Friday, 17 February 2012

Homemade Ricotta and Whey

I'm not a cheese maker but have decided to add it to my skills list this year as I make as much of our food from scratch as possible. I've started off with ricotta as it doesn't require any special equipment or rennet. Our milk comes in 3 litre bottles, so these quantities are for one bottle of milk as I buy it. Here is how I make it.

For a print friendly version of the recipe (without pictures), click here

In a large pot, bring 3 litres of milk to the simmer.

Add 45ml lemon juice and 1.5 teaspoons of salt.
Simmer very gently, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes.
While the milk is simmering, line a colander with fine cotton/muslin/cheesecloth.

Remove from the heat and strain until it is the consistency you like. The longer you strain it, the firmer it gets.

Collect the liquid that strains off - this is the whey.

I pour it into glass bottles and keep it in the fridge to use in my bread. It is also fantastic for making scones (I think you guys call them biscuits??) and biscuits (you guys call them cookies). I really like it in the bread because it isn't as sweet as milk and has a slight tang which gives the loaf an almost sourdough taste. I'm in the process of starting up a new blog on my new frugal ways of living, so I will post step by step photos there and post a link here once I get it done.

So, for $3 (which is what I pay for a 3 litre bottle of milk), I get about three 750ml bottles of whey and I'm guessing about 300g ricotta. (I'll weigh it this arvo when I make some more). Considering ricotta is $8kg and buttermilk is almost $4 for a 600ml carton over here (Australia), I reckon it is a bargain and well worth 10 minutes of my time!

For other ideas of what to use they whey for, check out my Honey & Oat Bread, Scones and Pikelets.

What cheeses do you make? What's your favourite recipe to make it?

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