Traditionally, ricotta is made by re-boiling the whey from making mozzarella (ricotta means recooked in Italian, just like biscotti means twice cooked – I love a sensible language!) but for a far simpler version, you can make one which is a lot like a paneer. This is one from the Daring Cooks challenge recipes. The only change (?) I made was in the choice of vinegar to curdle the milk – the original says “white distilled vinegar” but I used a lovely Italian white wine vinegar. And O.M.G. it was good! The texture was like cheesy clouds, the taste so creamy and sweet! Food bliss! It’s a lot of milk for a pretty low yield, but well worth it – I promise, you will not want to go back to store-bought. Mine went on to star in a lasagna with spinach, tomato and garlic. *happy sigh*
Makes about 500g
2 litres whole milk
500ml whole cream
1 1/2 tsp salt
5 tbsp white wine vinegar
Combine milk, cream, and salt in a large, heavy-based stainless steel pot and stir over medium-low heat as you gently bring the temperature up to 85°C.
Add the vinegar all at once and stir for 15 seconds; heat for two more minutes before removing from heat.
Allow to rest undisturbed for 30 minutes.
Using a small sieve or slotted spoon, remove the floating curds and place them in a cheesecloth-lined colander to drain for at least about 2 hours or overnight. Mine stopped dripping after about 2 hours, so I just let it sit until I was ready to use it (about 4 hours), but the longer you allow it to drain, the firmer the cheese.
Use straight away or refrigerate for up to two weeks. Believe me, though – you won’t be able to hold out for that long!