.

Poor the water and all of the milk into the pan, and gradually heat it up. You’ll need to make sure it doesn’t burn on the bottom, as milk tends to! You need to raise this to 185 degrees Fahrenheit, or 85 degrees Celsius. Take your time.

When it reaches the right temperature, put the lid on and leave it for 20 minutes. The curds (the solid, lumpy bits) should at this point have separated from the whey (the yellowy liquid). All you do then is ladle the contents of the pan through your cheese cloth, which you need to drape over the colander. Which is, in turn, over your bowl!

Leave it dripping away for half an hour or so, and that, technically, is your cheese made!

If you’re anything like me though, ricotta will be a bit bland all by itself – which is why I like to separate it into tubs and make a couple of flavours, then put the rest in a tub in the freezer. Out of the freezer (but in the fridge!) your delicious fresh ricotta will last for about a week.

Lemon & Crack Black Pepper Ricotta Recipe

Lemon & Crack Black Pepper Ricotta Recipe

This gets better after resting for a day or two, and would be amazing in some sort of lemony cheesecake. Savoury is fine too, but sweet is the direction I’d take it in! To make it, simply grate / zest a full, unwaxed lemon. Stir the zest into your ricotta with a little salt and a whole lot of fresh black pepper. Simples!

Creamy Chive Ricotta Recipe

Creamy Chive Ricotta Recipe

Cheese and chives, it’s a classic combination and great in salads. Simply finely chop up a handful of chives, add a sprinkling of nutmeg and stir into the ricotta along with a glug of double cream. This is a much creamier version than the ricotta alone!

 

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