Sunday, August 17, 2014

Making Fresh Ricotta

I love cheese, and it all starts there. Ricotta is one of my favorites, it's so versatile and when you make it at home it is absolutely divine. I particularly like serving it with with peaches, berries or tomatoes.  I made grilled peaches with a honey glaze and lemon-thyme for the food truck and they flew out the window.  The food truck has been such a great adventure, I am having so much fun creating menus with what is in season and fresh every day.  I don't think I've repeated myself yet, there's just so much I want to make and this is giving me the opportunity to do so.  It is certainly a lot more work than setting a menu and repeating it, and I'm sure more cost effective too.  But that's not what this is about for me right now.  I am reveling in having to be creative enough to come up with three inventive quality menus every week.  I guess at some point I'll have to pick my favorites and go with those, but it seems that by the time that happens, it will be a whole new season with a whole different crop of fruits and veggies to work with.  Lets just say I am not likely to become bored with it, boredom is my greatest enemy.  I hate to admit it, but I'd rather do things the hard way in order to produce something I am excited about.  

You won't need any fancy cheese making ingredients to make this, but you will need a good candy making thermometer and some cheesecloth.  I used whole milk and buttermilk for this recipe, next time I will experiment by adding cream for a silkier and richer consistency.  With what I had leftover, I made roast tomato and ricotta tartines- pretty scrumptious!  The cheese will keep for about a week in the refrigerator, obviously mine didn't make it that long. 

Home-Made Ricotta

Deep-Fry or Candy thermometer

Stainless steel pot

8 cups whole milk
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Stack several squares of cheesecloth in a colander and set the colander over a large bowl.

2. Combine the milk and buttermilk in a large pot and attach the thermometer to the side.
Place the pot over high heat .  Stir constantly as curds form and when thermometer reaches 175-180 degrees, curds will separate and float.  Turn off the heat.

3.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer curds to prepared colander and sprinkle with salt.  Gather the cheesecloth around the ricotta pressing gently to release some of the liquid.  Let the ricotta rest about 20 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl, cover and chill. 

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