Ricotta--is it really this easy?

soozNovember 15, 2012

Hi, Everyone!

I picked up a cookbook today--Better than Storebought, and saw this recipe for ricotta (and I'm a tiny bit confused by one of the instructions--see below):

2 qts milk

3 T distilled white vinegar or 1/4 C strained fresh lemon juice

salt if desired

Put the milk in a nonreactive saucepan and then stir in the vinegar or lemon juice. Over very low heat, bring the milk slowly to a simmer (200 degrees on a thermometer) where there will be little bubbles of milk around the edge of the milk--it will look foamy but the milk won't be boiling.

Remove pot from heat and set it, covered, in a spot where it will be undisturbed for about 6 hours, at a place where the temp will be between 80 to 100 degrees. The solid curds will float above the liquid whey.

Line a sieve with dampened cheesecloth, doubled and set it over a bowl.

Here is where I'm CONFUSED.

The books says "Dip the curds and whey into the sieve and allow the whey to drain off until the ricotta is yogurtlike."

DIP them into the sieve? Shouldn't I be pouring all the curds & whey stuff from the sauce pan into the sieve? Dip them into the sieve? How do I dip them if the sieve is set over a bowl?

Anyway, the instructions continue stating that one can tie the corners of the cheesecloth to form a bag and hand it up to drain some more. When the texture is how you want it (I have no clue as to how long that will take), add a bit of salt and store the ricotta in the fridge, covered. Chill for 24 hours, and it'll keep for about 5 days.

Aside from my confusion, is it really this easy?

Thanks for any help!

Smiles,

Sooz

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laceyvail

It simply means dip something into the curds and whey and pour it into the sieve. And yes, it's that easy.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 6:04AM
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ritaweeda

I have used milk and lemon juice to make panir, an East Indian cheese, pretty much the same thing. The difference is that I heat the milk until bubbles form around the edge, then take it off the heat and add the lemon juice. It immediately curdles. Then pour into a colander lined with cheesecloth, tie at the top (not too tight) and let hang from the faucet for an hour or two. This is good plain or you can salt and season it with whatever herbs and spices you choose. The only problem is it doesn't last long in the frig. - you need to use it within about 3 days.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 6:28AM
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chase_gw

Yup it's that easy! The only hard part is finding a place at that temperature!

The point of the verb "dip" is that you don't want to disturb the curds and whet so much that it goes back to being to liquid. I just use a large spoon and gently move the curd whey mixture to the sieve.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 7:26AM
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lindac

Perhaps if they had said "ladle it out" you might be less confused.
You want to spoon the curds out of the whey, leaving the whey behind.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 9:36AM
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foodonastump

I made it once, yes it was that easy and yes it was very good. I got relatively little ricotta out of a whole lot of milk though. Might have been user error - for one thing I know I didn't keep it between 80 and 100 deg. Fresh ricotta is readily available by me and not expensive, so I never bothered to make it again. But if big brand tubs were all I could get, I'd definitely find it worth making.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 10:17AM
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pkramer60

It is easier than easy and the flavor is so much better than the store bought junk.

I do mine with buttermilk rather than vingar or lemon. If you need a very dry cheese, say for ravioli filling, let it drain overnight.

Here is a link that might be useful: homemade ricotta with buttermilk

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 12:36PM
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pkramer60

It is easier than easy and the flavor is so much better than the store bought junk.

I do mine with buttermilk rather than vingar or lemon. If you need a very dry cheese, say for ravioli filling, let it drain overnight.

Here is a link that might be useful: homemade ricotta with buttermilk

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 12:38PM
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leagardens

It really is easy, I took some classes through our city's Bureau of Planning and Sustainability and we made cheese! I have made Ricotta at home, very handy when I wanted to make lasagna. Here is the recipe for Ricotta from our instructor's website, Claudia has a lot of information there.

Here is a link that might be useful: Whole milk Ricotta

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 1:32PM
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annie1992

I agree, it is that easy. I took a cheese making class at a local dairy and make both ricotta and mozzarella as well as yogurt.

As FOAS mentioned, it doesn't make much, given the amount of milk used and as also mentioned, you don't actually "dip" the curds but you want to be gentle with them and not break them up any more than necessary.

Annie

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 4:32PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Do you need to find milk that is not ultra-pasturized? I've not ever tried it, but from what I read, there is so little bacteria in the ultra-pasturized stuff that it isn't good for making cheese.....

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 4:59PM
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leagardens

"Do you need to find milk that is not ultra-pasturized?"
Yes, it's best not to use it, I have found that most milk is NOT ultra pasteurized, I check labels and some will say if it is.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cheese making trouble shooting and tips

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 6:20PM
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Gina_W

Watch how Manjula does it - she makes it look very easy:

Manjula's Kitchen - How to make Paneer

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 7:22PM
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annie1992

I agree, I've had no trouble finding milk that is not ultra-pasturized, I just use milk that I buy in the local grocery store and it works fine.

I do like it better when I make the drive to the local organic dairy and buy their milk, but theirs is pasturized also, raw milk cannot be sold in Michigan.

Annie

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 7:36PM
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sooz

Thanks, everyone!!!!!
Smiles,
Sooz

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 7:54PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Thanks gina w, that video was very helpful....I'll have to give it a try sometime.

What I'd really like to try is fresh mozzarella sometime....Yum!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 9:57AM
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jacksonwalker

It is similar to cheese as per me, when I tasted it the first time I thought it would be cheese but my aunt told me she has prepared Ricotta. I have just learned to make cheese by the use of cheese making kits, it has been great fun to prepare cheese. My kids also help me with it, taste of homemade cheese is just awesome.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 6:00AM
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