Friday, October 16, 2009

Making Fresh Ricotta

I've been wanting to make "real" fresh ricotta for a long time. Then, a few months ago, I was in one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants. I was talking to the sous chef, and he introduced me to a cheesemaker for one of the premier artisanal cheese makers around here. The cheesemaker told me I could come around any morning during a certain time frame and he would give me whey that normally goes down the drain. Whoopee! Many people make "ricotta" using whole milk, but that's not really right as ricotta means "re-cooked." This morning I picked up five gallons.

The whey is now on the stove with a small amount of cider vinegar added. When it comes to about 185 degrees, the curds will start to form and I will take it off the heat. After letting the curd develop for a little while I will ladle it into a china cap lined with a flour sack towel. It won't make as much as whole milk, but will be the real thing.

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