Fresh Ricotta

Fresh Ricotta

posted in Bakes, Dairy, Recipes, Savory on with No Comments

I believe in the beauty of honest, pure ingredients, made well. This fresh ricotta is the epitome of this notion. One taste of this transformative, creamy cheese and you will never reach for the inferior store bought version again.

Ingredients:

6 cups (48 oz/1420ml) whole milk

1½ cups (12 oz/355 ml) heavy cream

½ cup (4 oz/118 ml)  fresh lemon juice (approximately 4 medium lemons, preferably organic)

 1 teaspoon salt

How to Use Them:

Heat the milk, cream and salt over medium low heat to 190°F, stirring often to prevent the mixture from scorching. Turn off the heat once it reaches 190°F/88°C. If you don’t have a food thermometer, no worries, just heat the milk mixture until tiny bubbles begin to form along the edge of the pan and steam begins to rise just before the boiling point. Add the lemon juice, gently stir twice and allow it to rest undisturbed for 5 minutes. Stir once more and allow the mixture to sit for another 15 minutes. Ricotta1Line a large colander with a butter cloth (less porous than cheese cloth) or several layers of cheese cloth.Ricotta2The addition of the acidic lemon juice and the subsequent resting period allows the dairy mixture to separate into curd solids and whey liquids.  Gently pour this mixture into the lined colander to drain the whey. Ricotta3Gather the cheese cloth together and lift.  You will immediately begin to see the whey dripping down.Ricotta4Use the cheese cloth or kitchen twine to tie the bundle.Ricotta5Once securely tied, place in the colander, or my preferred method is to hang it from the sink to allow the weight of the ricotta to gently pressure the water out evenly.Ricotta6Let the ricotta drain to the desired consistency, 1-2 hours.  The longer you allow the ricotta to drain, the thicker and more dry it will be.  For a soft spreadable consistency, drain for 1 hour.  If a thicker, more dry ricotta is preferred, allow to drain for 2 hours.  Once it has drained, open the cheese cloth and empty the contents into a container.Ricotta7The fresh ricotta may be refrigerated for up to 4 days in a covered container.  It is heavenly in sweet and savory dishes alike.Ricotta8However, in order to truly appreciate the creamy delicateness and subtle flavors of this fresh ricotta, I prefer to serve it fresh, simply spread on homemade flat bread and drizzles with beautiful local, organic honey.

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