First, there was the in-house made pasta trend (which I fully support because fresh pasta is amazing, such as the pappardelle at Enoteca Sociale). Then there’s the porky revolution that for me began with a visit to the Black Hoof. And now, I’ve been reading about more and more restaurants that make their own cheeses. Am I intrigued?
Silly question. Of course I’m stoked out of my pants; I love cheese!! Time for some d.i.y. cheese I figured. I'll start with a sort of ricotta cheese, it seems fairly easy. And it really proved to be so.
Fresh Ricotta (from Toronto Star, adapted from “Mark McEwan’s Fabrica: Great Italian Recipes Made Easy for Home)
Makes about 1¼ cups
4 cups 2% milk
1 cup 35% cream
½ tsp coarse kosher salt
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- In a medium saucepan, combine milk, cream and salt.
- Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, watching closely and stirring occasionally.
- Stir in lemon juice.
- Lower heat to medium-low. Simmer 3 min.
- Pour into strainer/colander lined with double layer of cheesecloth and set in sink.
- Place strainer over bowl. Let stand at room temp 1 hr to drain.
- Serve tepid immediately (drizzle with honey & extra-virgin olive oil) with figs & toast, or cover and fridge up to 3 days.
4 ingredients. Super simple you should be able to do this no problem. After you’ve made it once, I’m sure you can really experiment with herbs, spices and other flavours!
Squeeze that lemon!! mmm citrus. Its scent is so rejuvenating! Mmm fresh fresh fresh!
Then it’s time to curdle cream and make a sort of ricotta cheese. Technically, to make cheese you need a bacterial agent, which lemon juice is not. So this is more like a play on ricotta. Milk and cream are boiled. Lemon juice is added. Let it simmer.
I’ve got my strainer-cheesecloth-cheesemaking-contraption all set up in the sink! What it consists of is a cheesecloth (2 layers) atop a strainer atop a bowl.
Cheese mixture gets poured into the colander.
Then you let it sit for a good hour or so. I used this time to watch a few episodes of Cake Boss. I can never get enough of that show it’s just so good!
Oop! Time to check on ma fromage! See, it’s that easy!! Grab all corners of the cheesecloth and lift. Bamm! There’s your cheese.
(Ricotta on the left, whey on the right). You can use it immediately or you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Don't worry, it'll be long gone before 3 days is up! Trust me. ;)
Now what to do with the whey? I'm not entirely sure considering whey is traditionally what's used to make ricotta (i think...) but this isn't your "average whey" because no bacterial agent was used in the process. Perhaps I'll just use it in a sauce? Or to substitute for water to make bread?
It tastes really fresh and creamy! This recipe is foolproof and quick. Next time, I’d probably try adding a bit more salt to it and some herbs too. Dill perhaps? And then of course having it with honey & extra-virgin olive oil gave it sufficient umph too. :D
4 out of 5 NOMs