Are you a cheese lover?
Do you longingly pass delicatessen windows, peering in, sighing with pleasure in fact. Do you dream about how to make homemade ricotta cheese?
I love seeing those beautiful milky balls of curds as they bob about on the surface and oozey, beautiful wedges of Brie and Camembert as they moan under a thick mould layer… Don’t even get me started on crusty bread, which is usually somewhere within that sight line too. I love that bread as much as I love that cheese ;)
This is one of those moments. It’s that moment when you gently wrap a bowl with a layer of muslin, draping the edges (lovingly) in preparation for an onslaught of curds and whey!
It’s that moment when you gently simmer some milk, cradling the bowl of lemon juice before letting it loose into the milky broth and stirring with glee as the clouds of curds begin to form, thereby indulging your inner artisan as you make a batch of Ricotta cheese.
Afterwards as you wring out that beautiful whey, you think of all the wonderful ways in which it can be utilized. Whether as a starter for the best bread in the world! A base for cakes or even a big thirsty drink for your garden, (apparently gardens love whey!!!)
Later, whilst unwrapping that beautifully handcrafted-homemade ricotta, you think about how much you enjoyed the whole experience and the next time you walk past that shop window and the delicious display of cheese & curds in the deli… you think, ‘I can make that!’
Recipe for Homemade Ricotta Cheese:
4 cups whole milk
Salt to taste
1 lemon (juiced & zested)
Garnish-lemon zest & dill (optional.)
You’ll need some muslin, it’s clean chux cloth. A large pot & equally large bowl, along with a wooden spoon.
Gently bring the milk to the boil in a large pot. Add the salt now, if using.
When little bubbles appear all over the surface, add the lemon juice and stir for a few seconds to begin breaking up the curds.
This will form the curds & whey.
Lay the muslin over a large clean bowl, gently pour the curds & whey through.
Collect the edges of the cloth together and gently wring out the excess water/whey.
Leave the ricotta to dry out for approx 20 mins and ideally, serve warm with some extra lemon zest & dill, as a garnish.