Monday, February 20, 2012

Oh My God What Is That Disgusting Smell?!?!?

So I've been experimenting in the kitchen lately. I made homemade yogurt the other day and that came out fantastic. In my quest to find out what to do with the leftover whey I discovered that you can use it to make homemade ricotta cheese. I also discovered that in order to use it to make homemade ricotta cheese you need a lot. Like gallons of it. So instead of making homemade ricotta cheese with leftover whey, I made it with milk. And let me tell you it was a piece of cake cheese. Really, it was very easy to do. Ridiculously easy.

  • You start out with milk. I used a gallon of whole milk, but you can use 2%, or even skim if you want. I like the full-fat kind.
  • You pour it into a nice big pan and heat it up to 170 degrees F.
  • Then you remove it from the heat and pour in 1/2 cup (verify amts) of lemon juice or white vinegar.
  • Let it sit for 5 minutes. It will start to seize up like, well, like ricotta cheese.
This was point where the hubby and I stood over the pan with wide eyes, breathing in deeply, saying 'it smells just like ricotta cheese!' while the kids said 'oh my god what is that disgusting smell?!?!?'
  • After it sits for 5 minutes, pour the whole mess of it into a cheese-cloth lined collander. Since I don't have cheese cloth I used an old clean white pillowcase. Let all the liquid (whey) drain out. If you want to keep the whey for future recipes (you can use it as liquid in all sorts of recipes I've heard) put a bowl underneath to catch the whey. Let it sit for about an hour. The curds will remain in the pillowcase-covered collander and voila - there's your ricotta! The longer you let it sit, the drier and thicker it will become. I found that 50-60 minutes was just the right amount of time to get it to the same consistency as what you'd buy at the store.
 And the plus is, that for $4 for a gallon of whole milk (I mistakenly bought the more expensive milk) I got 4 cups of ricotta. About half what I'd pay for ricotta at the store. What a deal! And it was delicious to boot!

I ate some right off a spoon and thoroughly enjoyed it. Then for dinner, I made some homemade crepes and wrapped up some ricotta (and mozzarella, and egg, some parmesan cheese and some spices) into nice little rolls and had homemade manicotti. My favorite

It was delicious!

Up next? More yogurt! And homemade mozzarella! That's right. I'm going to attempt to make homemade mozzarella. If you see nothing else about it on this blog ever, then assume it was a horrendous failure and I'm avoiding the topic. But I'm hoping it's a wild success and I plan on blathering on about it endlessly. I know you can hardly wait! Stay tuned!


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