Ricotta, that is… cheese. You know, the stuff that dreams are made of or at least the stuff that I dream about. As promised, I’m showing you what to do with all the whey leftover from making mozzarella. You did make the mozzarella, right? Don’t worry, I’m not here to judge you — only to entertain.
You will need the following totally gnarly junk:
- Leftover whey from making 2 gallons of milk into cheese (this will make 12-16 oz. of ricotta) which has sat covered overnight at room temperature (this is to make sure it’s nice and acidic)
- cheese cloth or something like it
- nonreactive kettle (use stainless steel, glass, or enamel-covered). No aluminum here.
- thermometer which clips to the side of the pan
Just in case you forgot, the whey is the stuff above that sort of murky and yellowy-gray in color. It will have to be stored in a non-reactive kettle or bucket to be used for ricotta manufacturing.
And while I’m busy sounding important, I would like to take the opportunity to tell you that ricotta (pronounced ree-KOH-tuh if you are Italian or wanting to impress someone) means “recooked” because it is essentially recooked whey. It’s also ridiculously low fat and jam-packed with nutrients. Keep in mind though: all fresh cheese perish quickly. So use this stuff within a few days of making it (not a problem if you are a foodie).
Pour the whey into a sterilized and non-reactive kettle. Heat (medium to med-low heat) while stirring until it almost boils (220 degrees Fahrenheit or 95 degrees Celsius). The whey will foam and look very much like an inviting bubble bath. Resist! Don’t let it boil.
Remove from heat. Cover and let it cool until you can stick your finger in it comfortably (it should feel like baby bathwater — you moms out there know what I’m talking about because I’m part of your little club now — ha!).
Scoop out the fine curds with a spoon BEING CAREFUL NOT TO STIR.
Pour the rest of the whey through a cloth and let it filter into a bowl. After it’s drained, spoon in the curds you scooped out earlier.
Let it sit for a few hours (watch a movie or something), and tie the ends of the cloth together or twist them up and secure it with a rubber band. Suspend the ricotta overnight in the fridge with a bowl to catch the drippings. Remove the ricotta from the cloth and enjoy!
You also have my permission to knock on every door in your neighborhood to announce your mad cheesemaking skills. I would. And just because I know you’ve been singing this song since reading the title of this post:
Want to find out how to make your very own mozzarella cheese? Of course you do. By all means, click here to be transported into another cheesy paradise.