Last updated 6/12/2012 1:20:19 AM. Recipe ID 52006. Report a problem with this recipe.
Categories: Italian, Cheese/eggs
Yield: 8 Servings
2 qt Milk
3 tb Distilled white vinegar OR
1/4 c Fresh lemon juice
Salt (if desired)
Pour the milk into a heavy stainless-steel or enameled saucepan and
stir in the white vinegar or lemon juice.
Set the pot over very low heat and bring the milk very slowly to a
simmer (a reading of 200 degrees on a thermometer). There will be
fine beads around the edge of the milk, which will look foamy but
will not appear to be boiling.
Remove the pot from the heat and set it, covered, in a spot where it
can remain undisturbed and where the temperature will remain fairly
uniform at a reading between 80 and 100 degrees. (An unheated oven,
without a pilot light, is a good spot.) Let the milk stand for about
6 hours, or until a solik curd floats above the liquid (the whey).
More or less time may be required, depending on the temperature of
the environment and the characteristics of the milk.
Line a fine sieve with doubled, dampened cheesecloth (or, better yet,
two layers of very fine-mesh nylon curtain netting, dampened) and set
it over a bowl. Dip the curds and whey into the sieve and allow the
whey to drain off until the ricotta is yogurtlike. If you want
firmer cheese, tie the corners of the cloth to form a bag and hang it
up to drain further. (In warm weather, the draining might well be
completed in the refrigerator.)
When the texture of the ricotta is to your liking, add a little salt
(from 1/4 to 1/2 t) if you wish. Store the cheese, covered, in the
refrigerator. It will be at its best after it has chilled for 24
hours, and will keep well for 4 or 5 days.
Author's notes: Unlike most other fresh cheeses-cottage and cream
cheese, for example-the curd of this bland, light cheese is fromed
from the direct addition of acid to the milk, not by fermentation.
For that reason the time required to make it is generally short.
If you haven't used this Italian favorite before, try it in place of
cottage cheese, as well as in Italian recipes for such dishes as
lasagne and manicotti. You'll find it is a bit creamier than most
cottage cheeses, with a much finer curd.
For a pleasant light milk dessert, sweeten ricotta slightly and top
it with a sprinkling of grated chocolate or cinnamon.
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