The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

In the Habit: Ricotta

September 8th, 2015 · No Comments · Posted in Recipes


This cheese really shouldn’t be called “ricotta” because there’s no “ri” in it. A true ricotta is made by re-cooking the whey from an initial cheese making. Our “cotta”–the one we make from our Jersey cow’s milk–is only cooked once.

But we love it anyway. We love it so much, in fact, that it’s now our go-to cheese. As I described in a post back in May, my wife struggled with this until we learned that for a successful cheese using raw milk, the milk has to be extremely fresh. The recipe calls for 1 gallon of raw milk. Since I get about 2 quarts from our daily milking, I can make a batch the second day. Any time I see we’re getting low on ricotta, I get ready to make more.

It’s actually quite simple: pour 1 gallon raw milk into a non-reactive pot and stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Set the pot over a very low heat and while it’s coming up to temperature, mix 2 teaspoons powdered citric acid into 1 cup water. Stir the milk occasionally so it doesn’t scald on the bottom of the pot. When the milk temperature reaches 160 degrees, as measured with an instant-read thermometer, pour in 1/2 cup of the citric acid mix. Continue stirring. When you see curds begin to form, and as the temperature passes 160 degrees (Fahrenheit), add another 1/4 cup of the citric acid mix. (Note: we no longer cook the cheese to 190 degrees–it gets much too hard.)

At this point, the curds should form rapidly into large large clumps. Using a spatula, push them toward the middle of the pot. If necessary, add more citric acid mix. The whey at this point should turn from opaque to translucent, telling you the cheese is done.

I use a small sieve to scoop the curds out of the pot and into a small colander inside a mixing bowl. Allow the curds to drain completely, then transfer to a storage container, and store, covered, in the fridge. The cheese should last several days. I also freeze it, but my wife prefers the texture fresh.

This cheese is not runny like the ricotta you get at the grocery, but soft nonetheless. It slices easily, warms in a microwave and loves to be dressed with olive oil, salt and pepper and served next to big slices of fresh tomato. I like it with breakfast, to soak up the yolks from my fried eggs.

All you need is a Jersey cow.

Bon appetit!

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