Tonight I successfully made a white, billowy batch of fresh ricotta cheese at home.  Thus, ricotta Calzones and cheesecake are on tomorrow’s menu.  I am attempted to make ricotta tonight because cheese making will be an invaluable tool for sustaining a life in Africa (as we are going to move to TZ in September 2010).  There aren’t handy plastic tubs of ready-made ricotta in the bush, so if we ever want to eat lasagna again then ricotta making will have to be in my repertoire of recipes.  If you have never made cheese at home, perhaps you would be interested to know how I made ricotta cheese.

Tonight I successfully made a white, billowy batch of fresh ricotta cheese at home.

1. First I heated a gallon of whole milk that was not ultra pasteurized until it registered 185 degrees F on an instant read thermometer.  I had to be careful to stir frequently with a rubber spatula as to avoid scortching.

2.  Next, I removed the pot from the heat and slowly stirred 1/4 cup of lemon juice into the milk.  Then I waited 5 minutes for curds to form.  The milk began to separate into solid curds and translucent whey.  I added 2 tbs lemon juice at a time every 5 minutes until the milk was no longer opaque and all of the curds had formed.  Then I let the milk stand for 20 minutes.

3.  I lined a colander with a clean cloth and set it over the sink.  Using a spoon, I carefully lifted the curds into the colander.  Finally I discarded the whey.  This recipe make about three cups of fresh ricotta.  It tastes fresh and delicious!  Keep the ricotta in an airtight container in the fridge or use right away.

I found that making ricotta was easy and fun.  I think I would make my own ricotta from now on, even if I wasn’t moving to Africa just because it tastes so much better and it is so economical (more ricotta for your money).  Happy cheese making, blogesphere!  Now, how do I make mozzarella…

–Heather

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