Homemade Ricotta Pt. 2
Tonight marked my second attempt at homemade ricotta. I finally found citric acid at the warehouse store of http://www.beer-wine.com/, which is located in Woburn, Massachusetts. I also picked up starter cultures for Formage Blanc and Thermophilic cultures (used in making Italian cheeses). While I didn’t have any specific plan in mind for those cultures I figured it didn’t hurt to pick them up while I was in the neighborhood since they keep for up to two years in the freezer. I also learned from an employee there that apparently wine making can be quite easy. Perhaps I’ll take that on, if I ever master cheese.
Anyway, armed with my citric acid I was now able to make the ricotta recipe from Home Cheese Making
by Ricki Carroll. Her recipe involved combining 1 gallon of milk
with 1 teaspoon citric acid
(dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water) and 1 teaspoon salt
. I was then instructed to heat the milk to 185?-190?F until the curds separated and the water was no longer milky. At this point I was to turn off the heat and let the pot sit, covered and undisturbed for 10 minutes. This seemed easy enough, especially compared to the previous method which required a lot of resting time.
Everything seemed to be going well except that my curds never floated like some of the pictures I saw online, despite my being patient and armed with an instant read thermometer. I also wasn’t attentive enough in my stirring which led to some curds sticking to the bottom and darkening. They still taste good, but ruin the pure white appearance of the cheese, making it look instead like it was flecked with cinnamon. I didn’t end up with the full 1 1/2 – 2 lb. yield, but I did come MUCH closer this time, getting about 14 ounces. Again, the flavor is good, sweet, rich and milky. I was expecting the cheese to taste a little more gamey or earthy since I had been told that the cows just started on pasture, but it mostly tasted like sweet, clean milk. Being the perfectionist I am I’m not quite where I would like to be skill-wise, but I am slowly getting there.
Next up will be a dish that I made with some of the homemade ricotta. Stay tuned.