Do you like cheese…?? Do you despair when looking for authentic, affordable cheeses in the shops..?? If this is you (it is definitely me), then you should consider giving this Ricotta Cheese recipe a go.
I looked into cheese making a while back and was totally put off by the rigmarole of sterilising everything and controlling temperatures to within a few degrees. That sort of cooking sounds far too much like hard work to me!!
But this recipe for Ricotta Cheese is nothing of the sort. It’s easy, there’s no sterilising and you only need 4 store cupboard ingredients: full fat milk, cream, salt and lemon juice.
The recipe is from dish magazine to which I am a beloved subscriber. Nearly every meal I cook has an element of dish in there – the recipes are simple, yummy, look impressive and don’t have complicated ingredients. Love.
Step 1: Heat gently
Combine 1.75L of full fat milk, 0.25L of cream and 2tsp of sea salt in a large saucepan. Heat gently and stir occasionally until the mixture foams and comes to the boil. And WATCH IT.
We’ve all had milk boiling over disasters and they are best avoided by maintaining a watchful eye over the pan.
Step 2: Add the acid
Remove the pan from the heat and add 3 tbsp of lemon juice. Stir the mixture gently and you’ll see the change happening immediately. The mixture separates forming curds, the solids and whey, the greenish liquid.
Now leave it to sit for 10 minutes.
Step 3: Collect the curds
Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the curds into a sieve lined with damp muslin cloth – make sure the sieve is sitting over a large bowl or jug to catch the whey!!
You can also just pour out the contents of the pan into the sieve, but go slowly and allow the whey to drain away before pouring more.
Step 4: Drain and serve
Leave the curds to sit in the muslin for a hour or so at room temperature then remove from the muslin and store in the fridge. They harden and become more crumbly in the fridge but if you prefer a smoother, looser texture the cheese can be whipped up with lemon juice. The cheese has a very mild flavour so I like to add a bit of ‘something’ – lots of black pepper and the zest of a lemon works for me!! But you could add garlic, some finely chopped chilli – or try a sweet version and whip in some honey.
The recipe in dish said to discard the whey but I didn’t. It seemed like a lot of ‘waste’ when you think that 2L of valuable liquid went into this recipe!! I used it to make the ciabatta bread you see in the picture (I have an AWESOME recipe for this which I’ll share at a later date) and I’ve also used it to make scones. It’s a great replacement for milk or water in any bread making and keeps in the fridge for a few days – the perfect reason to ‘Get Your Bread On’, get baking and make something delicious to eat with the beautiful cheese you just made.
And that’s it. Homemade ricotta cheese. It’s a really versatile thing to have in the fridge. It’s great spread on crostini with your favourite toppings – I’ve used a slice of prosciutto ham and a small dollop of pea and basil puree. These are really impressive looking little canapés or snacks. It’s also beautiful with a piece of roasted salmon, stirred through pasta, or just on toast…..because you can!! Enjoy xx