Saturday, August 4, 2012

Three Cheese Experiments

Below are my three experiments, continuing my adventures with milk.  The first was exactly by the recipe that I found on the "Chef in You" website.

Ricotta Cheese #1
2 quarts whole milk (I didn't use organic as the website suggests)
1 cup whipping cream (again, not organic)
3 Tbsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp salt

1.  In a heavy saucepan, combine mile and cream.  Warm in moderately high heat until the surface becomes foamy and steamy and a thermometer reads 180 - 185 degrees.  Don't let the milk boil.

2.  Remove the pot from the heat.  Add the vinegar and stir gently for 30 seconds; the mixture will curdle almost immediately.  Add the salt and stir for 30 seconds longer.

3.  Cover the pot with a clean towel and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours.

4.  Line a colander with several layers of cheesecloth, allowing several inches of overhang.  (Note:  I didn't have "butter muslin," just the cheap grocery store stuff.  The weave is far too loose and the curds and why ran through.  A cotton tea towel worked much better.)
5.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the curds to the colander.  (Note:  It would take far too much time to spoon a half gallon of stuff into a colander. Using a metal mesh colander and a tea towel set  over a large bowl, I simply poured it all over the towel/colander set-up.)

6.  Let the ricotta stand, stirring occasionally.  I let mine sit for a couple of hours, squeezing the liquid out every now and then.  When you're satisfied with the consistency of the cheese, it is ready and can be refrigerated.  It will last at least 4 days.

The next cheese experiment occurred because I had a batch of yogurt that didn't set.  I tried the suggestion from another website and let it incubate a little longer.  Still no yogurt.  Thankfully, this yogurt maker had a further suggestion for using failed yogurt.

Ricotta Cheese #2
1 quart of "failed" yogurt

1.  Heat the yogurt until the white curd is visibly separating from the greenish, watery whey.
2.  Set a colander over a bowl and line with a towel.
3.  Pour the entire contents, "curds and whey," into the colander.
4.  Allow the cheese to drain for a couple of hours.  As with the cheese above, I occasionally stirred the mixture and squeezed the liquid out.
5.  Refrigerate and use.

Since I was spending the morning in the kitchen, I thought I might as well give a little time for experimenting, as opposed to following any specific recipe.  I really don't know what you would call the result.  It was like a super-thick sour cream/cream cheese/quark kind of thing.

Not-Ricotta Experiment
1 quart whey strained from the week's batches of yogurt
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup yogurt that didn't set right.
1 T. vinegar

After incubating it for a while longer, I reheated the mixture to 190 degrees and added the vinegar.  Like the other ricotta recipes, I let it set for a couple of hours before pouring it in a colander/ tea towel set up.  The whey drained out, leaving sour cream.  It got pretty think, and was really delicious.

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