Ricotta Cheese

Cheese Making photo for Ricotta Cheese

Ricotta (re-cooked in Italian) is made by heating the whey from another cooked cheese which makes it really a cheese by-product. Heating the left-over whey to a high temperature deactivates the enzyme action of the rennet and denatures the whey proteins. The increased acidity then forces more curd to be extracted from the whey. Milk is added to increase the yield and absorb the additional energy. You can use the whey from a batch of mozzarella to make a fresh ricotta cheese but take note; the whey will begin to spoil within about two hours, so use it right away.

Ingredients

  • Fresh Whey from batch of mozzarella
  • 1/2 galWhole Milk
  • 2-4 TbspLemon Juice or White Vinegar
  • 1/4 tspFlaked Salt(Optional)

Procedure

Heat the whey to 195 degrees F but do not let it boil. The whey will go from being nearly clear to very cloudy.

Add refrigerated whole milk to the whey. Slowly stir the mixture until it returns to 195 degrees F. The curd will float to the top. When the target temperature is reached, remove the cheese pot from heat.

Use a slotted spoon or strainer to ladle the curd from the pot into a heatproof bowl. Continue this process until you’ve removed all the curd that you can.

Stir in 2 – 4 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice or vinegar one tablespoon at a time. Do this until all the acid is used or until more curd is floating on top of the whey. Skim off the new curds and place them in the bowl.

Use this moist ricotta immediately or refrigerate for up to three days.

For a drier textured ricotta, place the fresh cheese into a ricotta basket or cheesecloth-lined colander. Gently break up the curd with your hands and allow them to drain into a bowl or sink for 5 - 10 minutes.

homemade cheese tray

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