First I will start off with the blog award since that is more exciting than making cheese. A big, HUGE thank you to Ruth from Spring of a Curiouseed and Maggie from Kitchie Coo for awarding me with the coolest award around town. Please visit their blogs. They are awesome. And funny. Did I mention funny? Anyway, this award is awarded to up and coming bloggers with less than 200 followers. Thank you for making my day ladies!
Now.... time to pass it on to five blogs. I would love to give the following blogs this award!
What Would Jessica Eat?
Oh Shine on
Quest for Delish
Now, for the recipe!!
Can I tell you how exciting it is to make your own cheese? I could have put thirty question mark/exclamation points after that sentence to show you how excited I am over this. Who knew making your own cheese was so easy? I found this recipe on the blog Tasty Kitchen, which features step by step directions and pictures to help you along the way. Dear God, I bought a gallon of milk for this. i wanted to make sure I did it right so I didn't ruin it!
Ricotta is one of my favorite cheeses to cook with because it is so versatile! You can make it savory or sweet and eat it warm or cold. It adds a rich depth of flavor and creaminess that cannot be matched. I really like to use it in baking also( ie my lemon ricotta muffins). Ok. I am now off of my cheese soap box. Let's talk about the recipe.
It had three main ingredients and less than five steps. Sold. I purchased 2% milk, but feel free to buy Whole for whole milk Ricotta. The 2% worked fine with me. The recipe also calls for a digital thermometer, which I did not have. I was to cheap to buy a digital thermometer so I used my meat thermometer. Obviously, don't use a meat thermometer that only has meat settings( ie pork,chicken,beef.) Mine has numbers so I was able to tell when the milk hit 185 degrees F. Also don't put the burner on too high. You don't want to burn the milk. You pretty much have to stir the bottom every few minutes to make sure it does not burn. Another tip: when buying lemons for this, buy a bag. It could take a few ( it took me 3) to get 2/3 cup of lemon juice. And please, do not use that weird lemon juice in the bottle that looks like a plastic lemon. That has other ingredients in it and would probably not work as well. I bought a bag of like ten lemons for $4. Buying two lemons was $2. Sometimes it pays to buy in bulk. I'm sure you can use your imagination to use the lemons in other dishes. Chicken picatta anyone? Speaking of lemons, make things easy on yourself and zest the lemons before you juice them. It will be difficult to zest the lemons when they are all limp and juiced.
Ok, that is it for my cheese making tips. Good Luck, however I really don't think you will need it.
1 gallon Whole Milk
1 teaspoon Salt
⅔ cups Lemon Juice
⅓ cups Basil, Minced (optional)
1 teaspoon Lemon Zest ( optional)
⅓ teaspoons Pepper
|Yes this is only at 80 degrees. Heat until 185!|
In a large Dutch oven or deep pot, heat milk and salt to 185ºF, stirring frequently to avoid scalding. Remove from heat and pour in lemon juice. Let sit for 25 minutes while curds separate and form. Do not disturb.
Line a large colander or strainer with a double layer of cheese cloth, placing them over a deep bowl. Slowly pour cheese mixture into the strainer lined with cheesecloth and allow to drain, about 10-15 minutes or until the liquid no longer strains freely.
Place in a large bowl. Fold in minced basil, lemon zest, and pepper if desired. Do not mix too much, just enough to incorporate.
Place in sealed containers and let chill for two hours. Serve with garlic toast and olive oil for drizzling.