Monday, August 13, 2012

D.I.Y. Italian Marinated Fresh Cheese

After I made this cheese for the first I told Doc we just needed a milk cow, and then we can be totally self-sufficient! I guess we'd also need a coffee bean plant. The recipe comes from Vanessa Barrington's D.I.Y. Delicious: Recipes and Ideas for Simple Food from Scratch - currently my favorite cookbook. The cheese takes about an hour but most of that time is just keeping a watchful eye.

For cheese: 1 gallon whole milk, 1/3 cup white or apple cider vinegar, non-iodized salt (I used normal).

Pour the milk into a large nonreactive pot (stainless steel, ceramic, or enameled). Bring to 185 degrees F, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat so you don't scorch the milk. I used a liquid thermometer but it never got to 185 - takes about 45 minutes.

The milk should be just short of boiling and you'll see tiny bubbles on the sides of the pan along with shimmering, vibrating surface. It will start clumping on your spoon.

Turn the heat off and pour in the vinegar and stir. Let the mixture sit undisturbed for about eight minutes - curds will begin to form and separate from the whey.

Use a slotted spoon or a small strainer and separate the cheese curds from the whey - it looks like wet biscuit dough. Transfer the cheese to a bowl and season with salt.

Now you have ricotta!

I seasoned my basic ricotta with extra-virgin olive oil, fresh parsley, garlic, fresh thyme, red pepper flakes, salt and ground pepper. I used a Laughing Cow cheese container as a mold and lined it with wax paper. I then proceeded to eat all of it at once.

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