Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Another Rainy Day Project: Homemade "Ricotta" & Then "Whey Bread"

Homemade Ricotta

As published in: Homemade ricotta is as simple to make as it is versatile
Special "Hat Tip" to The Traveler's Lunchbox for bringing my attention to it!

Makes about 2 ½ cups

The flavor of homemade ricotta depends on the flavor of the milk and cream that go into it, so use the best you can find. I love the dairy from Fresh Breeze Organic in Lynden.


2 quarts whole milk (not ultrapasteurized, preferably organic)
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon salt


1. Set a colander in the sink and line it with a triple layer of cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel (not terry cloth) that you've rinsed and wrung out. Combine the milk, buttermilk, cream and salt in a large, heavy-bottomed pot and place over medium heat. Stirring frequently to prevent scorching, heat the milk to a gentle simmer. Watch it carefully; when it reaches 175 degrees, it will start to curdle. As soon as you see this, give the milk one last stir, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom, and turn off the heat. Let the pot sit there, undisturbed, for 10 minutes. The soft white curds will separate from the yellowish whey and rise to form a raft on the surface.

2. Using a wire-mesh skimmer or large slotted spoon, gently lift off the curds into the colander, leaving as much of the whey behind as possible. Go slowly so as not to break up the curds too much. When you've transferred them all, pour off and discard the whey left in the pot, and salvage any curds that are stuck to the bottom. Let the cheese drain for about half an hour; when the draining slows, gather the edges of the cloth, tie them into a bag, and hang the bag from the faucet. Continue to drain until the ricotta is as thick as you like it, up to an hour longer.

3. Pack the ricotta into a covered container and store in the refrigerator. It's at its best during the first 3 to 4 days, but it will keep for about a week.

And in the comments section, I managed to find some useful information from user Gnwwolf, who makes their own buttermilk (thus saving money):

I take it one step further and make my own buttermilk, that way I only have to pick up a gallon of whole milk which is running around $1.99 in Burien:

Just under two cups milk
2 Tablespoons white vinegar.

Put the white vinegar in a two cup glass measure, pour in enough milk to bring it to two cups, let sit 5 minutes, then proceed with the ricotta making process.

I do save the whey for using in the 5 minute bread recipe, so win-win all around.

And of course, I couldn't let it "just be," as I'm now curious about the elusive "5 Minute Bread Recipe," too. Though I couldn't find the specific "5 minute bread recipe," I did manage to find a promising Whey Bread recipe over at Small Potatoes:

Copied and pasted from their blog post:


5 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. salt
1 tbls. sugar
4 1/2 tsp. yeast

3/4 hot whey leftover after the making of ricotta
1 cup warm water
5 tbls. butter, melted

Extras: cornmeal, sesame seeds, egg white


1. Add dry ingredients to the bowl and stir.
2. If the whey has cooled, heat whey and water. Slice butter and stir into the hot liquid to melt.
3. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir well until combined. Or! Use your mixer and the dough hook to mix and knead. Either way, stir and knead for an additional five minutes, until the dough is smooth and warm.
4. Divide dough into desired portions. I suggest two pieces for full size loaves or three pieces for moderate, individual loaves. Pat the dough into a rectangle and then roll up into a cylinder. Pinch seams and edges and shape a little bit more.
5. Place onto a sheet pan that’s been sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover and rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
6. If you want, paint the loaf with egg white and/or sprinkle with sesame seeds.
7. Bake at 425F for 30 minutes.

-This recipe easily doubles.
-Loaves freeze well after they have been cooled.
-Makes great garlic bread!
-Dry leftover pieces and process to make bread crumbs. Keep a container of bread crumbs in your freezer for later use.

I can see myself using the ricotta, pressing it until it is firm and dry, and using it as I would paneer (I believe it is the same process to make), and using the whey bread recipe for naans.

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