So I had seen a few articles on how to make cheese and having a lot of unfounded self confidence (just this weekend I was saying that I think I could lay tile floors), I wanted to make cheese myself. My fiancée was really nervous about the mess in the kitchen and imagined storing and aging cheeses for months or years at a time in our 700 sq ft apartment and thought he had convinced me not to do it.
Of course he was wrong. While he was out for the day, I decided to try home-made ricotta cheese. I choose ricotta because there was a recipe in Food & Wine it looked simple, and I had heard about how great fresh ricotta is.
It was super easy and the ingredients were readily available. I got the whole milk, and cream at Whole Foods (organic and hormone free) and had salt and vinegar in my cupboard.
I measured out the whole milk, and cream and heated them until almost boiling but not. The recipe called for it to be at 180F but I do not have a thermometer yet. I added the vinegar, stirred, added salt, stirred, and let it sit for 3 hrs covered with a towel. After that, I laid a kitchen towel* on a colander and poured the mixture through. I twisted the towel and let the cheese dry for 45 min and then put it in the fridge.
It turned out well and I used the ricotta on pasta which I well get to in the future.
*I don’t actually own cheese cloth but my grandmother made me kitchen towels from flour sacks that I use. She embroidered kitchen utensils on the towels so they are very homey. I am sure cheesecloth would be better but these aren’t terry and I’ve used them to drain store bought ricotta before.
Adapted from Food & Wine, November 2008
2 cups milk
½ cup cream
1.5 tbsp vinegar
Pinch of salt
Heat milk and cream until foaming and steamy but not boiling. Remove from heat. Add vinegar and stir for 30 seconds. Add salt and stir for 30 seconds. Cover pot with clean towel for 2 to 3 hrs. Place cheese cloth or towel in colander. Pour