One night in the Fall of 2009, I was having trouble sleeping so I did what I always do: I surfed the web. Eventually, I came across a cheese-making site, then another, and another. At the time, I had no idea that so many varieties of cheese could be made at home. While some – gorgonzola, cheddar, parmesan, etc. — are a bit too involved for me to attempt, I have made mozzarella, cream cheese, ricotta, mascarpone, and goat cheese, not to mention butter and herbed yogurt cheese. Although I’ve no intention of blogging about my cheesy exploits, earlier today I followed a recipe from a cooking show that produced a great batch of ricotta. Because of its simplicity and delicious results, I thought I’d devote today’s entry to the making of ricotta. For those interested in making cheese at home, I’ve listed below a few websites that I’ve used as sources for both information and supplies.
Recently, I watched a program hosted by Boston’s Brass Sisters. They planned to make their special lasagna for the firemen of a nearby firehouse and needed to buy ricotta. They went to Capone Foods, where the owner, Albert Capone, not only sold them what they needed, he shared his recipe for making ricotta. I made some earlier today and it ranks among the best ricotta that I’ve ever tasted and is certainly the easiest to make. Looks to me like it will be stuffed shells for dinner tomorrow night.
Before attempting to make this cheese or any within my recipe collection, please refer to my Cheesy Stuff page. Chock full of cheesy details, it provides information about ingredients, cleaning/sterilizing equipment, spices & seasonings, a few tips, and sources for supplies and information.
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Albert Capone’s Homemade Ricotta Recipe
total time: 30 minutes to prepare, at least 2 hours to drain.
yield: about 2 lbs. – recipe may be halved easily
- 1 gallon whole milk
- 1 pint heavy cream
- 1 tbsp table salt
- 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
- Combine milk, cream, and salt in a large non-reactive pot over medium heat.
- Stir often to prevent scorching as you bring the temperature up to 185*.
- Add the vinegar, stir for 15 seconds, and heat for two more minutes before removing from heat.
- 15 – 20 minutes later, use a small sieve or slotted spoon to remove the floating curds and place them in a cheesecloth-lined colander to drain. Place colander over a bowl in refrigerator and drain for at least a couple of hours or overnight. The longer you allow it to drain, the more firm the results.
- Remove the ricotta from the cheesecloth, place in airtight containers, and refrigerate. Ricotta will last up to 2 weeks.
Note: Always be careful if you add fresh herbs to your newly made cheese. Although fine if served relatively soon, the fresh herbs may be a source of contamination and cause your cheese to spoil prematurely. Of course, if the freshly herbed cheese is then cooked, the “threat” is reduced.
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- Fankhauser’s Cheese Page
- Larry the Cheesemaker
- Ricki The Cheese Queen
- The Grape and Granary
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