Monday, July 6, 2009

Cheese is Heaven!

I've been inspired lately (by Ethan mostly) and decided that I would start making our own cheese. So far I've made mozzarella, lemon cheese, and ricotta. Once my cultures and cheese press get here I will be making queso fresco, Gorgonzola, and cheddar among a few. It's really easy and we all love it. I've included the recipe for the easy version, which incidentally enough I made at my cooking class. We love it the best on some homemade sourdough bread with alaea finishing salt and some lemon zest.

Whole Milk Ricotta
1 gallon whole milk ( I use Raw Milk of course. In a pinch I use 1/2 gal raw milk and 1/2 gal whole; also be sure that it is pasteurized and not ultra-pasteurized.
1 tsp citric acid
1/4 c cool water (bottled water not from tap)
1 tsp salt, optional (cheese salt, however I use sel gris)
1-2 tbsp heavy cream (not needed if you are using raw milk, but highly recommended if using regular pasteurized milk.)

Add the citric acid into the water and stir until dissolved. Add this to your pot along with the salt and milk and mix thoroughly.

Heat the milk to 185 - 195 degrees (do not boil) . I have looked at my cheese log and found that I am most satisfied when my milk reaches 190 degrees. Stir often to prevent scorching.

As soon as the curds and whey separate (make sure whey is not milky), turn off the heat and leave undisturbed for 10 min. Be warned that if using Raw milk you won't see the curds until you let it rest, so don't panic.

Line a colander with butter muslin. Carefully ladle the curds into the muslin; once all curds are in tie the corners of muslin in knot and hang the bag to drain for 20 to 30 min (for raw milk ricotta you may need to leave undisturbed for 1 hour or more). The cheese is ready to eat once it is drained. For a creamier consistency, add the cream at the end and mix thoroughly.

Store in a covered container in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. Enjoy

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