By SHRUB Coop, posted 03/05/20
A beginners guide to making cheese from home.
Note: This recipe was published for our cook along workshop on the 5th of May 2020 during the COVID19 lockdown.
This recipe is a great starting point for those of you that have never made cheese at home before, and offers great results even after the first attempt!
1.25 litres of milk
250 millilitres of heavy/double cream (optional)
10 millilitres of vinegar (white wine, rice or apple cider) or the juice of 1 lemon
Top Tip! Adding double cream will make your cheese thicker, creamier and softer, but you can also just make it with milk. If only using milk, the fat percentage will be lower and will result in a different consistency.
Add the cream and salt directly to the milk and put the pan on a medium heat for 6⁄8 minutes, until the mixture reaches 35°C. If you don’t have a thermometer, wait until you see some bubbles forming on the side of the pan.
At this point, pour in the vinegar or the lemon juice, stirring gently with a wooden spoon for about a minute. Then cover the pan and leave it to rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
If you happen to have a ricotta mould hiding in your cupboard, great, this is the moment to use it! If not, a more common cloth and a sieve will do the trick!
After 10⁄15 minutes, the milk should have curdled, which means our cheese is forming. It should look like picture 4.
With a spoon or a ladle, start straining the curd (current contents of your bowl) through a sieve and then put it in the mould or second container.
Beginners Tip! If you don’t have a ricotta mould, you will need two sieves. Use the first sieve to strain the curd into the second sieve. Place the second sieve over a bowl to hold the cheese like the mould. This will give the final cheese it shape and texture, and the bowl beneath will catch any extra liquid.
You are collecting the cheese from the liquid; this can take some time and can require a little bit of technique while straining it through the sieve. It gets easier with time!
Top Tip! Your working station should look like this: a sieve to collect the curd, and a mould or any container for the cheese.
When you have collected all the cheese, let the full mould or sieve rest in the fridge for about 6⁄7 hours or overnight.
At this stage your fresh cheese is still not firm, but tastes really good, so you can have an early taste. Don’t get put off by any vinegar after taste: it will disappear after it has fully rested.
After enough time has passed, your cheese is ready to be eaten! Put the sieve or mould gently upside down on a plate and remove it to reveal your cheese!
You can serve your ricotta as it is, or garnish with black pepper, basil, tomatoes, some olive oil, thyme… anything you like!
Ricotta cheese can be used in lots of different recipes, like cakes, and paired with spinach in homemade ravioli!
If you would like to follow this recipe along with our skilled facilitator, Francesca, then you will need to register to the Zoom session here. It’s free to take part!
However you choose to make your cheese, let us know how you get on by commenting below or tagging us on Instagram at @shrubcoop
Happy cheese making!
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