In which I am a cheesemaker
When I saw this recipe for homemade ricotta on Smitten Kitchen I was immediately entranced. I HAD to have homemade ricotta, no matter how many gallons of milk I wasted in the process. There was just one snag. I didn’t have a candy thermometer. I had been meaning to get one for ages (mostly because of caramel candy) but hadn’t got around to doing so. When I saw this recipe I immediately went and bought one, so great was my desire for homemade cheese. But I simply couldn’t wait for 2/3 weeks for it to arrive (international shipping, MEH). So I decided to forge ahead nonetheless. I found this recipe by searching for ‘homemade ricotta without a candy thermometer’ and it proved to be extremely helpful. It took just 20 minutes, at the end of which I was rewarded by rich creamy goodness. Cheesemaking is not easy but some things can certainly be made at home. The process is incredibly similar to the Indian chana or paneer except this is creamy and soft instead of hard cubes. I f you have balked at making your own cheese, I urge you to try this because really, nothing can be simpler.
2 cups milk
2 cups cream
Juice of 1 1/2 small lemons
A large square of cheesecloth (if you live in india and don’t have a cheesecloth, use one of your mum’s or grandmum’s old cotton sarees, the really thin white ones)
Pinch of salt
Blend together the milk and cream and pour into a large dutch oven or a pot with a thick bottom.
Once the milk starts foaming, add the lemon juice and the salt.
Wait for it to curdle and then turn down the heat to the lowest it will go.
Keep it like this for a couple of minutes before taking off heat.
Strain the mixture through the cheesecloth into a large bowl, bring together the edges of the cloth and tie it with a strip of cloth that you have torn from the main piece earlier. You can also use a heavy duty rubber band.
Hang this to drip on the tap of your kitchen sink.
Once this has cooled down enough to handle, squeeze out the whey with your hands.
And your beautiful ricotta is ready.