Sunday, July 11, 2010

Homemade Ricotta!

Smitten Kitchen very recently posted about a zucchini galette, and I decided that I just HAD to make it.  It calls for ricotta as well, and since I've seen homemade ricotta posted on so many blogs, I figured I would give it a try (and if it didn't work, I was planning on buying it from the store).  I discovered right away that there are many ways to make it.  The "real" way is to use the whey leftover from making homemade mozzarella.  The next best thing is to cook soured milk, using either buttermilk, white vinegar or lemon juice.  I decided to use buttermilk, and it worked really well.  Be careful when draining it - I think mine got a little too dry.  I think next time I might try using white vinegar.  That's something that's easier to always have on hand.

Homemade Ricotta:
1 quart whole milk
1 cup buttermilk (I used nonfat because that's all the store had)

Line a colander or large strainer with cheesecloth, folded over so it's at least 4 layers thick.  If you want to save the whey, put a bowl underneath.
Combine both milks in a heavy medium sized saucepan, over high heat.
Stir frequently, to prevent the bottom from scorching, until you start to see some curds floating to the top.  Once there are a lot of curds, turn the heat off.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the curds to the cheesecloth.  (Some advised to only skim curds off the top, some said to pour all of the contents of the pot in.  I did one batch of using just the skimmed curds, and another pouring the rest in, and I didn't notice any major differences.)
Gather the edges of the cheesecloth and tie together, and hang for about 15 minutes, more or less depending on desired level of moisture.
If not using immediately, put in an airtight container in the fridge.

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