Ricotta is a beautiful cheese that celebrates in its own simplicity. This pure white cheese is light, yet creamy with a slightly sweet taste.
Traditionally ricotta is made from the left over whey from such Italian cheeses as mozzarella or provolone. You can always tell a good quality ricotta because it will smell and taste of the milk it is made of, hence mass manufactured ricotta will not taste of much – the perfect reason to make it yourself at home!
Ricotta cheese is simple to make and tastes so much better than store bought that you may find yourself eating it by the spoonful.
3.785 litres of organic full cream milk (remember that you need the best quality milk you can find)
945 millilitres of butter milk
cheese cloth or cotton muslin
Line a sieve with a double layer of damp cheesecloth, or cotton gauze, and set aside.
Pour both milks into a non-reactive saucepan (stainless steel), and stir to combine. Turn the heat on high and allow the milks to warm, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Once the milk mixture is warm stop stirring, curds will start to rise to the surface. Occasionally scrap more of these curds from the bottom of the pan with your spoon.
When the milks reaches around 80 degrees Celsius the curds and whey will separate; meaning that you will see cloudy white water (whey) appear under curds (solids) floating on the surface.
Immediately take the mixture off the heat and spoon the solids into the prepared cheesecloth. Once the mixture has drained tie the loose sides of the cloth together and let the ricotta continue to drain, trying not to press, or put pressure on the curds.
Let the ricotta drain out of the refrigerator for another 15minutes, and then continue for up to 2 hours in the refrigerator.
To serve transfer the ricotta from the cloth into a container. Refrigerate and use within 1 week.
You will find that this ricotta is beautiful spread on rye, or fruit toast. Also try it in simple salads of baby spinach leaves, roasted cherry tomatoes and a good balsamic. Or use it to make ricotta gnocchi.