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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Making Ricotta Cheese from Whey

                     'Old World' Style Ricotta- smooth and creamy.

Whey is a by-product of cheese making. It has many uses, but my favorite is making ricotta cheese.
There are three methods of making ricotta. I prefer the 'Old World Style, but you don't get much, this way.
I usually wind up with 2/3 to 3/4 of a gallon of whey, from making a pound of cheddar. The first two recipes will be for that amount, of whey.

The Old World method:
Place the colander over a bowl, Line it with the towel.
Heat the gallon (or less) of whey to 200*f. Once it reaches about 180*f, you will see tiny particles, float to the surface. This is the protein in the whey, starting to coagulate. (These tiny particles, are the ricotta)
Once it reaches 200*, pour it slowly, into the colander. It will be near the boiling point, use caution. Let it drain, about 30minutes, then gather the corners of the cloth together, and secure with a rubber band. Let it hang over the colander, to drip for about 2 hours.
Remove the rubber band, and using a rubber spatula, scrape the cheese into a bowl, most of it will be clinging to the cloth. Chill. It's ready to use. You will wind up with about 2Tbl. of ricotta from this method.
Good for about 2weeks in the fridge.

      The vinegar method. Not as smooth, but still fairly creamy. Yields 1/4 cup.

The vinegar method:
Proceed the same way, as the Old World method, except, add 2Tbl. white vinegar to they whey, after it reaches 200*f., stirring about 1 minute, before pouring it into the colander.  You will wind up with about 1/4 cup of ricotta. The texture is not as smooth, but it tastes the same.

Ricotta from whole milk:
I won't have a photo for this method, I made it only once, and prefer to use whole milk, to make cheddar cheese curds. The cheese you get from this method is very chunky, and has to be broken up, before you can use it. Heat 2Quarts of whole milk, to 200*f., in a heavy pot. turn the burner off, and stir in 3-4Tbl. of white vinegar. Cover and let stand 15-20 minutes. Proceed to drain, the same as the other methods.

I think these thin, cotton kitchen towels, are perfect for cheese making. I add a little bleach, when I wash them.

                                             Heat the whey to 200*f.

   At around 180*f., You will see tiny particles begin to float on the surface.

Once it reaches 200*, Pour it into a towel lined colander. Let it drain, 30minutes. After 30 minutes, gather the edges of the towel, together, and secure with a rubber band. Lay across the top of the colander, or let it hang, for about 2 hours.

Most of the ricotta, will be clinging to the cloth. Use a rubber spatula, to scrape it into a pile. transfer to a dish and refrigerate. It's ready to use.

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