Yesterday I made my first ever batch of cheese, goats milk ricotta cheese to be precise. The recipe for the cheese came from a fabulous book The Home Creamery: Make Your Own Fresh Dairy Products, Easy Recipes for Butter, Yogurt, Sour Cream, Creme Fraiche, Cream Cheese, Ricotta, and More! by Kathy Farrell-Kingsley. Not only does this delightful book run through how to make all many of creams and soft cheeses but it gives plenty of recipe ideas for how to use them too, all of which sound mouth-watering. The addition of some photo’s would have been lovely but he ho you can’t have everything now can you.
Ricotta literally means recooked and this refers to the fact that ricotta is traditionally made from the whey left over from cheese-making, however for those of us without access to cheese-making by products, delicious fresh ricotta can also be made by using readily available milk, cows, sheep and goats milk would all work well either on their own or as a combination.
I couldn’t believe how simple the process was, simply heating some milk and yogurt and then leaving it for a wee while to allow the curds and whey to separate out before passing it through a muslin lined sieve (or in my case a chinoise). The lack of requirement for any specific cheese-making ingredients such as rennet makes this cheese particularly suitable for cheese-making beginners or for those days when you don’t have (or want to make) all that much time for kitchen duties.
I used half a US gallon of milk to make the cheese and ended up with just short of 500g of cheese, not bad going at all especially considering that it worked out so much cheeper than buying the same quantity at the shop and it tasted so much better, really fresh and creamy without the watery, graininess that often comes with shop bought. The added bonus of course is that I can use the left over whey in place of buttermilk wherever it is required.
If stored in an airtight, clean jar the cheese will last up to one week, that is of course if you can resist eating it all on the day of making.