Thursday, October 25, 2012

homemade ricotta cheese

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homemade ricotta cheese
slightly adapted from Eggs on Sunday and Gourmet
yields about 1 cup

4 c. milk (3.25 % or 2 %)
1/2 c. whipping cream
1/2 tsp. kosher salt (or 1/4 regular salt)
1 tbsp + 1 tsp. + 1/2 tsp. freshly-squeezed lemon juice

Pour the milk and whipping cream into a heavy-bottomed pot that's big enough to boil comfortably. Stir in the salt. Turn on the heat to medium and stir it occasionally with a spatula while you bring it to a simmer.

While you're waiting for the milk to simmer and keeping an eagle eye on said milk, measure all the lemon juice into a little bowl and set it aside. Also, get out your fine-mesh sieve and suspend it over a large bowl. (If you don't have a fine-mesh sieve, line a colander with cheese cloth or a clean j-cloth.) Set aside.

Is your milk simmering yet? If not, it will be soon and milk has a tendency to suddenly boil over, so watch it carefully. Once it's reached a steady simmer, add the lemon juice. Stir once with the spatula, just to blend it in. Set your timer for 1 minute and turn down the heat a bit so it doesn't boil too hard.

After 1 minute, stir it one more time and leave it another minute. Once that second minute is up, you should see the liquid has separated into curds and whey.* Ladle it into the sieve you've set over a bowl. Let it drain at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on your level of patience. Store in the fridge.

* Whey keeps for a couple days in the fridge and is great in pancakes and bread.

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