Sunday, January 24, 2010

I Love Cows (Ricotta Cheese)

I'm designing a dairy farm for studio, so yesterday I traveled out to the Howell/Hartland area to check out a few. I got to the Lyon's farm without getting lost (yay!) and then Terry and I drove to dairy farm #1. Lots of cows. Lots of manure. I'm going to pretend that it was mud caked on my shoes. Just let me pretend. They had calves. Lots of calves. 4 day old twins. THEY WERE SO CUTE! After that one, we went down the road and looked at some Oreo cows (Belted Galloways) and some miniature donkeys. Then we drove down the road again and looked at a huge dairy operation. 1,300 head, but not all of them get milked. They were all computerized and it was pretty intense. Then it was back to the Lyon's farm to look at the calves I had seen in October. Good times, even though I smelled like cow poo when I got home.

Since I'm designing a dairy farm, I decided to make some cheese. I wanted to test it out this weekend before I make it for real people next week. I went out to Whole Foods to look for rennet tablets, but I was informed that no one in the city has any. I bought some of the other stuff I needed for my cheeses and then came home. I ordered the rennet tablets and citric acid online and hopefully it'll be here at the end of the week. So I made ricotta today.

Ricotta Cheese
1/2 gallon/2 quarts/8 cups of whole milk, not ultra pasteurized
1 cup whole milk yogurt
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt

Put everything into a large pot and wait for it to boil. Let it boil for about 2 minutes. Everything will curdle and it'll start to smell like ricotta cheese.

While you're waiting for everything to boil, line a strainer with cheese cloth.

When everything has boiled and is ready, take the pot off the heat and pour it into the strainer. Let it strain for about 15 minutes. You want most of the liquid to get out. That's whey and it's a yellowish green color. Pick up the cheesecloth and wrap it around the cheese. Gently squeeze the curds so more liquid comes out. Then, it's done!

Apparently this best warm and can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Makes about 2 cups.

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