This month's Recipes to Rival Challenge was brought to us by laurendc of I'll eat you. The challenge: to make fresh ricotta, and then to make something delicious with that fresh ricotta! A recent Bon Appetit featured homemade ricotta and I was meaning to try it - this presented the perfect opportunity. And you know what - it's so easy! This is definitely something I'll be doing from now on. I made half the recipe provided and it tok about an hour, but with very little labor.
1/2 gallon milk
1 pint buttermilk
Place buttermilk and milk in a pot, heat on med-low heat until it reaches 185 degrees.
It will begin to separate into curds and whey. Be sure to stir occasionally to make sure no curds stick to the bottom and burn. You will see that as the temperature approaches 185, the whey becomes clearer as the curds coagulate more.
Pour the curds into a cheesecloth lined collander. Tie the ends of the chesecloth together and hang for 10-15 minutes. I was out of cheesecloth so transferred curds from pot to a paper towel-lined colander. Allow to strain for about 15 minutes. Remove from the cheesecloth and place in an airtight container.
You can use milk that has been pasteurized, but not ultra-pasteurized. Ultra pasteurization heats the milk too much, and de natures the proteins that form curds. You will not get cheese from ultra pasteurized milk. Sorry.
Make sure your pots and other equiptment are very clean before starting
You can make any amount as long as you stick to a 4 parts milk to 1 part buttermilk ratio.
To use my ricotta I made one of my favorite, yet most simple ricotta dishes - a crostini with ricotta and honey. Simply toast some bread and spoon on ricotta and honey. Fresh and delicious.