I tried my hand at making cheese today from the new book. Whole Milk Ricotta, which isn’t really a true ricotta (traditional ricotta is made by cooking the whey itself to achieve the curds, which is something I’ve done after making a batch of yogurt). This is really more of a farmers cheese.
Anyway. So… cheese. As usual, I just dove head-first into today’s project without really any forethought or planning. I mean, I’ve made yogurt and I’ve made ricotta from the whey from that… so how hard could this be?
Turns out – not so hard… as long as you do a little homework first. I divided the recipe in half, opting to make a 1/2 gallon of milk into cheese so I can use the other 1/2 gallon for my yogurt for the week. Cheese making, from what I’ve seen in the book’s recipes, tends to call for various cultures to achieve certain results. But this was basic and just called for milk, salt, and citric acid. Not having citric acid on hand, I decided to opt for lemon juice since the book said you could use it instead.
Downfall number one: book said it should only take 15-20 minutes to get your milk up to the right temperature. It took me… much longer than that. Downfall number two: while the book states you can use lemon juice instead, it doesn’t state how much to use in place of the citric acid powder. That’s where the homework came in – a quick Google search landed me on The Kitchn’s page on homemade ricotta. Turns out I was using far too little lemon juice. As soon as I added a good sized lemon’s juice to the mix the magic started working and the curds began to form. I’m sure if I had citric acid on hand I wouldn’t have had any issues – but I think I’m going to go ahead and scope out what cheeses to make next so I can go ahead and order what I need and not have to worry about substitutes.
Now onto the hard questions… what to make with this delicious, yummy ricotta?! I’m craving a cannoli, but these Tuscan Lemon Muffins might get made for tomorrow’s Breakfast Sunday. And it’s not like I can’t make more cheese now that I figured out the trick with how much lemon juice to use.