|Lemon Herb Ricotta Salata|
Homemade cheese is easy to make. A few weeks ago I made a video called Pasta alla Checca where I used my own homemade cheese. It was my first transforming milk and cream into curds and whey. Little miss muffet would be proud. Unfortunately, I didn't record it on film since I wasn't even sure that it would work and video making can be quite tedious. When it turned out well, my Youtube subscribers started clamoring for a video on the whole cheese making process. I promised I'd oblige them soon. Two weeks later, I bring you the homemade ricotta salata I used in that video. Ricotta salata is a term I use loosely since this is probably not a true ricotta salata which I'm quite sure needs to age a bit more. But this is my version of a dried ricotta that crumbles nicely into pasta or over grilled toast.
Lemon Herb Ricotta Salata
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time:10-15 min
- ½ gallon whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 or 2 lemons (to produce ¼ cup of lemon juice)
- 1 tbsp. Italian Seasoning
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp medium coarse sea salt
- zest of 1 lemon
- Place a colander on top of a pot large enough for the draining process and line the colander with 4 layers of cheese cloth.
- Add the milk and cream to a large heavy bottomed pot, place it over a medium to low heat and stir to combine.
- Add the salt and give it another stir.
- Heat the mixture stirring regularly until it has reached a temperature between 175 and 185 degrees.
- Once you've reached the proper temperature, add the lemon juice, turn off the heat and stir.
- Let it rest for about 10 minutes then ladle the cheese mixture it into the prepared colander so that the whey can drain out.
- Let the cheese sit for about 5 minutes then gather up the cloth, tie it like a bundle, and hang it over and empty pot for further draining.
- After about 2 hours of hanging depending on how dry you want this to be. Remove the cheese from the cloth and turn it out onto a plate. Half of this batch I decided to leave plain and simply crumbled into a container for storage. The other half I tightly wrapped in plastic wrap which really works well to hold the cheese together as you squeeze and mold the cheese into a more uniform log shape.
- Refrigerate the cheese log for further solidification.
- Roll the log into the herbs, wrap it in plastic and put it back it the fridge.
Notes: The cheese is best after a a few days of ripening for the flavors to develop a little more.When heating the milk and cream, a kitchen thermometer is the safest bet for making cheese but if you happen to be eyeballing it like I did, you'll want to look for the point at which the milk just starts to steam. You'll also begin to see the top looking a little foamy and bubbles begin to form around the edges of the pan but you don’t want it to come to a boil.
And check out what I did with the unseasoned cheese. After spreading both sides of my favorite bread gluten free bread with a little butter, I tossed it onto my cast iron grill pan to toast then topped it with a nice pile of that beautiful homemade ricotta, a sprinkle of cinnamon, a handful of blueberries, some walnuts and a generous drizzle of beautifully fragrant blueberry honey I just so happened to pick up a few months back. Was that just a run on sentence or what? YUM!