I’ve been wanting to make homemade cheese ever since I read Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. Her book takes you along the year long journey of her family which chooses to live off the land making and growing everything themselves and buying local when they had no other options. Her family bakes their own bread, makes their own cheese, raises livestock, and grows fresh fruits and veggies. This book inspired me to look at my food a bit differently and well as try to be more resourceful and creative in the kitchen.
I ordered my cheese kit from the source noted in the book, the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company. I ordered their mozzarella and ricotta cheesemaking kit online as well mascarpone cheese supplies since I love mascarpone cheese and it is somewhat hard to find and somewhat expensive to buy.
Today is my day of tribute for Barbara Kingsolver. I’m making my own ricotta for the first time and mozzarella for the third time now. I’ll also be making my own bread dough for calzone and using some homemade tomato sauce (from basil, garlic, onions, and tomatoes from the garden) I’ve made previously. The only thing I’m added to the calzone that I didn’t make is Italian sausage. I don’t have the heart to kill and stuff bits of animal and spices into a tube of intestine. I’ll leave that to the professionals!
Here’s my step by step instructions for the Ricotta cheese (I’ll post the mozzarella next but didn’t want to have them all on this post since I wanted it to download quickly) Here’s what I did:
Ricotta from Whole Milk
- Use whole milk that is not ultra pastured. Add it to a large sauce pot.
- Add 2 tsp of citric acid and 1 tsp salt.
- Heat the milk slowly on low to med stirring well to prevent scorching.
- At 165-170F watch for small flakes forming in the milk and the separation of small curds.
If after a few minutes you do not see the flakes forming, add more of the Citric acid until they form (do this in small 1 Tbsp increments to avoid over acid milk).
- Continue heating to 190-195F then turn the heat off
- When the curds and why separate, turn off the heat and let set for 5 minutes.
- Line a colander with butter muslin. Ladle the curds gently into the cloth.
- tie the cloth into a bag and hang to drain for .5 hour or more depending on the desired consistency.
- After draining to the consistency you prefer, the cheese is ready to eat. It will keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.