Making Fresh Ricotta Cheese (It's So EASY!)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet eating her curds and whey. As a kid, I remember being both intrigued and confused by this classic nursery rhyme's reference to curds and whey. I'm somewhat ashamed to admit that my ignorance lasted until Saturday afternoon when my friend Naushon and I embarked on a wonderful cheese-making journey in her sunny kitchen overlooking the Gourmet Ghetto here in North Berkeley.

Homemade Ricotta by Eve & Naushon
Our foray into the world of soft cheeses was inspired by my new favorite book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. The book is a wonderful chronicle of her and her family's experiences during a year of eating locally at their home in Animal Vegetable Miracle Book CoverVirginia, including an inspirational chapter on cheesemaking that makes it sound both easy and fulfilling.

Luckily, Naushon volunteers at the
Edible Schoolyard here in north Berkeley and had actually made fresh ricotta once before with the kids. The Edible Schoolyard recipe below is both as simple and as delicious as Barbara Kingsolver led me to believe.

If you like soft cheeses, I suggest that you give this a shot. It's very straightforward and quick and the results are really yummy. I also suggest that you buy high-quality organic milk from a local dairy if you can. I used milk and cream from the Straus Family Creamery in Marshall, CA because it is DELICIOUS, locally-produced, organic, and also because Straus is such an incredibly cool company (do you know of another dairy that composts all its waste, uses recyclable glass bottles, and powers its operations with methane from its cows?)

I've included a little step-by-step pictorial of the process following the recipe to help you get started.
A Spoonful Of Fresh Ricotta
Fresh Ricotta The Edible Schoolyard Way

Ingredients

* 1 quart whole milk (organic)
* 1/2 cup heavy cream (organic)
* 4 Tbsps lemon juice
* Salt to taste

Directions

1. Bring milk and cream to a simmer very slowly in a thick-bottomed saucepan. Once simmering, turn off the heat.

2. Add the lemon juice a little bit at a time and stir. Add enough lemon juice to curdle the milk/cream mixture (you may need a bit more or less than the 4 tablespoons). The whey, the watery liquid that has separated from the solids (a.k.a. the curds), should be translucent.

3. Let stand for 5 minutes then gently ladle or pour into a fine sieve or colander lined with cheesecloth. Allow to drain for at least 1 hour or until the cheese reaches the desired thickness.

4. Transfer the curds to a bowl and season with salt to taste.

A Step-By-Step Pictorial Guide To Making Fresh Ricotta Cheese

The ingredients are extremely simple.

Simple Ingredients For Ricotta Cheese
Squeeze a lemon for the 4 tbsps of juice.


Naushon squeezing lemons
Pour the milk and cream into the pot.


Pouring Milk
Gently bring the milk and cream to a simmer.


Bringing The Milk & Cream To A Gentle Simmer
Add the lemon juice to curdle the milk and cream mixture and stir.


Curdling The Mixture With Lemon Juice
The mixture should curdle, separating into curds (solids) and whey (liquid).


Milk/cream mixture curdling
Here's a close up look at some of those curds.


Close-Up of Some Curds
Pour the curdled mixture into a cheesecloth-lined colander to strain the whey from the curds.


Straining The Curds
Drain the whey. You may need to empty the liquid before you let the curds sit if the bowl you're using is not very deep.


Draining The Whey From The Curds
The curds will need to rest for about an hour in their cozy cheesecloth-lined strainer.


Curds Draining In A Cheesecloth-Lined Strainer
When the cheese has reached the desired consistency, pour the drained cheese into a bowl and add salt to taste.


Adding Salt To The Fresh Ricotta
Try a spoonful of your delicious homemade ricotta -- fresh, creamy, lightly salty, and just a tiny bit sweet!


A Spoonful Of Fresh Ricotta

You might also like:

4 comments:

Bright Eyes said...

From what I have found most ricotta recipes I have found are made from WHEY. What you made is a ricotta subsitute called Day cheese. I bet it tastes good too though. You can make Mozarella cheese in 30 minutes too if you choose. It is super easy and SO tastey! Enjoy your cheese making! Homemade cheese is the BEST!

Eve Fox said...

Geez, you are totally right! How interesting. Day cheese is certainly a lot easier to make than ricotta, it seems, and mighty tasty, too!

Thanks for the correction.

Anonymous said...

One consideration is that cheeses made from milk will contain casein protien. Ricotta is traditionaly made from whey which will contain little to no casien as that would have been taken out in the curd.

Self sufficient living said...

If you save the whey from making your own cheese you can make soda bread with it. It tastes so much better!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Making Fresh Ricotta Cheese (It's So EASY!)

Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet eating her curds and whey. As a kid, I remember being both intrigued and confused by this classic nursery rhyme's reference to curds and whey. I'm somewhat ashamed to admit that my ignorance lasted until Saturday afternoon when my friend Naushon and I embarked on a wonderful cheese-making journey in her sunny kitchen overlooking the Gourmet Ghetto here in North Berkeley.

Homemade Ricotta by Eve & Naushon
Our foray into the world of soft cheeses was inspired by my new favorite book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. The book is a wonderful chronicle of her and her family's experiences during a year of eating locally at their home in Animal Vegetable Miracle Book CoverVirginia, including an inspirational chapter on cheesemaking that makes it sound both easy and fulfilling.

Luckily, Naushon volunteers at the
Edible Schoolyard here in north Berkeley and had actually made fresh ricotta once before with the kids. The Edible Schoolyard recipe below is both as simple and as delicious as Barbara Kingsolver led me to believe.

If you like soft cheeses, I suggest that you give this a shot. It's very straightforward and quick and the results are really yummy. I also suggest that you buy high-quality organic milk from a local dairy if you can. I used milk and cream from the Straus Family Creamery in Marshall, CA because it is DELICIOUS, locally-produced, organic, and also because Straus is such an incredibly cool company (do you know of another dairy that composts all its waste, uses recyclable glass bottles, and powers its operations with methane from its cows?)

I've included a little step-by-step pictorial of the process following the recipe to help you get started.
A Spoonful Of Fresh Ricotta
Fresh Ricotta The Edible Schoolyard Way

Ingredients

* 1 quart whole milk (organic)
* 1/2 cup heavy cream (organic)
* 4 Tbsps lemon juice
* Salt to taste

Directions

1. Bring milk and cream to a simmer very slowly in a thick-bottomed saucepan. Once simmering, turn off the heat.

2. Add the lemon juice a little bit at a time and stir. Add enough lemon juice to curdle the milk/cream mixture (you may need a bit more or less than the 4 tablespoons). The whey, the watery liquid that has separated from the solids (a.k.a. the curds), should be translucent.

3. Let stand for 5 minutes then gently ladle or pour into a fine sieve or colander lined with cheesecloth. Allow to drain for at least 1 hour or until the cheese reaches the desired thickness.

4. Transfer the curds to a bowl and season with salt to taste.

A Step-By-Step Pictorial Guide To Making Fresh Ricotta Cheese

The ingredients are extremely simple.

Simple Ingredients For Ricotta Cheese
Squeeze a lemon for the 4 tbsps of juice.


Naushon squeezing lemons
Pour the milk and cream into the pot.


Pouring Milk
Gently bring the milk and cream to a simmer.


Bringing The Milk & Cream To A Gentle Simmer
Add the lemon juice to curdle the milk and cream mixture and stir.


Curdling The Mixture With Lemon Juice
The mixture should curdle, separating into curds (solids) and whey (liquid).


Milk/cream mixture curdling
Here's a close up look at some of those curds.


Close-Up of Some Curds
Pour the curdled mixture into a cheesecloth-lined colander to strain the whey from the curds.


Straining The Curds
Drain the whey. You may need to empty the liquid before you let the curds sit if the bowl you're using is not very deep.


Draining The Whey From The Curds
The curds will need to rest for about an hour in their cozy cheesecloth-lined strainer.


Curds Draining In A Cheesecloth-Lined Strainer
When the cheese has reached the desired consistency, pour the drained cheese into a bowl and add salt to taste.


Adding Salt To The Fresh Ricotta
Try a spoonful of your delicious homemade ricotta -- fresh, creamy, lightly salty, and just a tiny bit sweet!


A Spoonful Of Fresh Ricotta

You might also like:

4 comments:

Bright Eyes said...

From what I have found most ricotta recipes I have found are made from WHEY. What you made is a ricotta subsitute called Day cheese. I bet it tastes good too though. You can make Mozarella cheese in 30 minutes too if you choose. It is super easy and SO tastey! Enjoy your cheese making! Homemade cheese is the BEST!

Eve Fox said...

Geez, you are totally right! How interesting. Day cheese is certainly a lot easier to make than ricotta, it seems, and mighty tasty, too!

Thanks for the correction.

Anonymous said...

One consideration is that cheeses made from milk will contain casein protien. Ricotta is traditionaly made from whey which will contain little to no casien as that would have been taken out in the curd.

Self sufficient living said...

If you save the whey from making your own cheese you can make soda bread with it. It tastes so much better!