Homemade Ricotta

You know when you’re at the grocery store, and you look at something delicious and indignantly think, “I could totally make that!” and then you go home and start watching Downton Abbey, or go for a run, or chat to your long distance boyfriend on the phone for three hours, and then wake up the next morning and go about your business and you never make that thing? Even though, you know, you obviously could. Ahem, peanut butter cups, kettle chips, and ice-creams! I’m lookin’ at you.

I never thought any of that with cheese. Cheese was, to me, something that came only from the great cheese-making people in the sky. Even though Sesame Street showed me otherwise in the late ’80s, and I’ve remembered that awesomely ’80s clip all these years, it truly never occurred to me that I, too, could be a great cheese-making person, right in my own kitchen. Until our Joanna showed me otherwise.

Did you guys know you can make cheese right in your own kitchen? And then eat it, while watching Downton Abbey? Not totally in your kitchen, but still inside your own house? Unless you have a TV right in your kitchen and then you just win.

This recipe does require a few tools the average cook may not have: a cheese cloth, a cheese thermometer (no, you cannot use your meat thermometer, I already asked that), and a bowl large enough to hold your colander and accommodate whey runoff. Yes, whey. I know about whey. Because I make cheese now.

This recipe is for a delicious, creamy, spreadable ricotta, perfect for bruschetta, lasagna, mixing with honey and fruit, spreading on sandwiches, and just eating with a spoon if you feel so inclined. And why wouldn’t you? It’s your kitchen, after all. Go on about your business! Go make that thing!

HOMEMADE RICOTTA

Ingredients:

. 3 cups whole milk
. 1 cup heavy cream
. 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
. 3 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice

Instructions:

1. Combine the whole milk, cream and salt in a large saucepan and heat to 190 degrees, stirring occasionally so it won’t scorch.

2. While the milk and cream are heating, rinse out a cheese cloth and spread it across a colander in preparation for draining. Then, halve and squeeze two lemons for the fresh lemon juice.
3. Once the cheese has reached 190, add in the lemon juice, stir once more, then let it rest in the saucepan for five minutes untouched.

4. Pour the cheese mixture into the cheese cloth, then place the colander inside a large bowl, to catch the runoff. Also known as whey, for those familiar with cheese making. Or, you know, Little Miss Muffet.

5. Empty the initial whey, scrape down the sides of the cheese cloth, and gently press the cheese mixture down. Then let it rest for about an hour for a creamy cheese, two hours for a firmer, more dense cheese. To store, press into a tupperware dish and refrigerate for up to three days.

EAT IT.

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