Saturday, October 15, 2011

Saturday special

I like to cook on Saturdays.  I think its because we have no other plans, and no deadlines to meet.  Today was no different.  I woke up with a list of kitchen projects to do, and I think I got most of them complete!

So on my list for today was making Ricotta cheese, starting some no-knead artisan bread, making a pie crust and filling for chicken pot pie.  I also had planned some chocolate chip cookies, but ran out of steam before I got around to them!

The ricotta cheese came out perfect.  I think I could sit down with a spoon and eat the whole bowl. Maybe with rasberries.   Here's what you do: (modified from here)

1/2 gallon whole milk
1/6 cup white vinegar + 1/2 teaspoon
1/8 teaspoon salt

Pour milk into a large pot. Turn on the burn to medium, or just below medium.  You don't want to heat the milk too quickly!  Once the milk gets to 180*-185* F, remove it from heat.  Add the vinegar and stir for about a minute.  You'll be able to see the milk separate and turn sort of gloopy.  That's when its time to add the salt.  Cover your pot with a clean tea towel and leave it alone for a couple of hours.

Draining the curds in a flour sack rag.
Line a colander with a flour sack rag, or several layers of cheesecloth. Some people use a paper towel, some a coffee filter.  I don't think either of those would hold up like I would wish, but you're welcome to try them.  Place the colander over a bowl or pan large enough that there will be room for the whey to drain.  Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the curds (milk solids) to place in the colander. Or, (and this is the method I used) dump your pot of milk stuff into the colander.  Its all going to separate anyway!  Cover your draining curds with the tea towel again and walk away for another two hours. Don't look at them. Don't poke at them.  Just forget about them for a little while.

After two hours, you should have about 2 cups of fresh ricotta cheese.  Well, technically, I think its just considered fresh cheese, since ricotta is really made from the whey by-product of mozarella cheese. Take the four corners of your draining material and hold them together to form a sack.  Gently squeeze the milk solids inside until the whey turns whitish (unless you want a wetter ricotta cheese), then put it in a bowl with a lid.
Ricotta Cheese- finished product.

I stored mine in a washed out sour cream container.  Store yours wherever you think is best.  It'll keep for about a week.  Or eat it.  Eat it now!

Leftover Whey (and a few curds that slipped through!)
Don't throw away the whey; you can use it to bake with! And I'll tell you more about that next time...

What's happening in YOUR kitchen?


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  2. Interesting! I never knew how ricotta was made. We're living wheat-free these days so the stuff going on in my kitchen is to learn an arsenal of recipes that don't contain wheat. Tonight was a crock-pot full of glazed pulled pork (thanks to Pinterest).

  3. PL- that sounds yummy! Luckily, we don't have to be wheat free, but I do have some friends and relatives with either a gluten allergy or Celiac's, so I try to be aware of those things, and include them in my repertoire. I need to start tagging recipes that are gluten free. Thanks for the reminder!

  4. Nothing's happening in my kitchen right now...kind of a scary place, what with all those dirty dishes and whatnot...maybe I should do something about that! Ok I will...tomorrow...I'm too tired right now...