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#1-My love for Ricotta Cheese

I want to share with everyone my experience making ricotta cheese. It is so incredibly easy and fun!

First things first-it’s like doing a science experiment. Well, for me at least. I find it so interesting watching the curds separate from the whey. I’m a nerd, right?

Follow this recipe and you will wow all your friends. It makes a good amount too.

16 cups (1 Gallon): Whole milk

1 cup: Heavy Cream

2 teaspoons: Salt (you can always add more in the end if you would like)

1/2 cup: Distilled White Vinegar

Method:

1) You want to be ready for straining the ricotta, so get a large bowl ready with a fine mesh strainer placed on top. Line the strainer with very fine cheesecloth. Ok, now you can start!

2) In a large, heavy-duty sauce pot, combine the dairy with the salt. Set this over a medium – medium low heat. The last thing you want is this mixture burning! Heat this mixture to about 175-180 degrees, checking the mixture often with a good thermometer. This process will take a couple of minutes.

3) Once it reaches the right temperature, turn the heat off. While stirring the mixture gently with a wooden spoon, drizzle in the vinegar. Once all the vinegar is in you must stop. Move away from the stove (if you are like me, you might just stay by the pot full of beautifulness and watch it like a hawk)! But, seriously let this mixture do its thing for 15 minutes; let it curdle! What is happening is amazing- the curds are floating to the top leaving behind the whey on the bottom.

4) Once 15 minutes is up, use a ladle to carefully scoop out the curds on the top onto the cheesecloth. You do not need the whey, so it can be discarded.

5) Let the ricotta drain in the cheesecloth at room temperature for 30 minutes or up to an hour. If you like your ricotta firm, let it drain in the refrigerator over night.

6) Once it is done draining, it is ready to be used! Store in a container in the refrigerator. It will keep fresh for about 4 to 5 days.

Besides using it in dessert items, I love it in homemade lasagna. Toss in parsley, basil or oregano. Some Parmesan- really delicious! Making fresh ricotta at home is worth the small amount of effort. The difference between fresh and the overpriced stuff you buy in the super market is huge!!

There is nothing like it, so I encourage you to try it :). And feel free to email me and write me your feedback!

-Sis-

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