Homemade Ricotta

When mum and I went back to Australia in February we visited my Nanna Harris, and she taught me how to make ricotta/cottage cheese (I’m not sure exactly which it is, but I’ve used it as both). It’s so easy, and considering how rare/expensive ricotta and cottage cheese are in Tonga it’s been so useful. 

All you need is two ingredients, and a saucepan big enough for a liter of milk.

You just pour the milk into the saucepan. Heat it until it’s hot but not boiling, then gently stir in the vinegar. Make sure it doesn’t boil. Now watch it carefully as the vinegar and heat begin to separate the mixture into curds and whey (just like Little Miss Moffett).

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When it looks very clearly separated (like above) turn the heat off. Line a sieve with a Chux cloth, sit it over top of a bowl and use a slotted spoon to start ladling the curds into the cloth. Once most of the big chunks are ladled into you Chux and sieve contraption, carefully pour the remaining contents of the saucepan into the Chux cloth. If it looks like it’s about to overflow just stop pouring for a bit and wait for some of the whey to drain out of the sieve. When all of the mixture is in the sieve it wont look much like cheese yet so don’t worry.

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Leave the mixture to drain, checking on it occasionally until it’s the consistency you want. If you get bored with waiting you can gently press down of the mixture with the back of a spoon to remove the whey faster. Then scrape the cheese out of the Chux cloth into an airtight container and store in the fridge for a week or two. There will be a heap of whey left over so pour it into a bottle and store it in the fridge to use later.

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Ingredients

  • 1L of milk (I used UHT milk because that’s all you can get here, but just used whatever is cheapest where you are)
  • 4-5 tbsp of white vinegar

Method

  1. Pour the milk into the saucepan. Heat it until it’s hot but not boiling, then gently stir in the vinegar. Make sure it doesn’t boil.
  2. Watch it carefully as the vinegar and heat begin to separate the mixture into curds and whey.
  3. When it looks very clearly separated turn the heat off.
  4. Line a sieve with a Chux cloth, sit it over top of a bowl and use a slotted spoon to start ladling the curds into the cloth. Once most of the big chunks are ladled into you Chux and sieve contraption, carefully pour the remaining contents of the saucepan into the Chux cloth. If it looks like it’s about to overflow just stop pouring for a bit and wait for some of the whey to drain out of the sieve.
  5. Leave the mixture to drain, checking on it occasionally until it’s the consistency you want. Then scrape the cheese out of the Chux cloth into an airtight container and store in the fridge for a week or two.
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