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Ricotta Cheesemaking Formula
Mary Karlin, Elements of Taste

Yields 1 pound

Ricotta is a simple, fresh cheese that takes little time to make. It is best when used within a few days while its flavor is bright and the texture is still moist and creamy. Traditionally, ricotta is made by reheating whey (ricotta means cooked in Italian) after making other cheeses though it takes a fair amount of whey to yield a usable amount of ricotta. This home-crafted formula using whole milk and citric acid is very basic. If you like an even richer and creamier ricotta, try making it with heavy cream exclusively.

Milk: raw or pasteurized whole cow’s milk
Alternative Milk: pasteurized goat’s milk or raw goat’s milk, if you have a reliable source

Start to Finish:
            Making the cheese: 1 hour
            Draining the cheese: 20-30 minutes or until desired consistency is reached

1 gallon pasteurized whole cow’s milk, at room temperature
½ cup heavy cream (optional)
1 teaspoon citric acid powder
1 teaspoon + 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

Equipment & Supplies:
Non-reactive heavy core bottom 10 quart stock pot
Instant-read thermometer
Flexible wire, long handle stainless steel whisk
Food- grade flexible blade rubber spatula
Plastic strainer/colander
Butter muslin
Metal bowl or plastic bucket as sink
Wooden spoon for hanging cheese

1-Combine the room-temperature milk, cream (if using), citric acid, and 1 teaspoon salt and mix thoroughly with a whisk.

2- Place in a large non-reactive pot and over medium-low heat; heat the milk to 185-195 degrees F. This will take about 15-20 minutes. Stir frequently with a flexible rubber spatula to prevent scorching. As the milk reaches the desired temperature you will see the curds start to form.

3- When the curds and whey separate, and the whey is yellowish-green and just slightly cloudy, turn off the heat. Gently run a thin rubber spatula around the edge of the curds to rotate the mass.

4-Let the curds set without disturbing for 10 minutes.

5- Line a colander or plastic strainer with water-dampened butter muslin. Carefully ladle the curds into the colander being careful not to break up the curds. Use a long handle mesh skimmer to capture the last of the curds. If any curds are stuck to the bottom of the pan, leave them there. You don’t want scorched curds flavoring your cheese.

6- Gently toss the curds with the remaining 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Be mindful not to break up the curds in the process.

7- Tie two opposite corners of the butter muslin into a knot and repeat with the other two corners. Slip a dowel or wooden spoon through the knot to suspend the bag over the sink. Drain the curds for 20-30 minutes or until the desired consistency has been reached. If you like a moist ricotta, stop draining just as the whey has stopped dripping. If you like it drier, or are using it to make ricotta salata, let the curds drain for a longer period of time.

8 -Transfer the cheese to a lidded container. Cover and store refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Tips: If you don’t have citric acid powder, use 1 tablespoon lemon juice.


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