I have fantasized about cheese making for many years now. Yet, I have never actually ventured to give it a try. It must be messy and complicated, I thought. And it will probably require strange ingredients like rennet (Ew!). So I carefully placed it on the list of things to try one day in the distant future. I was finally inspired recently to actually give it a try after reading Brian’s post about homemade ricotta cheese at A Thought For Food. He made it seem so easy, and sound so incredibly delicious. This was something that I could certainly do.
Always one to long for additional flavor and richness, I searched around through numerous ricotta cheese recipes, and finally decided to try David Lebovitz’ version on Simply Recipes. Which, in addition to whole milk and vinegar, also included plain yogurt, and heavy cream. I doubled the recipe, and followed the instructions diligently. As it turns out the process was not only incredibly easy (literally all you do is combine the ingredients, bring it to a boil, and then strain it through cheese cloth), but also relatively fast. After pouring all of the ingredients into my pan, I had my very own homemade cheese within about a half an hour (straining time included!). It’s genius. While the finished product does not have a great deal of flavor (in as much as ricotta cheese itself isn’t packed with a punch of flavor), what it does have is a rich, creamy texture, resembling nothing of the gritty, store bought, processed ricotta that I have relied on my whole life. What a difference. How will I ever be able to go back to store bought ricotta again? It will be impossible. I am ruined.
If you love good ricotta cheese, have ever fantasized about making your own, or are just looking for a fun experiment in the kitchen, I encourage you to give this a try. It’s like magic. You won’t be disappointed. I feel so accomplished, and far too proud of myself for doing practically no work. I am Jacob: Cheese Maker!
I can only imagine what this homemade ricotta would do for my lasagna, gnocchi, ravioli, cannoli, and cheesecakes. I can’t wait to give them all a try. But for now, a small bowl of warm ricotta with a few fresh berries and a drizzle of blackberry honey will do just fine. Heaven! Enjoy!