Cheese making

I’ve been wanting to try new things recently, and cheese making was the next logical step.  I haven’t seen much mozzarella making or goat cheese making on the Internets, but I have heard a few people talking about ricotta making. 
Dan and I went to the Snowmass Culinary and Arts festival a few weekends ago where one of our favorite chefs (Alex Seidel from Fruition restaurant) made sheep's milk ricotta.  Chef Seidel also runs a farm where he raises sheep that he milks for cheese.  We only got to taste a little of it but I saw how quickly and easily he made it so I decided to try it on my own (with ordinary cow’s milk, of course).ricotta9

I was a bit nervous about the process, but in the end it worked out beautifully.  The best way to eat it was on a toasted baguette with a drizzle of honey. OMG so good.  It was a little too rich, so I’m going to try it with less heavy cream and more milk next time.ricotta8

Homemade Ricotta
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

2 cups 2% milk
2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
3 Tbsp  lemon juice

Combine the 2 c milk, 2 c cream and 1/2 t salt in a 3.5 quart saucepan. Attach a candy or deep-fry thermometer and heat the milk to 190°F, stirring the milk mixture occasionally to keep it from scorching on the bottom.  Remove the milk mixture from heat and add the 3 T lemon juice, then stir it gently and slowly. Let the pot sit undisturbed for 5 minutes.

Line a colander with a few layers of cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl (to catch the draining liquid (aka whey)). Pour the milk mixture into the colander and let the curds strain for at least an hour (or a few more-it was warm in the kitchen and took much more than an hour-I’d let it sit for 2-3 hours). The ricotta firms as it cools so it will be much firmer after a night in the fridge.

I threw away the whey (drained liquid) but I’d love to figure out what to do with it so that nothing is wasted.