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  • Whole Milk Ricotta
    Recipe contributed by Holli DeLauro
    Recipe adapted from Mary Karlin, Artisan Cheese Making at Home, Ten Speed Press, August 2011
    Equipment and Supplies
    • Non-reactive heavy core bottom 6 quart stock pot (I use Le Creuset or an All-Clad Copper Core stock pot)
    • Instant read or dairy thermometer
    • Long handled stainless steel wire whisk
    • Rubber spatula
    • Mesh strainer or colander
    • Butter muslin
    • Skimmer
    • Deep bowl or plastic bucket
    • Wooden spoon (or long dowel) for hanging cheese
    • 1 gallon room temperature raw or pasteurized whole cow's milk (or raw or pasteurized goat's milk). Do NOT use ULTRA-pasteurized milk.
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream (please read the label - NO fillers or stabilizers!)
    • 1 teaspoon citric acid powder (or you can use lemon juice)
    • 1+ teaspoon kosher salt
    1. In your non-reactive pot, combine the room temperature milk, cream, citric acid (or lemon juice), and salt thoroughly with a stainless steel whisk using a gentle up and down motion. You may not think that this is combining the ingredients, but it is and you must be gentle.
    2. Over medium/low heat, SLOWLY heat the milk to 185 – 195°F; this should take about 20 minutes. Stir frequently and gently with your rubber spatula to prevent scorching. As the milk reaches around 150°, you will see the curds start to form.
    3. As the temperature gets closer to 185 – 195° the curds and whey will show a dramatic separation. The whey will be a light yellowish-green color and just slightly cloudy. If the whey is too cloudy, add a pinch more citric acid (or lemon juice) and gently stir down into the whey to cause more curds to form. Turn off heat.
    4. Gently run a rubber spatula around the edge of the curds to rotate the mass, and then let the curds set without disturbing for 10 minutes.
    5. Line a colander or strainer with the water-dampened butter muslin. Carefully ladle the curds into the colander being careful not to break up the curds. Use a long handled mesh skimmer to capture the last of the curds. If any curds are stuck to the bottom of the pan, leave them there! You don't want scorched curds flavoring your cheese.
    6. Drain for 5 minutes then gently toss the curds with 1+ teaspoon kosher salt. Be mindful not to break up the curds in the process.
    7. Tie 2 opposite corner of the butter muslin into a knot and repeat with the other 2 corners. Slip a wooden spoon (or dowel) through the knot and then suspend the bag over your bowl or bucket.
    8. Drain the curds for 5 – 10 minutes or until the desired consistency has been reached. If you want a moist ricotta, stop draining just as they whey has stopped dripping; if you want it drier or are using it to make ricotta salata, let the curds drain for a longer time.
    9. Transfer to a lidded container; cover and store refrigerated for up to 1 week.
    This recipe will make anywhere from 1 1/2 - 2 pounds of cheese. Remember to be gentle. Stirring gently will avoid breaking your curds and having your cheese become a runny mess.

    NOTE: If a moist, plump curd is desired, first heat the milk to 180°F, and then add the citric acid. Add the salt when draining the curds. If you want an even richer and creamier ricotta, try making it with heavy cream exclusively.

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    Photo copyright © Holli DeLauro. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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