Homemade Ricotta Cheese
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If you’ve never made ricotta cheese at home, you simply must try it. It’s oh-so-easy and surpasses anything I’ve ever bought from the store in terms of flavor, texture, and mouthfeel.
It’s creamy, rich, slightly sweet, and has a hint of tang from the lemon juice.
Joe looked at me and said, “Oh honey, this is so good…”
The recipe came from my Chef instructor. I’m sure she didn’t invent the recipe. She said what she does with all recipes – take it, make it at home, and then make it your own.
You see, I’ve learned that all great chefs share one quality – they’re dedicated to passing on the art and craft of what they do. They want you to take what they know, learn how to do it, and then make it your own.
It’s kind of like when a kindergartner goes to school and learn how to write her ABC’s. At first, she can just trace what her teacher has put in front of her. Next, she’s able to write free form letters that look much like the ones her teacher gave her. Eventually, she develops her very own style of writing that looks nothing like her teachers. Yes, the basic components are the same. But the form is uniquely hers.
Allowing that to happen in the world of gluten-free cooking is so important right now. We’re really still at the beginning. Staying open and being committed to passing it on is key to improving not only the quality of food but the image that goes along with eating gluten-free. There is so much work to do!
I’m not suggesting that anyone take credit for a recipe they didn’t develop. But I am suggesting that maybe, just maybe, there’s too much fear instilled in people about who owns a recipe, which according to the US government’s copyright laws, is no one.
Every dish that comes out of my kitchen has been influenced by so many great chefs that have come before me – Martha Rose Shulman, Ina Garten, Michele Brown, Rachel Ray, Martha Stewart, Alice Waters, Linday Shere, Carol Fenster, Carol Gelles, Julia Child, Janice Feuer, James Beard, Amy Scherber, The Moosewood Collective, and Mali Niall to name a few. I’ve read and re-read their recipes and techniques, brought them into the kitchen with me countless times and cooked their food. And then I make it my own.
As far as this recipe goes, I think it’s perfect just as it is. I’ve spread it on toast, put it on top of pizza, and I might just make some of my Chocolate Cannoli Cupcakes with it, too.
So please, take this recipe and have fun with it. And don’t be afraid to make it your own.
Have a great way to use ricotta? Share it in the comments section – and leave a link if it’s posted on your blog.
Other Ricotta Recipes:
Homemade Ricotta Cheese
makes about 2 cups
64 ounces (1/2 gallon) 1% milk
8 ounces heavy cream
8 grams kosher salt (a generous 1 1/4 teaspoon)
48 grams freshly squeezed lemon juice (a generous 1 1/2 tablespoons)
Special equipment: a large fine mesh sieve or colander; cheesecloth
Wet a piece of cheesecloth large enough to line the sieve or colander with a double layer and squeeze out the excess water. Line the sieve or colander and set over a large bowl. Set aside.
Put milk, heavy cream, and salt in a large, heavy bottomed stock pot and bring to a rolling boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Once the milk comes to a boil, add the lemon juice and stir constantly for two minutes, until the milk curdles.
Pour the mixture into the lined sieve or colander and let it drain for an hour. Gently squeeze any excess whey out of the ricotta, store in an airtight container, and chill.
Chef said that the whey can be reserved for up to a week and used in bread recipes…I haven’t tried this yet with my bread recipe but I’m going to.
The original recipe called for whole milk – any type of milk can be used. I had 1% on hand, so that’s what I used.
If you don’t have any lemon juice, you can also use 16 – 20 grams of Cream of Tartar.
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