Always willing to have a go at making something myself, I was chuffed to receive this fab pressie...
Now I'm not entirely new to cheese making, I did used to work for a dairy company & spent a very fun week at agricultural college in the North West, learning how to make cheese. But that was a good few years ago & if I'm honest I seem to remember an awful lot of stainless steel kit involved.
The kit included citric acid, organic sea salt, rennet tablets, a thermometer, muslin square & an instruction booklet. This was going to be a far more artisan experience! To make ricotta you start with some whole milk, add some citric acid dissolved in water & some salt. No rennet needed for this recipe, that's for the other recipe in this kit, mozzarella.
Pan of milk (I know not that interesting!)
I heated the milk slowly & stirred occasionally to avoid scorching until it reached 185F. By this point you can see that the curds & the whey have separated. I took it off the heat, popped on a lid & left it to stand for 20 minutes.
Next step was to strain the whey from the curds. I lined a colander with the muslin cloth & tipped the whole lot in. I did this in the sink so the whey could just drain away, but I guess you could collect it & use the whey for something else? I have no idea what mind you :-)
I gathered up the muslin into a bag, then looked for somewhere to hang it to drain! I left it like this for around 30 minutes.
Cautiously I opened up the muslin bag to judge my cheese making effort & felt quite chuffed to find this. Looked pretty ricotta-ish to me!
So what to do with a kilo of ricotta? I turned it into Jamie Oliver's Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni, ta dah!
The verdict...it was really very tasty. It was quite rich as I used full fat milk for the cheese as per the recipe, I would be tempted to use semi-skimmed next time for a lighter flavour, but I guess you need the fat in the milk for it to do it's thing & become cheese. It was so straight forward to make, just needed a little time & patience. Can't wait to try the mozzarella recipe next, there's a suggestion to add chili flakes to make a spicy version, sounds good to me. I think I may have been a mouse in a previous life...squeak! Till next time, Rebecca x