Like most food lovers, I have a small obsession with all things cheese. I’ve been known to take a “quick trip” to Murray’s or Stinky Bklyn or Bedford Cheese Shop and emerge hours later in a lactose-induced coma. Brie, Manchego, or Roomano — put it near me and I’ll play Houdini.
However, it’s never really occurred to me to make my own cheese. Somehow I’ve had the assumption that to create such perfection, dubious amounts of time and effort must be put forth. This DIY ricotta has just minutes of active preparation with a 100 percent satisfaction rate.
For the recipe, I absolutely love using Ronnybrook Farm‘s creamline milk. It’s a sure way to that full-fat, stick-to-your-ribs whole milk satisfaction. The best part is what you can do with the results; ricotta is such a versatile cheese with a mild flavor that can be coerced into being sweet (think honey, preserves and fruit) or savory (think herbs and spices). And sometimes you just smear the plain stuff all over the closest piece of bread you can find. Whatever works for you should be delicious!
3 cups milk
1 ½ cups heavy cream
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice
Using a large sieve or strainer, line with cheesecloth and place over a large bowl. In a pot, gradually bring all ingredients except your acid to a boil while stirring consistently to prevent the milk from burning.
When your milk begins to simmer, add your acid and stir for two minutes, or until curdling occurs (if you prefer a dryer ricotta with larger curds, let simmer for a couple of minutes after it begins to curdle; if you prefer a creamier ricotta with smaller curds, then strain after the mixture has curdled).
Pour your mixture through your cheesecloth and strainer and let it drain until you have your desired consistency (about 15 minutes for a dryer cheese, about 5 for a creamier one).
Voilà — you can now refrigerate your cheese and hang on to your the whey for bread making or other uses. Now just try not to stand in front of the refrigerator with a spoon!
Photo credit: Emily Ziemski