Saturday, March 14, 2009

Make It Yourself - Ricotta Cheese

This week, a friend asked if I had ever made cottage cheese, and if I'd share the recipe, if I had!

Hmmm.... I wasn't sure I wanted to admit that cheese making, too, is one of my interests! But, since I was asked, and since I probably lost any reputation of being “normal” back when I shared how to make pasta and that I love cloth diapers, what more can I lose!

I haven't actually made cottage cheese but I have made ricotta which, I think, is similar. Anyone know what really is the difference between ricotta and cottage cheese?

Though I'm interested in cheese making and read a little about it, I have little personal experience. The biggest reason I haven't made more attempts is that I don't have an unlimited supply of milk. My parents generously give us fresh raw milk but we don't live real close and I often need to ration our milk until our next visit.

In my experience with cheese making, at least half of the milk is lost in whey, which I haven't found a real good use for yet. We talk about someday (meaning many years from now!) having a family cow but until then (if then) I doubt I'll become a regular cheese maker! But since I know some of those reading this are farm wives, maybe this recipe can be useful to you!

Even if cheese making is not your goal, if you want a fun project to share with your children, this would be a great choice! Watching liquid milk transform before your eyes into curds and whey is near miraculous and a great science experiment!

This recipe, unlike most cheeses, contains no rennet or cheese cultures and only uses common household ingredients and supplies. So, give it a try – even it is just to brag that you made cheese!


Whole Milk Ricotta

Heat 2 Quart of milk to 200 degrees
Add 3 T white vinegar. Bring temperature back to 200 degrees.

Remove from heat. Cover. Rest for 15 minutes.
Curds should separate right away. Line colander with a very fine cheesecloth or pillowcase.

Drain for an hour or more.
Break up cheese and salt to taste. (¼ to ½ tsp)
Enjoy! Keeps for 1 week in the refrigerator.

I love to eat this cheese just as it is or in recipes such as lasagna. I have read that to make it more like bought cottage cheese, just add cream to the cheese to the consistency that you prefer.
(By the way, if you are looking for a good cooking thermometer, I highly recommend this one from Polder. I use it constantly! It even includes a timer and clock. My favorite feature is the programmable temperature. An alarm sounds when it reaches a certain minimum or maximum temperature! Ideal for cooks like me who tend to get distracted, walk away from the stove and forget what I'm heating!)

Hope you try cheese making! I'd love to hear your experience with this recipe! And if any of you are experienced cheese makers – I'd love to hear from you!

5 comments :

  1. I'm somewhat new to your blog and just wanted you to know I tried your Russian black bread recipe and it is absolutely fabulous! Best tasting and easiest to make I've found yet. Tastes just like a bread we like to get at a local bakery for $6 a loaf! Thank you,

    Debbie

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  2. We eat feta cheese all the time, and have ricotta fairly frequently too. I think the biggest difference is flavour.

    Feta is tangy and crumbly, Ricotta is less crumbly, rich and creamy.

    I love both of them! This would be a great project to do with my kids!

    Thank you for sharing!

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  3. I just found your blog tonight-I'm really enjoying looking around.

    As far as using whey, I've used the whey from yogurt as the liquid in my whole wheat waffles and they came out beautifully.

    I read somewhere about using it in place of buttermilk, which is what prompted me to try it.

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  4. Hi love your blog!! The difference betwwen the two is that ricotta is made with the left over whey. Cottage is made with the curds.

    I too love making my own cheese. My husband. We live in a small suburban area, so I dont have access to raw milk. I find using the storebought milk works fine aswell. :)

    http://www.tasteofhome.com/Cooking-Tips/Ask-Our-Dietician/Ricotta-and-Cottage-Cheese

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  5. I've used the whey for all sorts of cooking and baking. Anything that needs milk can use whey - bread, cakes and pancakes all work great. Or boil it again and get the true ricotta cheese that Marcso mentioned (although I've never gotten much more out of it). Also, my chickens love it if I've got too much left over and want to give them a calcium-rich treat.

    Although I've made it a few times because it's interesting to do, I don't actually like the flavour as much as the bought stuff. I'm probably not salting it enough, but it's still great in lasagna.

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I'm still learning how to be a joyful homemaker and I'd love to hear from you!

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